In addition to learning about a new country and company, your upcoming Global Internship is a great opportunity to learn how to effectively manage a budget. Living in a foreign city and using a different currency is an added challenge to mastering this important life skill. Check out the list below for some tips on organizing your finances.
1) Hit the bank beforehand
Make sure that your bank and credit card companies know that you’ll be traveling abroad. You might even consider opening a new travel card to match the financial institutions of the country you’ll be living in (and avoid those pesky transaction fees). Be sure to also exchange or request some money in the local currency while at home so that you have cash on hand when you arrive.
2) Download a conversion rate app
Unless you’re an arithmetic master, you’ll want to have a conversion calculator on hand for your first weeks or until you better understand the prices of the local currency. XE Currency and CalConvert are both great and free options that work even when not connected to wifi or data. You’ll be thankful you’ve downloaded them when standing in front of a taxi driver that’s overcharging your fare.
3) Keep track of what you’re spending
Keep an excel spread sheet of your expenses and compare the output week to week. This will give you an average weekly expenditure and help you decide when you need to cut costs or when you can allow yourself to spend more (pro tip: it will make your parents proud).
4)Learn to cook like a local
Buying food at the local grocery store or market and cooking it up at home is a great way to save money while also learning about your country’s cuisine. Challenge yourself to cook at least a few homemade meals a week—it will cost less than eating out and it will teach you some new cultural and culinary skills. Grab a new local friend to join you - I'm sure they know what to do with that exotic ingredient you're questioning...
5) Find fun (and free) activities
There are plenty of fun and free activities to explore in most large cities. Spending time in nature or going on a hike is a great, low-cost way to have fun. Things like outdoor concerts, festivals and farmer’s markets often take place during the summer months, too! Check event and activity guides in your new city upon arrival.
6) Allow yourself to indulge
While it’s important to be cost-conscious when abroad, remember: this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience of which you should take full advantage. If you have the financial flexibility, treat yourself to that handmade souvenir or hop on the train to explore another city for the weekend. After all, travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer.