Exploring Europe as a Postgraduate StudentFind your PERFECT POSTGRAD PROGRAM
Thanks to relaxed and user-friendly EU regulations , it has never been easier to travel from one European country to another, taking in everything from the warm sandy beaches of the Mediterranean to the snowy ski slopes of the Alps and the glaciers and fjords of the north. If you have successfully completed your first few years of university and are moving onto further study in a foreign country it can be a hugely exciting, yet somewhat scary time. For most students this will be the longest time that they have been so far away from home without their parents or guardians – not to mention living in an entirely different country.
Plan your budget and stick to it
Assuming your studies are all organised and under control, the only thing you need to worry about is looking after yourself and making sure that your funds last you and getting the most out of this exciting new experience. There are several tricks to surviving comfortably on a budget while still having enough to travel, explore and get to know the country that you’re living in. The first thing you need to do is work out your budget and try to survive on a little less than you have. This will allow you to save up a small nest-egg for emergencies, special occasions or simply to get into good financial practice before you start earning a decent salary. Always keep enough to get home tucked in a savings account, just in case sudden political upheaval strikes and you need to leave the country unexpectedly. In modern Europe this is highly unlikely to happen – but it is still a possibility!
Sample the local delights
One of the great things to do in a new country is sample the culinary delights on offer – all European countries have different specialities and a culinary tour of Europe is a must. However as a student your budget will almost certainly restrict you from eating out too often. Avoid expensive restaurants (unless it’s a really special occasion), avoid the common fast food outlets unless you are longing for something familiar, like a taste of home! Instead, try the street food as many wonderful foods are sold this way for an astonishingly low price. You can easily make the most of the country’s cuisine by getting to know the local and regional specialities, like sausages in Germany and cheeses in France, Belgium and Switzerland. You can incorporate these into your meals at home and when the weather is nice pack up a picnic and enjoy it in a park, beach or near a landmark.
If you crave a proper restaurant meal consider taking an early dinner. Not only will you avoid the crowds and queues, but in many cases you will pay less for your meal as it will from a more restricted menu than is available later in the evening. Many countries have special cheap specials of the day which can also include a drink – such as Spain’s Menu Del Dia or the Prix Fix menu in France.
Souvenirs from home make great gifts
Before leaving your home country, buy a host of small souvenir items that are representative of your country. Over your time in the foreign country, you can give these as gifts to the people who help you out or put you up in their homes. This will save your carefully planned budget and will work as a wonderful reminder of you to your hosts and friends.
Take advantage of discount travel
Europe is an interesting and diverse continent – and during your time here you should travel around the country your studying in and also pop into neighbouring countries to see what they are like. There are usually plenty of travel bargains and discounts available online, and be sure to always ask for student discounts and make sure you have your student ID with you to take advantage of some of the excellent deals available to students. Consider travelling on odd days of the week if that is the best deal and in this way you will be able to see and experience the country more fully, without spending a great deal of money. Research each destination before you travel, so that you can be sure of seeing and experiencing the best that each city or country has to offer, be it an art exhibition, a magnificent natural sight or a fun event like a beer fest!
Keep documentation safe
It goes without saying that you should always look after your important documents like driving licence and passport. Absolutely refuse to hand them over to anyone without an excellent reason, and in general, carry several good copies of the documents that are likely to be asked for and hand those over instead. Keeping a certified copy of your documents locked up safely just to cover you should the worst happen is an excellent idea.
Happy studying and travelling in Europe!