Exchange is expensive. Whoever tells you otherwise either went to the middle of Asia, or has an insane level of self-control that I certainly don’t possess. Everyone who I spoke to before-hand told me this, and to some extend I listened, but I don’t think I fully understood what living in Europe would be like. So to help you guys plan I’ve included the budget I used. A word of warning, it’s quite complicated, with cells feeding into each other, based off exchange rates and alike. If you’re looking about going on exchange, and want to use it to help you plan how much you’ll need give it a try, but if you need some help figuring out where to put things please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
There are a few links which you need:
- Firstly a very important word document. This walks you through the process of adding information, and gives extra information. The link is here –http://db.tt/qhCtyTJ
- Next the template budget. This links directly in with the word document, and will automatically convert most figures into Euros or visa versa, as well as update for the exchange rate. I’ve also added comments next to each of the figures which need updating (indicated by a green background). The link is here – http://db.tt/4gSrqC0
- Finally my exchange budget. It’s just a guide, and please read the word document first (as well as the next paragraph) as it gives the background to the document, but it might help give an idea of expenses. The link is here –http://db.tt/mlCLevf
Before I start though, I do want to give a little word of caution about my story. What I have/am set to spend isn’t what most people spend. Looking at one of the other bloggers, Leonie, everything in Warsaw is a lot cheaper than what you’ll find in Western Europe! I remember, my trip to Budapest I spent more on the flights than I did the weekend so where you go has a big impact. Also what you do with your money is another thing. Friends of mine here use Libera for their mobile – it’s a low cost provider, but they don’t provide an internet service, and I ‘need’ (a relative word haha) internet for my iPhone. So I use Vodafone and spend about more. Similarly, in terms of food costs, there are a few supermarkets in the Netherlands. Of the ones close to me, there is Aldi (super-low cost), C1000 (mid-range) and the Albert Hein. Most people do a mixture of their shopping at Aldi and the C1000, where as I think I get better quality food at the Albert Hein. Another way I could be spending less, but I don’t.
Another big cost is travel. And by big I mean huge, and monstrous. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because seeing the world is simply incredible, but around half of what I’m spending on exchange is on travel, and that’s no small amount of money! If it wasn’t for the amount of travelling I’m doing, I’d probably have only spent about AUD$10,000-$15,000. Right now I have a friend on exchange at Leeds in the UK and he’s on track to spend about AUD$12,000. How I don’t know, but around that is what most exchange students I’ve spoken to tend to spend.
One of the big factors I think is where, and how much you travel. The tendency is for people who study in the UK to see the UK, and its also cheaper to do that through trains, and hostels. Part of my ‘problem’, is that I wanted to see Europe, and to do so from Maastricht usually requires flights, or expensive train trips. As I’ve included in the budget, generally a return flight (even with Ryanair) costs around the 100euros mark – quite good when you think about what you’re actually doing (flying to a completely different country!) but still expensive. I did manage to snag a flight to Porto, in Portugal for 35 euros return though, so the flights are there 🙂
Finally, and this is something I have and really want to stress – no amount of budgeting, or worrying about money can ever tell you one thing – what exchange will be worth for you. I’ve written about it heaps, and that’s because I strongly believe it. Exchange is without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done, and will do for a long long time. I’m seeing the world, meeting amazing people and having a fantastic experience – all whilst getting credit to my degree. Without a doubt, I don’t regret anything about what I’ve done here, or will do, and wouldn’t have it any other way. That includes how much money I’m spending. Exchange is expensive, but what you get out of it is so immense, and really cant have a price tag on it. Please keep this in mind when going through the budget and figuring out what you can afford.
Anyway back to the budget – the documents I’ve provided should help with entering information, if you have any questions please send me an email (email@example.com) and best of luck! I really mean it when I say everyone should do exchange, it really is incredible, and if costs are an issue there are a variety of methods to do it. You won’t regret it!