In today’s case study I’m interviewing Peian, who’s come all the way from China to study in Edinburgh. It’s always interesting to see the perspective of an international student and the different struggles they may have compared with a local. She tells us how she budgets, her different challenges as an international student and how she’s trying to make the most of her university years.
1. Name and university
Peian, University of Edinburgh
2. Did you take out a student loan? If so, how much are you getting?
Since she’s an international student, she hasn’t taken out a tuition or maintenance loan. We’re assuming her parents are paying her tuition
3. Do you budget? How?
She tells us she set a daily budget of £10, but admits that this is very hard to achieve.
And I have to say I agree – daily budgets mostly don’t work because it’s not a very great way to plan for the future. It gets complicated when you need to plan for large expenses like a trip or some gadget.
Daily budgets are hard to stick to and can be unrealistic, but still kudos to Peian for trying to budget! I would recommend to do a monthly budget, so you can compare month to month pretty easily. Here’s an awesome guide on how to do a budget in less than 10 minutes (you can time it!)
4. What are your tips to save money?
Nice and simple, she tells us:
- Don’t go out too much
- Don’t go drinking too much
- Get a job
- Cook at home
Totally makes sense.
For some more actionable ways to save money check out: 18 Easy Ways to Save Money in University
5. Do you have a job? What is it?
We actually caught her just getting out of the Career Fair where she had just applied to a job.
She tells us she wants to work in the library where she says the minimum amount of work hours is something like 2.5 and that the pay isn’t too bad. Ever thought of working in a library? Sounds like a pretty great student job to me! Go Peian 💪
6. Do you make money in any other ways?
Her parents do support her, but she also does some tutoring online for English and Maths.
Tutoring is really a great way to earn money and skills at the same time – you get to learn how to interact with your first clients and put yourself in their position when teaching. Plus if you’re teaching a subject you’re studying, it’s also a great way to learn even more. One of the best ways to learn is to teach others.
For more great jobs like this check out: Top 5 Skill-Building Jobs for University Students
7. How do you find student deals and which ones do you use?
She tells us she mostly uses UNiDAYS. They offer really awesome discounts to nearly every single shop – all you have to do is download an app.
For more awesome discounts check out this post: 4 Steps to Find the Best Student Discounts
8. Ever thought of getting started with investing? What’s holding you back?
Both Alvar and I were pleasantly surprised that Peian had indeed invested and she had started with government loans (aka bonds) in China. She told us she had put £500 away and was waiting to see it grow. Impressive.
For most students, investing doesn’t even cross our minds – no one tells us it’s important and no one tells us how to get started. I’m working on an Investing Guide to hopefully help young people all around the UK get started risk-free. In the meantime you can check out: 6 Investing Myths DEBUNKED
9. What are some things you’re struggling with at uni?
She tells us that what she’s struggling with most is finding a way to make the most of the 4 years she has abroad. She wants to use all the resources she can and learn as much as she can, since the tuition fee is expensive as an international student and she wants to make sure that it’s worth it.
I totally understand the pressure some students feel when studying at university – especially if it’s expensive. This can also apply to local students who are taking out huge loans to pay for tuition – do you sometimes feel pressure to take advantage of every moment at uni?
10. Is university worth it, for you?
For her, it definitely is worth it. She’s in a new country with a lot of new opportunities and experiences. She says she is learning new skills she have for life when she goes back to China, and she’s having experiences she wouldn’t have if she were still at home.
It takes courage to study abroad, especially when it’s in a completely different culture and country. But Peian will learn a ton of skills which will be extremely helpful in her career (especially speaking English!). This is why I’m also so adamant on students taking a gap year.
So there you go! A very different perspective from an international student. Do you relate to anything Peian said? Have you ever tried daily budgeting? Comment below!