/ Finance

Studying Abroad on a Budget

By Andrew Morrison

When a student arrives in a foreign country for a study abroad program, the sheer number of necessary adjustments is overwhelming. As an American studying in London, there have been countless intimidating adjustments to make, from looking left before crossing the street to battling Victorian-era plumbing.

However, perhaps most overwhelming of all is converting currencies for travel money. You don’t realize how much time is spent paying for things until you don’t have the correct currency with which to pay. I was warned in advance numerous times where not to convert my dollars into pounds--avoid the airport, for example, at all costs--but I was never told the right places either.

Converting currency creates the same feeling of uncertainty as I felt in the taxi ride from Heathrow to my flat. If the driver was taking a purposely-long route to drive up the fare, I would have no idea. Likewise, if the small shop offering currency exchange was offering a worse rate than the bureau a couple of blocks away, I would have no way to know.

It’s this kind of scenario that makes Find.Exchange an invaluable service. By simply searching by one’s location, the Find.Exchange app allows for a simple, straightforward comparison of nearby currency exchanges.

Often, finding the closest exchange, let alone the best rates, is difficult enough. Therefore, the app allows you to filter results by proximity. Or, if you’re simply looking for the most favorable--sorry, favourable--conversion rates, you can also sort by the best rates in the nearby area.

With so much to adjust to when studying abroad, converting currency is the last thing students want to worry about. I can instead focus on worrying about doing laundry in a machine half as large that takes twice as long, and on decoding the McDonald’s menu, which is surprisingly quite different from the American version.

Here are some tips I’ve learned to save money while abroad. One, book flights and accommodations well in advance, and be careful of flights that appear too-good-to-be-true, as they often have unpleasant hours or long layovers. Also, rather than relying on eating out at every meal, as tempting as it is, it’s far more cost-efficient to buy groceries and cook for yourself, and pack meals whenever possible.

And, on the bright side, if my money runs out while abroad, Find.Exchange also makes transferring money overseas easy and at the best rates. I’ll have to convince my parents to send me money first…

Check out more travel stories and insights at https://news.find.exchange

Sam Allen

Sam Allen

We find and compare the best exchange rates between banks, FX bureaus, post office, supermarkets and online money providers. But we're working on something even better...

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