group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Money Matters

    Money Matters

    Personal spending habits vary, so be aware of the cost of participation for your program, but also know yourself and your habits when budgeting for this program. Keep these tips in mind when planning for your experience and while you are abroad.

    • Diversify the ways you access your money—have a debit card, credit card and cash. Keep some US cash on hand in case of an emergency. 
    • Currency exchange centers such as those at the airport usually charge fees. It is recommended to withdraw local currency at an ATM when you arrive, or exchange some money at a bank before you leave. 
    • Alert your bank that you will be abroad so they don’t freeze your account.
    • Make a daily or weekly budget and try to stick to it!
    • Check with your bank about international fees and withdraw fees and work them into your budget.
    • Make copies of your debit and credit cards and have your bank's phone number on hand in case a card is lost or stolen.
    • Research the exchange rate and local currency of your host country. Make a cheat sheet of the exchange rate to carry with you (e.g. $1=0.86 Euro, $5=4.31 Euro, and so on). In some countries, cash (not credit or debit) is the preferred form of currency. 
    • Understand the cost of living in your host country. 
    • Keep track of shared travel expenses that you split with friends using an app like Splitwise
    • Be aware of your surroundings while abroad. Pickpockets exist and generally strike when you are in a crowd.
    • If you will be abroad long term (a semester or more), ask your program team if opening a bank account in your host location is suggested. 
    • For more details on financing your learning abroad experience, visit our Finances and Creative Ways to Finance Study Abroad pages.