I have to admit, though I spoke to a few past exchange participants who have gone to Australia, I did not retain a lot of information about their travel tips or things to do during my exchange. My mind was mainly focused on how much money they spent on their trip.

One person said, “You will spend at least 10k… I spent about 15k.” — Holy! 15k in 4 months!? I don’t even make that much in one year!

Though my bank account does not contain anything near that amount, I somehow feel that everything will be okay.

At first, I was definitely worried about my living costs and trip expenses. According to Business Insider (2013), Melbourne is ranked #4 in The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World. I recall panicking and having doubts about whether I should even go on the exchange. I felt like a complete mess and wished I did my research before picking Australia as one of my exchange choices.

However, many people have helped me ease my mind and have reassured me that I had made the right decision. They have told me that the experience is worth it and that I should not be worried about finances because “that’s what credit cards are for!” — ahem. Don’t worry, I won’t be dependent on my VISA.

Though I am currently working, I know I will need to find additional income for my travels. Therefore, I have done some research on ways to receive extra financial assistance and have created a mini to-do list that I hope to conquer before heading out to Oz. To keep me accountable for my actions, I will share the list with you (and my current progress!):

1.) Apply for Student Loans.

Being the keen person I am, I applied for student loans early in March. However, one thing I didn’t know was that the application process for an outgoing exchange student was a bit different than the process of a regular student. Instead of selecting “Business Administration” as my program of study, I would have to select “Exchange/Study Abroad Student”. Selecting that would then generate an extra appendix that SFU Financial Aid would have to fill out.

Because I did not apply correctly in the beginning, I had to cancel my application and apply again. Cancelling an application took longer than expected and I only began my second *correct* application just recently.

**LESSON LEARNED: Make sure to read instructions carefully and meet with a financial aid advisor at your school before starting a new application! Don’t try to beat the system unless you are certain about your actions.

2.) Apply for Bursaries.

I’ve been eagerly waiting for the SFU bursary application to open for Summer 2013 and even marked it on my Google Calendar (ultra nerd, I know), but the day has finally come! It opened up yesterday so I began filling in my application until I realized that I needed additional help to finish my application. I have emailed my questions to SFU Financial, so hopefully they respond back quickly.

**NOTE: Bursaries are reserved for students who are in need of financial assistance, so depending on your income, you may or may not be eligible to receive this type of funding. I was rejected from receiving a bursary one term and stopped applying after that. I think that term I had my car under my name so that was probably one of the factors to why I did not receive assistance. Let’s cross our fingers for this application!

3.) Sell EVERYTHING!

A friend told me the quickest way to get money is to SELL YOUR STUFF. I’m not too sure to what extent she meant but I’m willing to let go of my clothes and random things that are collecting dust in my room. In the next few weeks, Craigslist will be my bestfriend. I hope to sell old textbooks, clothes, and other “treasures” to local strangers. It always feels nice getting rid of extra junk lying around, so hopefully my online garage sale will be a success!

4.) Host a Fundraiser.

I don’t know how I’m going to approach this, but I am going to host a fundraiser. I do know that I will stay away from baking and washing cars since I believe those do not have a high ROI. Who would want to eat my burnt cookies, anyway!? Either way – I’ll figure out something fun & creative and keep you updated on my plans!

5.) Stop buying items I do not NEED.

Though this is not revenue-generating, it is very crucial to increasing wealth. Unless my toothbrush needs to be replaced, I will NOT spend money in unnecessary places. I’ve been pretty good so far – packing lunch everyday and saying “no” to outings, but there are times where I do cave in (without knowing!). I swear the culprit is sushi… if it wasn’t for sushi, I would be a-okay! I think I will attempt to live my daily life without carrying around my debit and credit cards. Once those are abandoned, I won’t be able to spend money, right?! Yes… I will try that out…

So those are my current methods of preparing for my exchange to Melbourne. If you have any other suggestions on how to save or make money, please feel free to share your tips with me! I’d appreciate anything that would help me attain my goal. Thank you for reading and I hope to share *good* news with you soon!

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