How To Fund Your Medical Studies Abroad

Updated on 21/05/2024 in
How to fund your medical studies abroad

Your dream is to be a medical student, and you have an eye on some medical universities abroad, but you are not sure how to make it a reality. Where do you start?

Once you have set your mind on the goal, you should determine the approximate cost of your education abroad.

This article will give you a complete guide on study abroad funding. We have prepared a list with the most suitable options for every future medical student. Keep reading and find out how to fund your studies abroad.

1. Part-time work

Most international students are taking part-time jobs during their studies away from home.

While this will not be enough to cover your tuition fees, it will help you with your living expenses. If you combine a part-time job with another type of funding, you will be on the right path to conquering your MD degree.

If you consider this option as the right one for you, then you should keep in mind and check the following:

  • First and foremost, make sure that your visa allows you to work while studying abroad.
  • Some countries, such as France, Spain, and Germany, have specific regulations regarding whether you can work as an international student or not and the exact amount of working hours allowed.

Some of the best-fitted jobs that can offer you a decent salary, a positive environment, and good memories are listed below:

  • Working in a restaurant, bar, or coffeehouse

These jobs may not sound fancy, but they are usually fun and let you connect with the locals.

As a bartender or a waiter, you will get the chance to receive a salary and have tips from happy clients. This means more pocket money for you!

  • Teaching English or your native language

English is the third most used language in the world, and there is a high demand for English teachers in almost every country.

Use your knowledge and pursue this part-time job. You can offer one to one tutoring classes or start working part-time in the nearest language centre.

  • Customer support services with English

As a native speaker or student with an excellent level of English, you can use that knowledge and work at a customer support centre. There is a high demand for English speaking employees.

  • Working from home

Like the previous job listed above, you can work part-time for some international company with offices around Europe. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies now offer work from home positions for call centre agents and customer support services.

2. Freelancing

Note that a full-time or part-time job is not a valid option for some students. But you still need to find a way to fund your medical degree. One of the best options to do so is freelancing.

To be a freelancer is the new normal job. And it can be a life saviour for you!

Essentially, a freelancer is a person who works for themselves rather than a company. If you choose to be a freelancer as a way to fund your education abroad, you will be self-employed. You will have the freedom to adjust your projects according to your free time and get a decent payment.

Now you are asking the question, “What freelance jobs can I do? ”

Our advice is to do research and find a freelance job that compliments your studies the best.

The key point is to have a skill that you could offer to other people or companies. It can be something that you are very good at, for example, working with Excel or a completely new skill that you are interested in and passionate about, such as Photoshop.

Keeping in mind that you are going to be a student, here are some appropriate options that you can consider and check out:

  • Online tutor in English or your native language
  • Copywriter
  • Translator
  • Graphic designer
  • Video editor
  • Proofreader

You can use websites like PeoplePerHour to find suitable online jobs for you. All you have to do is make a registration, list your abilities, and explore all freelance jobs listed there.

3. Save your money

Don't worry, we got you covered with some valuable tips and tricks on how to organise your budget as a student, save some money, and keep you on track with your primary goal - funding for study abroad.

3.1. Get an ISIC card

As a student, one of the first things you need to do is get an International Student Identity Card or, for short, ISIC card. This is the only internationally recognised student ID.

Why do you need it?

You can take advantage of over 150,000 student discounts and offers by getting an ISIC card. With this card, you can save money from accommodations, food and drinks, different services such as beauty and spa, useful apps, shopping, study resources, etc.

Check the official ISIC site for more detailed information.

3.2. Accommodation options

You should start your research on available accommodations as soon as you choose or apply to a specific university.

Being well informed with all options will help you determine the best-suited place for you regarding your study abroad budget.

However, the most common options for international students are university residence, homestays, apartments, student hostels, and hotels. The last two are not a good option since the main goal is to save money, not live like a tourist.

The cost of accommodation can vary significantly depending on different countries in Europe. So you should ask your university or agency that you apply through for advice.

Here are the most important questions that you must find answers to:

  • How close is my accommodation to the university?
  • Are there good public transport links?
  • What does the accommodation cost include?
  • Is the area safe?
  • Will you live alone or with other students?

Medlink Students' family assists prospective medical students with planning their journey to Europe. We can give you advice on transport methods and accommodation. We ensure that our students obtain the most affordable and optimal student accommodation suited to their specific needs.

3.3. Plan your travels in advance

This may not sound essential, but it’s at the end of the month you will wish you had read all the tips below. Why? Because the amount of money you spend on day-to-day travel and tickets for flying home will be huge.

  • Daily commute

Your new best friend will be public transport. Yes, taxi services and Uber are good options when you are in a hurry, but they will empty your pocket in the long term.

So you need to master the city buses and subways. For a shorter distance, you can just walk. If you happen to be confused about the direction, Google maps will keep you covered all the time.

