Jakarta, 27 July 2023 - As the new academic year approaches, many students are starting to prepare for their studies, including those who are going to study abroad. While studying abroad can be an exciting and new experience for students, it also comes with a lot of challenges. Among them is the cost of studying abroad, which includes tuition fees, other educational costs and living expenses. In fact, the United States, New Zealand and Australia are the top three most expensive places to study abroad, according to new research from global technology company Wise, with the total education cost amounting to £22,534 (Rp435 million) in the United States, £15,740 (Rp304 million) in New Zealand and £14,079 (Rp271 million) in Australia.
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Indonesia has over 50,000 students studying abroad, and this number continues to grow. As the cost of living continues to soar across the globe, being able to manage one’s finances is key to enjoying your student life abroad. Considering the high tuition fees in London, which can reach £10,924 (Rp182 million), and living expenses that can amount to £800 - £1300 (Rp15 - 25 million) per month, Rica Asrosa, an influencer who received a scholarship from LPDP to study at University College London, shares four tips to help students prepare financially as they embark on their study abroad journey.
For Rica, finding suitable and affordable housing can be a daunting task, especially for those studying in a foreign country. There are several considerations to take note of, such as location, budget, safety and comfort before making a decision. Rica recommends sharing an apartment with friends to save costs, compared to living in one by yourself.
When saving money as an international student in London, one of the best things to do is to learn to be a savvy shopper. Similar to Indonesia's "twin date" sales, the UK has Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where people can purchase various items, including clothing, groceries, and electronics, at significant discounts. Rica takes advantage of these special promotions to buy items she has been eyeing for a long time.
"During Black Friday, many items are sold at considerable discounts. As a student living abroad, this moment can be utilized to purchase daily necessities and study essentials. This way, we can save more money," Rica emphasised.
Due to the high cost of living in London, Rica rarely eats out and cooks for her own meals at home. Eating out everyday would burn a hole in her pocket, as it usually costs around £20-30 (Rp350 - 500 thousand) per meal. She believes this approach allows her to save more money and at the same time ensures the quality of her food, especially as a practicing Muslim.
When it comes to managing finances, it is also important for students to do their own research and find a low-cost platform to send and receive money overseas quickly and safely. According to Wise's research, the majority of international students pay more than £900,000,000 (Rp1,7 trillion) annually in hidden fees in marked-up exchange rates charged by most traditional providers.
Rica uses Wise to transfer money to and from Indonesia. "Before using Wise, I hesitated to make money transfers because it was expensive and slow. Wise allows students like myself to transfer money at the mid-market exchange rate - the one you see on Google - with all the fees clearly stated before the transfer is made. Over the course of a degree, this can account for hundreds, if not thousands, of Rupiah in savings,” Rica explained.