Want to travel the world and cross off items on your bucket list?
As university students, we often have big dreams, wild plans and… an empty bank account. Not every student is from a privileged background, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to fund our very own 4 to 6 month exchange ☺️
Since entering University, I’ve always known that I wanted to go for an overseas experience. I loved being abroad, and immersing in a culture that’s foreign and new.
Money was always a concern, but I was determined to travel without letting money get in the way of my plans. With the many things I did over the past three years, I managed to save up $10k for my overseas exchange experience in Mexico!
As such, here are some things I did or heard about that helped me better fund for exchange:
1. A conscious effort to save
The biggest difference to hitting the $10k target was saving. No matter how much money you earn from working, it will all be relative to the amount you spend on food, socialising, entertainment… the list goes on and on.
If saving means skipping out on Coldplay concerts, eating at home instead of cafe-hopping and less nights out drinking, then… you gotta just do it! Exchange will be worth so much more 😍
2. Gigs & Freelance Work
Writing, singing, dancing, acting, emcee-ing… whatever it is, freelance work is a pretty good way to earn some cash. It may be difficult to start off (as everything is) but the more you do so, the more you’ll network and get better opportunities in the future.
I did freelance writing for The Travel Intern, and eventually found other opportunities that allowed me to continue writing!
3. Part-Time & Full-Time Internships
As a student, we all have our holiday periods as well. Instead of spending the time travelling somewhere expensive, you can try applying for internships. This is pretty worthwhile as you get to learn and value-add to your resume, while earning some cash along the way.
Part-time internships could be a thing if you have a flexible timetable that allows for you to work while studying. I did my stint in Viacom Media International Networks, and it was a fun time learning about MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures!
Full-time internships are usually a Summer commitment, which lasts from May to early Aug – that’s 4 months’ worth of pay for you to save up on! Internship pay can range from $600 to $2k per month, so you can do the math as to how much this could help fund for your exchange later on.
4. Working in University
Working in university is probably the most convenient way to earn, since it’s where you eventually end up going to every day. Jobs could include being a Teacher’s Assistant (TA), Research Assistant (RA), Gym Instructor, etc. Some opportunities are only open if you have a decent grade or through connections, but it never hurts to try.
Carousell is also a pretty good platform, as you can sell off some items you’ve never used, or newer items you don’t like wearing anymore. There are always many ‘wants’ and little things we actually need that lie around the house. Invest a little time hunting down these items and you could actually earn some money back.
Going overseas for exchange is a privilege to many, but money should not be seen as a factor/hinderance to going abroad for a few months. Hopefully, these tips do provide some insight to starting up your 2-3 year savings plan for exchange!