I´m 22 years old and two months ago I moved to my 5th country to study my 4th language. I had never lived outside Sweden before I graduated high school. On a daily basis I´m met with the question “How do you it? Are you incredibly rich?” The answer is no. Here are my top 5 tips on how to make your dream of living abroad a reality, without breaking the bank.
Let´s do this!
Do Your Research
Is there any way for you to study a course abroad for free or for a tiny fee? Are there any exchange programs at your university? There might be much more out there than you think. Do not limit your research to the internet but talk to your student adviser and your municipality office. They might have international connections that few use because of bad marketing. I myself would never have spent a term studying at University of Sussex in Brighton if I´d only relied on the website, since it´s both dated and user unfriendly.
Check With Your Religious Center
Many times religious centers (such as churches, synagogues etc.) have aid projects in foreign countries in need of volunteers. Instead of paying a large sum for regular volunteer services your religious center might be able to help you cover transportation and accommodation costs in exchange for your work at the project site. You´ll end up living in another country and making the world a better place all at once.
Consider Working Abroad
Instead of saving up a large amount of money back home to go travel in the future, go now and make the money while you´re away. Countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand offer one-year working visas and the jobs are relatively easy to come by if you avoid the most tourist-crowded areas. Most people work in guest service related areas or farming. I myself ended up working at a vineyard, a restaurant and a hotel during my year in New Zealand. If you’re a European Union citizen it´s fairly easy to look for a job in the other membership countries and Au Pair visas for the USA are relatively easy to get a hold of as well, depending on your country of origin.
Look For Grants
This can be a tedious job but if you do end up getting enough money to follow your dream, well then it´s definitely worth it! The good and bad thing about grants is that some of them are so specific that only a handful of people can apply for them. Maybe you have a certain surname, live on Blueberry Street or would like to study/work at a specific institution. If you do fit the description for one of these however, it´s highly likely you will receive it. If you´re short on time there are many websites out there who will help you search in exchange for a small fee, but you do well to remember that these may not cover very local and/or old grants that has not been digitalized.
This is a wonderful way to get a glimpse into the daily life culture of families in the country you’re visiting. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms and you will spend about four to six hours a day working in exchange for accommodation and meals. The locations range from full-scale countryside farms to vegetable gardens in the city and tasks can include everything from hedge-cutting to flower planting. The families will teach you about organic farming, but by living and eating and working with them you will learn so much more. Bring an open mind, a friendly smile and some pocket money to spend on your days off, and your good to go!