Money and transport lead the wayOverseas-education | Crystal Wu 21 Sep 2021
Navigating a new city while studying abroad alone can be a scary experience. Not only do you have to familiarize yourself with a new location, but it may also be your first time away from home.
"Public transport and living on a budget - two of my favorite things in my university life, both of which caused me at once great stress and a bit of a sense of accomplishment, attempting to step into the world of adulthood," said Student Globetrotter of the week Sabrina Wong, who shared some tips regarding her own experience navigating Vancouver.
"Do a little bit of research to find out what is the local transit app for your area, and that includes different modes of transport, their schedules, as well as a tool that helps you plan how to get wherever."
Wong used the Transit app most often as it had schedules and real-time location updates for various modes of transport. It also had a trip-planning tool.
Commuting between destinations may be time-consuming, especially with public transport, but for Wong, commuting was not a complete waste of time.
"The time can also be used as a way to wind down or just relax from your day's activities, as well as to chat with a friend," she said.
However, in the case of Vancouver, Wong suggests trying to shorten a trip to within 90 minutes if possible.
"The way the transit system works is based on time, so within 90 minutes you're charged once to travel wherever, but after that you'll be charged a second time," she said.
She also reminded that buses on weekends do not come on time very often and that transportation such as the bus and Skytrain gets warm and stuffy with the heating in winter. "So it's good to dress in layers or at least be able to cool off."
Another thing to navigate while studying abroad is your personal finance.
"Either the groceries you buy can quickly get reduced down to the basic necessities, or you might be excited with your new-found sense of freedom and become too wild with buying unnecessary or miscellaneous things," said Wong.
"It's definitely important to try to strike a balance between the two because you might either be overly depriving yourself of something that you really wanted, or you might not really be thinking about what you actually need."
Wong would keep track of her own spending as it helps her visualize the distribution. It is also a way to see if she has overspent.
Another habit that she developed while studying abroad in Vancouver is to read the weekly deals flyers from supermarkets. "Not only does that save you time and let you plan in advance, but you might also be less likely to stray away from your budget because you have a rough idea of how much you're going to spend on that trip," she said. "And of course, you get to save money by getting the deals."
And when it comes to dealing with the tricky affair of going out with friends and getting them to split the bill, she advised: "Learn when to let go and not overthink when you're with others if that's starting to affect your relationships."