The truth about expenses

I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be studying in a different country. The University of Denver has an amazing study abroad program that offers a wide variety of partnership programs with different universities around the world. I recognize that without this stellar program, I probably wouldn’t get this opportunity anywhere else.
Have you ever looked up plane tickets to Australia? Well it never occurred to me to check how expensive they were until I was interested in studying here. From Denver, Colorado, they are roughly $2,300 round trip to Hobart, Tasmania- at the cheapest. My University granted me a Cherrington Global Scholar benefit. With a high enough GPA and good academic standing, this scholarship covered my flight expenses and my visa costs.

Adventure Bay and Bruny Island (full day). Cost: $88USD (through the school)

You can work while you study abroad, you just have to note that in your visa application. My family wasn’t planning on me to work and so my dad had to pull a few strings. Money was already tight in my house but he knew how much I wanted this to work out. He made the effort to save up money himself so he could give it to me as a departing gift. I also saved up what I could from my minimum wage job back at home. My trip was going to happen, but I knew I had to be wise.

It’s difficult studying abroad when you’re on a budget. My harsh reality was that I met a lot of great people and unfortunately I had to pass on some friendships because I couldn’t afford it. What I mean by that is that once you start making friends when you’re abroad, everybody wants to travel. Here in Tasmania, we’re so close to the Main Land that tickets can be cheap if you book them in advance. But tickets are just one of many expenses that come from traveling. You need to pay for hotels/hostels, transportation, food, and of course the purpose to travel is to explore so you need to pay for any entrance fees that you come across. It’s hard when the majority of people have the means to pull off these trips every weekend while you’re forced to pick and choose what things you want to do and what things just simply can’t fit in your budget.

Wildlife Sanctuary. Cost: Free (through the school)

Like I said, the more you start passing off on trips, the more people become distant from you. They stop inviting you to places, and before you know it, they stop talking to you. My biggest piece of advice to those that are studying abroad: if this starts to happen, don’t be afraid to be honest. Tell people that you appreciate the invitation but that you are trying to be cautious with your money. Also tell them that you hope they keep inviting you to outings because maybe they might do something that you are willing to spend money on. One thing you should never do is give into peer pressure and start wasting your money on these constant trips because before you know it, you’ll be left without money in a foreign country.

You don’t need money to have fun. If you constantly need to spend money in order to have a good time when you’re abroad, then you’re doing it wrong. Find things to do that don’t require you to break the bank. Go out for some coffee with friends, explore the city and get lost, or take a bus ride to a new destination. One great thing about Tasmania is that there are a lot of amazing hikes to do. All you need is some people to go with and you’re all set.

Museum of Old and New Art. Cost: Free (with student ID)

This isn’t my first time living away from home but it is my first time having to feed myself. I became very dependent on having a dining hall at school that I never had to do grocery shopping for myself. I’ve bought snacks for my dorm and kept milk or juice in my mini fridge but that’s about it. I never had to buy actual food that will help me survive.When you’re abroad, you need to be wise about your grocery budget as well.

First, don’t overload on snacks. Yes, they’re quick and easy to eat but trust me, too many snacks can be costly. Not just to your bank account but to your health too. It’s better to buy $10 worth of chicken breasts than $10 worth of snacks. It’ll feed you for a few days, keep you fuller, and it’s much healthier for you. Food should always be a priority. Let’s say your monthly grocery budget is about $150. Make sure you include this FIRST in your budget plan before making room for fun activities.


Wineglass Bay. Cost: $27USD (transportation with 5 people)

Other personal costs to include in the budgeting list include transportation fare, hygiene products, and other personal products that you may need. If they are things that you absolutely can’t live without (such as toilet paper), budget that in first. Whatever left over money you have at the end of the month, that can either be an emergency fund (which I would recommend) or money you can spend on fun things!

Don’t think you need to be rich in order to study abroad. It can be discouraging when you come across people that don’t have the same financial strains as you and that’s okay. If they have the means to go out every weekend, that’s awesome but that is not you, so be smart. Look for student discounts whenever you travel ANYWHERE because they do exists. Ask your host school if they plan free or low-cost trips for international students. Above all, dive into the culture. Trying local foods, exploring the city, and making friends with the locals does not require you to have a big budget.

If you come from a low socio-economic background like me, I know studying abroad seems very unrealistic. But if you have a good support system behind you, and you’re determined to make it work, it can happen. All you need is to be smart, have a bit of self-control, and to just have a good time no matter what you do.


Friends. Cost: Priceless

Chelsea Hernandez


Chelsea Hernandez is currently a Senior studying Journalism and Criminology. She is studying abroad in Tasmania, Australia for the Fall Quarter of 2018. Chelsea is hoping learn about a variety of cultures, not just the Tasmanian one, as many of her peers abroad are from different countries all over the world. After graduation this upcoming Spring, she hopes to gain more experience in Journalism and land an internship somewhere in Denver.

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