My Tips for Studying Abroad as a Broke College Student

Hello!

Remember me?

I haven’t blogged in about..oh 8 months?! I’ve been so busy with nonstop school..and I’m currently on fall break when I remembered..I have a blog! Why not give it another shot (and hopefully stick with it longer)?images.jpgI wanted to write about my study abroad experience sometime so I figured this would be a good time to start! I studied abroad a year ago from August to mid-December in Italy. I thought I would start off with some tips, and eventually do some more articles on various details of traveling. I would also love to do an article specifically about Italy and tips for living there. This is probably my favorite topic to talk about, so this may get lengthy (so feel free to skim through).

Scroll down to read!

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STUDYING ABROAD AS A BROKE COLLEGE STUDENT

  1. APPLY EARLY– I was that student that turned in the applications on the literal date they were due which created a lot of unnecessary stress. Just get it done! You will feel so much more relaxed and ready for this experience. Fun fact: I didn’t know that the day I would return to the states wouldn’t work with my spring semester start date for the first location I applied to in Sweden, so I had to do a last minute switch to Italy. It made for some sleepless nights and lots of hoping I wasn’t too late.
  2. Do your research on financial aid– This is another instance of Megan procrastinating, and I missed several deadlines for large scholarships. I suggest focusing on the scholarships from your school’s study abroad office, and also ones offered through your program. The giant websites online are much more difficult to win a scholarships, such as scholarships.com (but still try!).
  3. Find programs that allow you to use your current financial aid and scholarships- This was KEY to me being able to study abroad. My university allowed me to use all my scholarships I was already using for tuition and fees, so I barely paid anything. This wouldn’t have been possible if number 4 (see below) hadn’t been taken into play. Also, if you haven’t qualified for FASFA in the past, don’t give up on trying again. You may be surprised!italy-601784_1920.jpg
  4. Choose a program in YOUR budget- When I first started thinking about studying abroad, all these different programs were thrown at me. Some cost as much as $30,000 a semester! Isn’t that crazy? Affordable programs such as USAC (the program I went through) and ISA are more in reach for most students budget-wise. I know that fancy program with several exciting trips and seemingly-life-changing-excursions thrown in sounds fun, but you can organize this all yourself for much less!
  5. Don’t give up on your preferred location…but be realistic- Maybe you REALLY want to study abroad in a big city such as London (as I did at first) or Paris or Berlin or Tokyo or Sydney or Moscow (you’re getting the hint), but the price tag is big as well. Try looking into programs with locations in smaller cities still within the country. I studied in a smaller city in Italy and it was AMAZING because it was authentic! No tourism and outsiders had changed the city yet, and everything cost less than in Rome, for example.6715561461_68d365945a_o-1_0
  6. Keep in mind the exchange rate- Especially if you’re planning on going across the pond..when I visited London I cried a little every time I withdrew money from the ATM (RIP my bank account). Don’t forget you’ll be purchasing food and everyday expenses like transportation, so be sure to budget this in. However, the exchange rate may be in your favor for other places so this could help you!
  7. Make an Excel sheet with your expected budget- This helped me see everything and ESPECIALLY helped me convince my parents that I had worked everything out.
  8. Consider getting a back up source of money- I got a credit card to use in case my debit card was stolen or not working. I never needed to use it, luckily, but it was nice to know I won’t be stranded if something happens. Basically, plan for the worse and hope for the best.study_abroad_paris9.jpg
  9. Don’t bring over tons of cash (in US currency or their currency)- A little bit would be great in case your card doesn’t work right away at the ATM in your arrival country. However, bringing too much just means you have a lot more to lose and could make you a potential target if anyone notices your wallet. I didn’t bring over any euros because I had trouble finding a bank that could do this for me, and I had no problem.
  10. Last but not least…plan on spending more than you expected- You’re there to study, yes, but come on. You’re going to be in a YOLO mind set and want to try everything. There’s new foods, places, fashion, and drinks you’re going to want to try. I ended up traveling much more than I expected and spent most of my budget on plane and train tickets (but it was totally worth it in my opinion).

