Life hacks every international student should know

DON’T do things the hard way. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Jacinth Tan, Kenji Gaerlan, Tina Tong share four life hacks that will improve your experience as an international students. 

Budgeting for students

Learning to live independently is a right of passage for students studying abroad. You encounter lots of new and exciting things along their way, from learning how to manage your money or coping with the stress of assignments and exams.

However, knowing how to do things the right way can really make life easier as an international student, and here are some hacks that we’ve discovered along the way.

Setting financial goals

Planning a list of financial goals is a great step towards controlling your expenditure. An easy way to keep on top of things is write down your monthly budget in a prominent place to remind yourself how much you really should be spending. In addition, it is best if the goals set are specific, realistic and measurable in order for it to work.

“Setting financial goals have reduced my spendings by significant amount because I have daily reminder of how much I can spend on the different needs and wants” says Chinni, a July fast track student.

Get a budgeting app

It’s easier to spend more than you can afford, especially when you’re not keeping tabs of your various expenses. If you find keeping a physical record of your spending time-consuming, why not make use of  free apps such as Spending Tracker? It’s user-friendly and takes away the hassle of budgeting as it tracks your spending habits each week or month. This is beneficial since you get to see if you’re spending more on the wants than the needs.

wifi on campus

Using library wi-fi

Ask yourself this: How much do I spend for dorm wi-fi and mobile data per month? Would I rather spend on other needs and use campus wi-fi when needed?

It’s easy to blow your budget on wi-fi, especially if you’re living in a dorm or accessing the internet using your mobile phone as there are usually caps placed on usage. Save money by tapping into the free wi-fi on campus, and limiting heavy duty internet usage in the dorm or on your mobile phone.

Finding a study buddy

Studying alone can sometimes be tiring and boring. Other times, you just don’t get a lecture no matter how hard you try. Having a study buddy ensures that both you and your buddy can motivate each other, or help each other when you’re stuck on a particular topic. You also kill two birds with one stone by having tons of fun with your friend while working towards achieving great results at school.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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