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Saving Tips for International Students

Last updated on June 22nd, 2023

Finding an apartment or house to rent in a foreign country is more challenging than you might think. Here are our tips for international students who want to find their new home!


Renting in a Foreign Country

Renting in a foreign country can be more complicated than signing a lease in the US. Most landlords expect tenants to sign year-long leases, which means you have to move out at the end of your contract. Landlords don’t want their property to sit vacant, so they often require that tenants pay rent on time and are prepared to terminate contracts if necessary.

In many countries where English is not widely spoken or understood, there is no grace period for paying rent (e.g., 30 days). Rather than waiting until month’s end before paying your landlord for his/her hard work, it’s best to let them know as soon as possible that you’ll be moving out soon so that they can plan accordingly—and maybe even give them some extra money!

In the United States is it standard to sign a lease for housing. When renting an apartment or house, tenants are responsible to pay rent every month as stated in their lease agreement and must abide by the rules listed in the contract. However, renting a house or apartment in a foreign country is more complicated than just signing on the dotted line. Some things international students need to know about renting include: contracts are usually written in the local language; there is usually no grace period to pay rent; most landlords expect tenants to sign year-long leases; and that finding housing before arriving is beneficial.  Heres a few pointers:

  • Contracts are usually written in the local language.
  • There is usually no grace period to pay rent as it’s due on the first day of each month.
  • Most landlords expect tenants to sign year-long leases, which means you should plan ahead about what you will need for your stay abroad and how long you’ll be there.

Living Expenses

Living expenses are one of the most important aspects of an international student’s budget. You’ll need money for rent, food, transportation and miscellaneous costs like laundry or getting a haircut.

The best way to budget for these expenses is by looking at your overall budget and then breaking it down into categories (rent; food; transportation). Once you have a rough idea of how much you need each month, look at what’s available in your area — whether that be on Craigslist or through word-of-mouth recommendations from friends who live there — and start shopping!

If it turns out that your budget is too tight or loose compared to what other students with similar financial backgrounds are paying on their own houses/apartments/condos around town, then think about ways in which you can save more money by cutting back elsewhere — maybe buying less clothing so as not go over clothing allowances? Or maybe taking advantage of cheaper utilities (gasoline/electricity) instead of going crazy with high bills every month?

Most students budget for their expenses prior to departure. However, living costs vary across cities and countries and most students find their budgets often stretch further than expected. In particular, international students find living costs in Japan and Canada are less expensive than those of other countries. Accordingly, it’s important to understand what kind of lifestyle you want while abroad because your rent will be your biggest expense followed by transportation and food. If you have never traveled before or rented an apartment or house before then renting a place can be confusing but not difficult if done properly!


Navigating Public Transportation

If you’re traveling by public transportation, it’s important to know how to buy a ticket and what your options are.

  • When purchasing tickets at a vending machine or station: You can use cash machines or credit cards.
  • When using the automated kiosks that accept coins and bills: You’ll need exact change (in U.S dollars) or only exact change if you’re paying with Euro notes; otherwise, select “credit card” and then enter your PIN number as instructed on screen (the default is 1234).
  • In order for this system to work correctly, make sure that all passengers have their fare before entering an elevator or escalator; otherwise, it will not be able to process the correct amount of money from all passengers’ accounts!

We hope this article helped you understand how to budget and prepare for living abroad as an international student.

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