Well…that was all of my financial tips I can think of. Hopefully that made sense! If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments. I would love to help 🙂

Good luck and bon voyage!

-Megan

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Cold Weather Layering

Hello lovelies!

It has been quite a bit chilly lately! We are currently getting a cold front for the next few days, and also a bit of snow. Thanks, Canada. So what do you wear when the low is 5 degrees? I’m honestly not sure I have the answer to that..but I do know layering is a key way to staying warm (and not looking ridiculous).

I’m wearing my favorite hat that was handmade in Nepal, which I bought at a market in Switzerland (take me back please!). I loved this hat because it has an extra fleece layer sewn onto the inside– the kind of hat I need for where I live. If you would like me to do a post on European fashion and the differences between America and Europe, I would be glad to do it (I recently spent a lot of time there).

I finally tried out the over-the-knee boot trend, too, and I have to say these are pretty warm. The black goes with anything, too. I especially like the little buckle and zipper details on these ones. I’ve had this leather jacket (well, faux leather) for years, and I never really wear it. However, I felt like my turtleneck needed a little edginess added to it (I have another long-sleeved shirt underneath that turtleneck as well for extra warmth).

Also, what am I doing with my hands in that first picture?

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xoxo Megan

Getting Fit: Stop Dreaming, Start Doing

Hello again lovelies,

This post took some guts for me to post..but I’m putting it all out there.

I spent my last semester abroad in Italy, and I can honestly say I indulged. Gelato, pizza, and wine were plentiful (and amazing) there. However, now that I’m settled back in America, I think it is time for me to buckle down on getting healthy. I’ve been slowly incorporating more pilates and jogging into my daily routine, and I’ve also been trying to cut back on the junk food (my weakness in life)..I’ve already lost a few pounds now that I don’t live above an Italian pizza joint.

Today I started Julian Micheal’s 30 day shred, and I’m so excited to see results! I started with level 1. I’m so ready to see some abs. I found it free on you tube:

I’ve also been doing some yoga (finally invested in a mat), which is very calming. However, I know for me my issue is snacking (especially at night). Therefore, I’ve told myself I need to become a more mindful eater. It is not good for your body to be consistently eating for no reason other than being bored or stressed. That is how you slow your body down. I also noticed when I do stress-eat, I tend to be feel worse after (not any less-stressed at all).

I’ve decided to include some before pictures, so I can hopefully include some after pictures as well and show you my progress on this fitness journey 🙂 (ignore my weird outfit, I had just worked out).

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Thanks for reading,

Megan

High-Neck Tops Galore

I recently picked up a few high-necked tank tops from…Rue 21? Yes, Rue 21. I haven’t been in there for quite some time, so I was surprised to see something I liked. The best part is? They were on sale for $3. I would say that’s a bargain. I love the contrasting between the bold black and white stripes and the dark mustard sweater (Urban Outfitters).

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Oh, and that beautiful white crystal necklace? Ebay. It was a pretty good find, if I don’t say so myself.

Comfy Dresses

When I was in Italy a month ago, I noticed a lot of women wearing huge scarves. And they looked so warm but yet fashionable. I finally picked this one up– and it was a great investment. Its reversible also with a more neutral pattern on the back. Although this scarf is not meant for a warm day out, it will definitely keep your neck (and half your body) warm in the winter.

The dress is from Zara, my favorite store in Europe! T-shirt dresses are the comfiest thing, and also perfect with leggings. I’ve worn this one quite a bit lately.

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello!

I’ve always wanted to start a blog, but for some reason I never had the will-power to actually start. I finally decided..why not give it a try? What do I have to lose (besides getting behind on Netflix)?

My blog is going to mainly focus on fashion and lookbooks. I am a 21 year old who is living that broke-college-student-but-still-wants-to-look-nice life. I’m sure I will also write about other topics, but that is my focus. As far as my style goes, I love thrifting and finding deals online. Something feels even better knowing I didn’t pay a fortune for it, and also that its one of a kind!

So leave a comment and enjoy!

-Megan