How to Financially Prepare for Postgraduate Study Abroad | FindAPhD.com

How to Financially Prepare for Postgraduate Study Abroad

Worried about how you’ll manage your money as an international student? The cost of studying abroad can certainly add up, but some careful planning can ensure you stay within budget. We’ve put together six steps to help you do just that!

#1 Work out how much you need

This might sound obvious, but it’s essential to add up all the expenses for your chosen course well in advance (perhaps over a year before you start). You’ll need to account for tuition fees, living costs, and any extras such as health insurance and student union membership.

If you’ve not settled on a particular course yet, we have average tuition fee figures for a range of popular destinations in our study abroad section, as well as typical living costs. If you have already chosen a course, you should already know the exact fees you’ll be required to pay, and you may also be able to find an estimated student budget on your university’s website.

Once you’ve totted up everything your degree abroad will cost (perhaps in a carefully colour-coded spreadsheet), you may be slightly intimidated by the resulting figure! Luckily, there are likely to be funding opportunities available for international students in your chosen country. We provide overviews of these in our country guides.

Options could include university scholarships or government funding specifically international students (either from your home or destination country).

#3 Get saving

However much you already have set aside for studying abroad, it doesn’t hurt to save some extra cash in the run-up to your departure, even if just for unforeseen expenses. It’s probably worth forgoing the odd extra luxury for a year or so before you set off – you’ll thank your past self once you’re walking the streets of your chosen study abroad destination!

#4 Check your financial visa requirements

Many countries will require you to have a certain amount of money at your disposal in order to apply for a student visa. This is often equivalent to a typical year’s worth of expenses. To find out how much you’ll need for a visa, check our study abroad section or your chosen destination’s government website. If you can’t cover all the costs by yourself, you may be able to apply using a sponsor in some countries.

Once you know you’ve got access to enough funds to meet your requirements, gather together all the documents you’ll need to prove this in your application. These could bank statements or certificates of deposit.

#5 Set up an overseas bank account

It’s a good idea to have your bank account set up and ready to go before you arrive. Having an account in your host country is a good way to keep your money secure and ensure you can be paid if you decide to work alongside your studies.

Some banks may offer student accounts with specific benefits such as larger arranged overdrafts, so make sure to apply for one of these if you can! The documents you’ll need to apply for a bank account will vary, but generally include a passport, visa or residence permit and proof of your enrolment at a university in that country.

#6 Make a budget (and stick to it)

We know, easier said than done. But creating a budget ahead of time will help you make sure you don’t blow through your savings in your first term abroad!

A good way to do this is to add up your essential expenses (such as rent, utilities and transport) and subtract these from your overall budget to find out how much disposable income you’ll have. Remember to be realistic and allow for unforeseen circumstances, and don’t plan to scrimp and save more than you actually need to (this will probably just set you up for failure).


Once you’ve ensured you’ve got enough money to cover your expenses and set up a bank account in your host country, it’s time to fly (budget in hand) – and enjoy your study abroad experience!

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Last Updated: 15 September 2023