  • Flying home

As an international student, you should know when and how to buy an aeroplane ticket. If you follow our previous tip for getting an ISIC card, you will already have flight discounts.

But this doesn't stop you from exploring different airlines that provide airfare for students. Go and check out these two platforms, specially designed for saving student money:

Except for using these kinds of apps, you should be aware of the following:

  • Always plan your travel in advance and buy a ticket as early as possible. It will be best to buy a ticket 2-3 months before your departure.
  • Sign up for airline newsletters and get exclusive, last-minute deals. Most of the time, they will not meet your needs. But by following this advice, you have guaranteed that you will never miss a good opportunity.
  • You can save a lot of money if you don't fly directly. It can be complex, and you will spend some time researching, but it could be cheaper to fly out from a nearby airport most of the time.

3.4. Must-have apps

There are plenty of useful apps out there that you can use while studying abroad. Here are the best two apps for money saving:

This app offers a debit card. Students can send money abroad for zero commission and excellent exchange rates. The exchange rates are better compared to many banks, which will help you save some money.

Mint is an excellent app for managing your finances. You can go ahead and plan your budget, monitor your credits and keep track of your spending.

If you want to find more apps that will give you a headstart on your journey, go and check out our article on 36 FREE Essential Apps For Students Studying Abroad.

4. Scholarships

Scholarships can be a great way to secure bachelor's or master's degrees funding. They can be a great source for you to pay the tuition fees and also cover some living expenses.

Depending on the university, country, and course, there are hundreds of available opportunities for you. The scholarships can be based on excellent academic credits, low-income background or any other specific criteria, for example, your major, nationality, or even gender.

If you want to pursue a scholarship, you need to be prepared for any paperwork. It can be discouraging for many people, but it's worth the trouble. Bear in mind that you can apply for as many scholarships as you find appropriate.

Types of scholarships:

  • Merit-based scholarships

In other words, this is a financial award for academic excellence or similar achievements.

Such a scholarship is the Heinrich Boll Foundation Scholarship in Germany. It's available for all students, no matter if they are local or international. To find information, visit the sponsor's official website - DAAD and Heinrich Boll Foundation.

  • Scholarships offered by universities

Unfortunately, the chances of getting a scholarship or funding from the universities are very slim for foreign students.

  • Scholarships offered by the government

It's almost impossible to find a government scholarship for international medical students. In Europe, you can study medicine in English at more than 100 universities, and most have very affordable tuition fees.

  • Specific scholarships or country-based scholarships

There are many scholarships for international students from developing countries who want to study in other developing countries.

Belgium, for example, offers special scholarships for students from Africa, South America and Asia.

  • Need-based scholarships or grants

They are defined as financial aid for low-income or physical or mental disabilities.

On Studyportal Scholarships, you can find all available scholarships per country and degree. So go ahead and do your research to find the best suitable scholarships for you!

Another excellent opportunity for medical or dental students from the UK studying abroad is travel grants. This way you can decrease your travel expenses.

5. Student loans

Some of you may be sceptical and have second doubts about student loans, but there are very common options for those who want to pursue their dream degree and career.

Student or education loans typically have lower interest rates than personal loans. Since the loan is with interest rates, this means that in the end, you will have to repay more money than the actual cost of your studies.

The lender usually waits for you to graduate, and after that, you have to start paying back. The main borrower of these loans is the student, while your parents can co-sign.

You can get a student loan from the government or a private bank. It can be a bank in your home country or in the country you wish to study in.

For example, the German KFW Bank provides loans to national and international EU students.

Here again, you have to research the available student loans. It's essential to choose a bank that meets your needs!

Overall, student loans are available in some countries, but you have to be sure to meet all the requirements. And keep in mind that you may not be creditworthy for some bank due to your citizenship, family income, etc. So make sure you check all the information needed so that you wouldn't be unpleasantly surprised in the end.

6. Programme payment plans

In general, this means that you can pay your tuition fee in two or three instalments. This is a good option since you will have time to organise your funds. It is some sort of guarantee that you will not run out of money straight at the beginning of the academic year.

The number of instalments depends on the medical university that you apply for.

For example, in Bulgaria, at the Medical University of Varna, the annual tuition fee for the academic year can be paid at once (at the beginning of each academic year) or in two equal instalments (at the beginning of each semester).

7. Consult with a study abroad agency

Funding your education abroad is difficult. Therefore, you should be optimistic and ambitious about it. Don't give up on your medical degree because of a lack of money!

Medlink Students' team of expert student advisors will guide you and help you choose the most suitable medical school for you best on your personal preferences.

You can always book a FREE consultation with us and explore your options abroad.

We broke down for you 7 different ways to make, save and find the money for your studies. With a little bit of extra research and devotion on your part, we are confident that you will succeed!

Implement these tips, and you will be a doctor in a few years!

Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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