How to manage your finances as a student

By Emine Sasal

Coming to France as an exchange student can come with difficulties. Sometimes these consist of getting used to a new school system, making friends, or dealing with homesickness. Yet one thing all exchange students face the issue is financing (or almost all students, for that matter). This becomes an even more prominent problem if you’re coming from a country outside of Europe. As much as we might want to make use of the prestigious nature of Sciences Po and excel in our academics, one thing all exchange students plan to do is travel while they’re here! As a student coming from Canada, every euro I use in Europe or France is actually equivalent to $1.55 Canadian dollars. It could have been worse, and unfortunately, there are those from other parts of the world who have to give up a lot more to get a lot less in Europe.

Aside from the British Pound, the euro is the most valuable currency among the most important currencies in the world (You can see some of these conversions here). This calls for some intense budgeting for the exchange students who want to go traveling while they’re on exchange and to simply get by.

No matter what (as much as your budget allows) it’s important to make the most of your time here! Most exchange students choose to go on a year or semester, so it shouldn’t feel like a burden. If you want to travel, try to book your tickets in advance to get the best prices. Check RyanAir like it’s your religion because you could find round trip tickets to Sweden for a weekend for as low as 30 (Like I did one time).

In terms of trying new foods, go out of your way to try something for the first time. If you like it, you’ll buy it occasionally. For example, I don’t think anyone can have enough baguettes – there’s no such thing. You can easily finish two baguettes in one day and no one would even ask you how. The possibilities are endless. But a good, decent baguette from a boulangerie can range from €0.90 to €1.50. This will quickly add up without you realizing, and it could end up costing you a lot at the end. What you can do is buy two to four baguettes in one week and buy a loaf of fresh bread from the boulangerie, or your local Carrefour for approximately €2.00. This loaf of bread will last you a very long time, and I wouldn’t exactly consider it a downgrade. If you find a good boulangerie who makes good quality bread, then you won’t even feel like it’s something you have to do for your budgeting.

It’s all the little purchases that add up to make a lot of our financing. It really isn’t hard to enjoy your time on a low budget! Even if you aren’t planning on traveling outside of France, or Reims for that matter, there’s still a lot of small places and local stores that’s worth a visit. The most effective, fun and enjoyable travels within the city are also made while walking. So there you go – you can cut back on paying for public transit, as well as make the most of your travels within the city!


Featured image: http://wilmingtonacademy.org.uk/careers/university-information/student-finance/ Wilmington Academy

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