saving money abroad tips

How to Save Money During Your Internship Abroad

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save money on your internship abroad

Though the experience you gain from an internship abroad is priceless, you might still be concerned about how you’ll survive a few months abroad with no money coming in. There’s no doubt that it’s a worrying thought, but you’ll be pleased to know that it’s not as scary as it sounds. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy yourself on a budget, and still maximise your experience. Here at Intern Asia, we’ve all done it ourselves, and come out the other end with stories to tell, pictures to show and something left in our bank accounts! Using our personal experiences, we’ve put together our top tips for saving money during your internship.


how to save money abroadLive Like a Local

There’s no better way to live on a budget than living like a local. Food, drinks and products from your host country (or city) will not only be more readily available, but also more affordable than imported goods. If you’re looking to save some cash, trade your morning coffee in for a local cup of tea, and switch spag bol for a more budget-friendly bowl of noodles. This will not only help you save a lot over the course of a week, but also try many different things!

Given that taxi fares are a mere fraction of what they would be at home, it can be tempting to hop in a cab to get around the city. While this might help you practice the local language, it will have the opposite effect on your funds, which you’ll later wish you didn’t dwindle on riding around in comfort. If cab fares seem cheap, just imagine how little public transport costs! Big Asian cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo have extensive metro systems that cost next to nothing to ride, and smaller cities like Kathmandu and Bali have regular local buses that will keep your transport costs down and give you a more authentic view of the local way of life.  



making friends abroad


If you’re extremely budget conscious, it can be difficult to fully enjoy yourself and throw yourself into a social life. But it’s important to remember that an internship abroad isn’t all about work, so it’s don’t forget to let your hair down every now and again. Thankfully, student discounts are common around the world, so don’t forget to take your student card with you wherever you go. This will entitle you to discounts on admission to attractions, transport, shopping and more! If you aren’t doing your internship whilst a student, don’t worry; internship providers like Hutong School give all interns a student card which they can use to get discounts and deals around their host city.

When it comes to going out on the town, look for bars with good happy hour deals, and nightclubs with free or cheap entry fees. You won’t be the only ones heading to these places, and they often end up being the most fun! Alternatively, for a truly immersive experience, socialise as the locals do by going to local markets or restaurants – you’ll spend far less doing so!


exercise on a budget abroad

Exercise Outdoors

If you’re on a tight budget during your internship abroad, it might be time to trade a strict gym routine for an outdoor alternative. While gyms are becoming more popular in parts of Asia, they’re still far from being as well-frequented as they are in the West. Consequently, memberships come at high prices that would seem more normal for your home country than your host city. Rather than squandering large sums on a gym membership you might not even have time to us, why not workout outdoors? No matter where you’re based, you’re bound to discover groups of people getting together to exercise in groups outside. This is not only a great way to get your exercise fix for free, but also to make new friends and explore more of the city.

There are plenty of apps and online tools to help you meet people and find groups abroad, you just need to look!



how to save money internship abroad

Use a Currency Card

If you’re staying in your host city for longer than a couple of weeks, you won’t want to carry around enough cash to last you. It’s far safer (and more sensible) too keep it safely in a bank account from which you can withdraw as and when you need to. Using your home bank card to do this can result in huge fees that you’ll rather avoid. Instead, apply for a global currency card that will allow you to withdraw as often as you need for as little as 0%.

Depending on the regulations of your host country, you might want to consider opening a local bank account. Once open, you can deposit as much money as you think you’ll need or arrange regular transfers directly to the account. This will make it easier and cheaper to live, particularly in places like China where mobile payments are quickly taking over cash and card.



intern abroad companies

Go with an Internship Provider

Though the upfront fee Internship Providers charge might make this seem like an expensive option, it can actually end up being more cost effective than going it alone. The price and extent of the service varies from company to company, but, accommodation, visa support and in-country activities and excursions are commonly provided. This not only helps save you the hassle of trying to find your own accommodation in a foreign country and arrange your own visa, but also saves you money later down the line. With accommodation and activities included, you won’t have to worry about monthly rent, bills and entertainment.

Internship Providers are run by foreign and local experts who have plenty of experience living and working in the host country. Their knowledge and expertise can be a great help when it comes to local money saving tips and in emergencies – they know the best ways interns can save money, where you can find good deals and importantly where the cheapest, safest hospitals are located.


Set and Track your Budget

Before you get to your host country, consider how much you’re willing to spend in total and break that down into a monthly, weekly or daily budget. Create a spreadsheet and keep track of your spending as you go along so that you’re never left confused as to where your money has gone. If you find you’re under budget, you’ll be able to decide how you want to use that extra money – whether that’s a trip, a western meal or a night out!


These money saving tips are great to live by no matter where you’re heading. With a bit of preparation and careful calculation, you’ll have a rewarding stay during which you’ll see, do and experience some unforgettable things. Best of all, you’ll return home with some money left in your account!


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