Being abroad there are only two reasons you call your parents, it is always either you miss them or you need something from them… and that thing you need from them almost always seems to be money. So in other words it is the same routine as if you were back in college in the states!
Back in the states if you lived on campus in Merced, which is what I did, there really wasn’t a need for money since everything related to rent or food is all included when you pay your fees at the beginning of the semester. The only time you really needed money was to buy books or other school supplies, but besides that you didn’t really need money. As for those who live off campus, well they had everything budgeted accordingly for the most part. The only real need for money was when you wanted to go home or needed money for gas.
Out here in Europe it is a different animal entirely. To begin with the biggest obstacle we have here is the euro! More specifically the dollar to euro exchange rate that is approximately $1.16 per euro. While that may not seem like a huge difference, it adds up. Slowly but surely we have all seen our wallets shrink in size. Not to mention that most students travel while being abroad. You can’t blame us for wanting to travel, I mean when else will we ever be in Europe?! So we are left with the decision of weighing the pros and cons of every financial decision we make. For example, deciding whether to buy groceries for the week or taking a trip to Barcelona and having to eat nothing but rice and drinking tap water for a week.
Another obstacle we face is the tourism market. Restaurants, hustlers, and even government economies have been tailored to suck as much money out of tourists as possible. Though we are here for academic purposes we still seem to fall into the webs that are cast to catch tourists. If you are a foodie and are on a tight budget then Europe is not for you! The vast amount of different foods would put you straight into bankruptcy! The food here is so much different than what we are used to in the States, you’d blow through your life savings if you could. The struggle is real folks!
Decisions, decisions. To eat or not to eat? Do we really need to buy that plane ticket to visit the neighboring countries? Maybe not, but I guarantee it will be worth the financial struggle (or so I have heard). Since I will be in Europe for just over 2 months, I am more-or-less forced to budget accordingly and limit the number of excursions and night outs I have. Nevertheless I will enjoy my time in Europe to the best of my abilities!