Being an international student in the USA can be expensive, with tuition, fees and housing cost all accumulating and adding up your total cost. Food is just another major expense that you have to deal with, and as a college student who may be on a budget, eating economically is a great way to save your money year after year.
Being away from home for the first time can be daunting and if you are not used to cooking for yourself, you may want to consider a college meal plan. Most colleges and universities offer meal plans for their students. College meal plans are basically a pre-paid plan where you either receive a fixed number of meals during your school semester or a cash value that you can use to purchase food from the school’s dining facilities. The advantage to this is that it will keep you on budget, it’s less expensive than going out to restaurants, and you don’t have to cook or clean up after yourself. However, you are limited to the selection of food that the school offers you.
If you have the option to cook your own food, this can be a great way to save money and also provide you with a varied diet. Despite jokes about eating instant noodles and microwavable food to survive college, you can actually eat well on a small budget. Most stores offers deals like buy-one-get-one-free on a regular basis, and coupons are also widely available so use them wisely.
Lastly, many student clubs and organizations will have events where they will have food during their meetings – attending the meeting can give you a free meal for the day! By all means I don’t recommend anyone going to a school event just for the food but being active in your campus organization can enrich your study abroad experience, help you improve your language, make new friends and professional contacts, and the free food is just the extra perk!