Author: Michael Boyaijan
Location: Reutlingen, Germany
Guten Tag reader, and welcome to my blog! For the past month, I have had the pleasure of studying abroad in Reutlingen, Germany. Throughout my time here I’ve seen many amazing places, made lots of friends, and already had numerous unforgettable experiences. Although there is so much to share, I have decided that the focus of my blog will be more financially-based. For many people, myself included, money plays a large role in whether one can afford to study abroad at all. Although Valpo gives out an estimation of what a student will spend studying abroad, expenses are different for each student. This semester, I will be reporting my personal budget and expenditures so that you, the reader, can get a real-feel for what it costs to study abroad in Reutlingen, Germany. Along with this, I will be explaining things I learn and mistakes that I make.
I started my semester with a budget of $3,133. Like I said before, expenses vary from person to person. Some people spend a lot of money, and some people don’t. At the same time, what people choose to spend their money on varies drastically. What I did not know is that Germany is primarily a cash-based society. Yes, credit and debit cards do exist here, but for everyday purchases (i.e., groceries, public transportation, etc.) Germans generally use cash. With that being said, here is tip #1: Open a bank account/get a credit card that has little to no foreign transaction fees. I have a Chase College account and every time I take out money from an ATM, I get charged a small fee. Additionally, the conversion rate from US dollars to euros varies. So far, I have paid for everything in cash. The amount of cash that I have taken out is $781.80. I have used that cash for groceries, trips, souvenirs, a guitar, and meals out. So far, of the $781.80, I have used $675, leaving me with $106.80 that will still be used. My current budget is now $2,458.
For the first month, we spent a lot of time going on group trips and excursions, rather than in class. As a business student at the ESB Business school here, my classes only recently began. Going forward, I expect to spend less money as I will be doing less travelling, and I will not be buying another guitar. I hope you find this post useful in your decision to study abroad! Tschüss!