You have your GFE (yay!!!)….now what….?
If you have received a GFE award for your applied practice experience, congrats!!! This is an exciting (and super helpful) award for your summer abroad. However, deciding how to budget that money over the course of your travel may seem daunting. Do you use all of it to cover a flight? Do you save some for food/housing? If it isn’t enough to cover all of your expenses, what else can you do to finance your trip? Luckily, you and everyone else going abroad are for the most part in the same boat.
The most important thing is to actually be able to get to your destination, and buying flights sooner rather than later is always a better option (it’ll also give you peace of mind so you aren’t frantically trying to find a flight last minute and end up in a horrible seat on a plane for 12+ hours). Try to get this expense out of the way ASAP and after this start stashing that money aside for the rest of your expenses. It is also always great to reach out to community groups around the city for extra travel grants through churches or public health organizations that your practice experience may be collaborating with. People want to see you succeed! And there is never any harm in asking.
For me, my applied practice experience was my first experience out of the country. I had no real idea as to what prices would look like abroad, like food and travel. I could somewhat estimate from speaking with my advisor, but it was still difficult to budget. My advice is to definitely OVER budget! I know you want to buy yourself a new wardrobe for your trip, but RESIST!! If you can, use money that you have been making through either your REAL position or the job you are working at this semester and start saving to put towards your trip. Trust me, I know this one is difficult to do with other expenses like rent and, well, living. But even selling those clothes in your closet you aren’t wearing anymore or clearing your apartment of other items you aren’t using is a great way to make some extra cash you can put towards your trip!
Bottom line, save early and save often. Again, being a very broke graduate student myself, I know how difficult this is but you will thank yourself for it over the summer!!!!
Safe Travels ☺