Richard Gaudreau, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Studying or working abroad isn’t cheap. To help you decide whether you can afford it, the following is an overview of some of the less obvious costs I had poorly accounted for before leaving to work abroad. As well there are some helpful tips for those trying to budget effectively.  


In addition to the cost of accommodation, you should consider what you’ll need to buy for your new place. Will you be given thin sheets, cups, utensils, pots, pans etc.? If you need to buy additional items for your accommodation, you should add these costs to your accommodation budget.

Vaccines, Medical expenses and Health Insurance

If you are travelling to areas where you will need vaccines or other medication, your current health plan may not cover these costs. Some companies or schools may not provide a health insurance policy for when you are abroad. Make sure to account for these costs as accidents can happen and vaccines and other medications can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.


While the main focus of your internship or study abroad should be gaining professional experience or learning new skills and knowledge, let’s face it, you are abroad and you should make the most of your new surroundings! If money is limited, then you should set aside a certain amount for these fun extra activities.

Food and Drink

Will you be cooking at home, on a meal plan or eating in restaurants? While no travel experience is complete without experiencing local foods and drinks, the cost of eating out quickly accumulates.  Planning a weekly budget for food and drinks can help manage these costs. 

Currency Exchange

While dealing with banks and currency exchange is not as expensive as transportation and housing, cash advances, and credit card fees quickly accumulate. If you're going to be abroad for more than a few months, it may be worthwhile to open a bank account.


Transportation includes international flights, cab or bus fare between the airport and your place of study, and everyday public transportation costs. Depending on the country and city you decide to reside, these costs can be significant. On that note, I leave you with a picture of my most recent purchase, a motorbike, and a video illustrating the chaotic Saigon traffic!


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