Study abroad: Plan and monitor your budget with my calculation templates! 

May 16, 2016

Studying abroad is something you will very likely find on top of every student’s bucket list. Fair enough! It is a great chance to enhance your education, meet new people and travel the world.

In case you are not yet 100% conviced, you find the top 5 reasons why you should study abroad here.

Anyway, one big hurdle for realising the study abroad dream is the required budget. Spoiler alert: in this post I will not provide the ultimate sum of how much your study abroad will cost you in the end. This depends on too many different factors:

  • Price levels of your chosen destination
  • Sought lifestyle / expectations on traveling and living (dorms vs. private rooms)
  • Distance from your home country
  • Duration of your abroad studies
  • Subsidies from
    • your „home“ university
    • local associations
    • a community or international programme, like Erasmus in Europe

In either case it is important that you plan your budget thoroughly in advance.

On one hand you need to take into account the above mentioned key influencers on your budget, which have to be observed individually. On the other hand your calculation is influenced by different types of costs, which are the same for every student. These include for instance:

  • accommodation
  • insurance
  • transportation
  • study fees
  • fixed costs at home

For these types of cost I put together a calculation sheet, which I used myself for planning and monitoring my study abroad budget (I spent 5 months in New Zealand). I am happy to share this template with you to make your life a little easier.

I attached two templates in an user-friendly excel format: An empty one as well as my own budget sheet for New Zealand, where you can see and overwrite a completed calculation.

Just click on the pictures to download the excel sheets:

Study abroad calculation template_empty Study abroad calculation template_EXAMPLE NZ

How to use the templates?

1. Fill the yellow spaces in the header for your personal overview
  • Where do you go?
  • When do you go?
  • What is the exchange rate? (fill in „1“ if you calculate in your own currency)
  • What is your planned budget in total?
2. Differentiate your costs in travel related and study related costs

Fill the yellow spaces with your budgets (either in your own or destination’s currency)

  • Fill one-shot fees (eg. flights, vaccinations)
  • Fill recurring costs (eg. rent, insurance, food shopping)
3. Give a status „outstanding“ or „paid“ to your budgets

If you are in a very rough planning and estimation stage you can also use the placeholder „-„. Otherwise you will find an overview of open and settled payments in the header.

4. Delete rows you do not need or add new ones in case you identify additional costs

Attention: if you do so please check the underlaying formulas.

5. Get an overview of total budgets

You will get an overview of the automatically calculated overall budget, separated in following sections:

  • traveling vs. studying
  • open vs. settled
  • planned vs. actual

In case you have any detail questions or need an adapted version please just leave me a comment.


I am looking forward to comments of any study abroad students out there: What are your key take aways regarding budgets and costs? Did you stick to your planned budget? Did you face unexpected costs?

If you are interested in sharing your experience with My Travel Emotion’s readers please also leave a comment. My study abroad section shall grow over time with more and more impressions and stories of study abroad programmes all over the world.

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