Tips for Living Abroad

Can you imagine living in a different country?

You would be immersed in a different culture, tasting exotic food, meeting interesting people with lifestyles you may never have thought of.

Living abroad is a bit different than just traveling.

Traveling is going to a new country for a short period of time, booking some tours, visiting touristic places, and buying souvenirs to bring back to your family and friends.

Backpacking is living out of your big backpack, always on the move from meeting fellow backpackers and travelers to explore the local spots together.  A bonus if you get to hang out with locals.  Backpacking could be done in one country, crossing borders, and either short or long term. You are constantly on the move, and when tired, you try to set up a home base in one location to recuperate, until you are ready to take off on the road again.

Living abroad is immersing into the daily lives of your new surroundings on a longer term basis and you start developing routines. Getting friendly with the guy from the local market who gives you a nickname. Going to your favorite bars on Monday nights for Game Night.

Now traveling and backpacking could be fun as you are constantly on the move and are intrigued by the new culture. For living abroad, you may experience several days or weeks of culture shock, but since you are in that country for a few months or years, you start getting used to your new way of life.

So, why are you in this new country? What is your purpose?


But if you are Living Abroad, what is your purpose here?

Study a new language?
Study a martial art?
Study dance?

In hopes of meeting a potential boyfriend or girlfriend of that country? Then start learning their language!

But the main question is, can you afford to live abroad financially?

My guess is YES!!

If you choose your country carefully, especially where food and rent is cheaper, you can lead a rich life abroad!!

How? Grab a cup of tea, sit back and dig in below.

Currently, what are your regular monthly expenses including your rent or mortgage, food, bills, subscriptions to cable or gym membership?

University Students
I used to spend easily from $650-$800 for a room in a shared apartment in San Francisco when I attended my university there back in 2010; that was just for rent. Imagine as a student then with other expenses for food, tuition, books, and extra money to have fun. Being a student in San Francisco definitely was not cheap!

If you are a student, have you considered studying abroad? If your school has a study abroad program, calculate how much living expenses would be in those countries.  You would be paying the school your tuition, but living expenses in less developed countries will definitely be a lot less than cities like San Francisco or New York.

Another option is to search for universities abroad and find low tuition for international students directly. Many universities in Europe offers Bachelor’s or Master’s program for as low as 1000 Euros or less per year.

As of 2014, universities in Finland do not charge for Bachelor’s and Doctoral level programs to international students.   (Some Masters degrees have a tuition-free program, while others have a paid program.) This means FREE TUITION.  But remember, living expenses are higher than the US. The higher education is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education.

Here is a guide to the European countries that offer tuition.

Working Abroad
If you want to work abroad, there are many options of scoring internships or using your Work Holiday Visa to work in designated countries in which United States government has agreements with specific countries.  These apply to those under 30 years old, sometimes 35 years old depending on country’s policy.

US citizens can work in these countries for up to a year as of data from 2014.

Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Extensions of visa may possibly be obtained, depending on the situation.

The ski/snowboard school I worked for in Japan accepted Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, EU people that legally obtained working holiday visas.  Unfortunately, Japan and US do not have a mutual agreement.  Rent was anywhere from $200-300 in the countryside for a room and renting a 2 bedroom house was as cheap as $400 in Nagano Prefecture, 6 hour drive outside Tokyo.

Rooms Abroad

An amazing online resource to find rooms is

Anyone can list their spare room to make extra side income.
I have successfully used this during my travels to book from one night to a month for clean, furnished apartments.

If you are going away for travels and interested in putting your room up on listings, it guides you through a simple process.

Staying at hostels are much cheaper than hotels.  The likelihood of meeting fellow travelers are much higher as well.  I talk about benefits and tips of staying at hostels here.

That concludes some tactics of reducing your rent if you live abroad.
By living abroad and saving up to $400 a month just on rent alone, you are saving $4800 yearly that you could use elsewhere.



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