As a college student, saving is really hard to do. You need textbooks and class supplies and sometimes you just have to go out to eat somewhere that isn’t the cafeteria just to save your sanity. You’re used to living on a shoestring and thinking of saving as something that you should do later on. Stop it. Save every single penny you can. The more you save, the easier it is going to be for you to be able to afford to travel for that short term job or internship.
Set Up Housing Ahead of Time
If you wait until you hop the pond, finding housing is going to be a nightmare. Start your planning as far in advance as possible. Even a couple of weeks worth of planning is better than none. Two weeks is enough time to track down temporary student housing with roommates or take advantage of summer dormitory availability at schools in the city where you will be working. You might even be able to take advantage of relationships that your own college (whether it’s University of Texas at Dallas or SUNY Plattsburgh) has set up with schools abroad to help get discounted housing rates at sister schools.
Store Your Stuff
If you’re only going to be gone for a week, you can probably leave your stuff where it is. If you’re going to be gone for a few weeks or a couple of months, though, you’re going to want to be using starch based packing materials in your local storage unit to minimize deterioration. The great thing about college towns like Dallas (and others) is that they usually have ridiculously cheap storage options available for students. Store your stuff in a secured storage facility until you get back. That way you don’t have to worry about whether or not it is safe and definitely don’t try to cart it all with you!
Get a Good Travel Rate
Use sites like Kayak and other travel sites geared toward students or that will help you find discounted or student travel rates to help make your airfare easier. The cheaper your tickets across and back, the more money you’ll have to spend while you’re abroad.
Find Other Temporary Expatriates
One of the hardest things about temporary jobs is the loneliness that comes from not wanting to get attached to people you’ll have to leave in just a few weeks. Luckily, finding people from home isn’t difficult. There are thousands of Americans living and taking extended trips abroad who are happy to “adopt” students like yourself who are having a hard time dealing with home-sickness and who need a taste of home sometimes. Sometimes just hearing that familiar Texan twang is enough to cheer you up!
Have you had experience traveling for internships or short term jobs as a student? What were some of the things you did to smooth out your experience?