What next and ways to reduce your student costs…. 

With A level results landing this week, the planned path may no longer be possible and so other considerations, even left field ones, quickly come into the mix.

Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with character. Life experience. Not just a stack of qualifications, but what has shaped them, what they’ve seen in the world, how they view life. They expect opinions and soul and a test of character.

More students are choosing to either take a year out. However, choosing to study abroad can give students the chance to experience other cultures, to travel as well as a refreshing change to study.  However, it doesn’t come for free. We know that choosing to study or working abroad can be a costly alternative. The British Council promote overseas educational programs and state that, even though access to scholarships, bursaries and reduced tuition fees can mean that studying abroad is cheaper than in the UK, students still have to consider living and accommodation costs.

We’ve looked at options for helping the financial strain and what alternative considerations could come in to play that could help you study, work and create abroad.

1 - Get International Student Status

For full time students; apply for the student card with ISIC. This allows students around the world to prove their official student status and have access to over 150,000 student discounts and offers worldwide. And if you’re 30 years or younger you are still eligible for an International Youth Travel card (IYTV), which give you similar benefits and discounts. Airfare, magazine subscriptions, movie passes, restaurants and other everyday services are all included in the perks. There is a minimal cost to the card, depending whether you register and is valid for 16 months so you can continue to rack up savings even after you return home.

2 - Gov.uk

You could be eligible for support from the UK Government. They provide additional funding via loans and travel grants based on your programme and need. For example, if you’re studying abroad as part of your course, or on an Erasmus study or work placement, or if you’re a medical or dental student then there options available for you.

The support differs between countries, so check out the following links for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

3 - University Funding

Many universities have programmes to help their students’ international opportunities. After being accepted on to a programme, contact your university’s educational international office and inquire if any university funding is offered.

Santander, via Santander Universities work with 83 UK universities, provide and support with funding packages and initiatives that are specific to each university. Talk to them directly to see if you are eligible for a scholarship.

4 - International Payments

The cost of studying abroad for British students is increasing year on year. To study at Queensland University in Australia, the cost per semester has gone from $11,700 in 2017 to $12,168 in 2018 (Source 1). Multiply by three times per year and for 3 if not 4 years, not including further inflation, and we’re looking at a significant increase in budget required.  

There’s no surprise that funding is a deterrent for students. Fees can only get higher, with the weakening pound, on living expenses, food, accommodation and sightseeing as well as travel expenses.

If you have any fees and know that you’ll be living abroad for one or more years, then consider using an international payments service to get the best return for your sterling. Caxton is one option.

We have many products which can work in your favour and enable you to lock in your money, so that you don’t get stung when the exchange rate varies. This gives you peace of mind when you’re away, so that you know what your financial commitment is and you can plan your own spending.

5 - Caxton Card

Most credit cards in addition to exchange rate mark up will charge you a foreign transaction fee, which is between 1-3% charge on every overseas purchase. With a Caxton Card, you have no fees or charges, and no commission. You can use your card for your daily expenses, such as food, travel and social activity, whilst away.

With our new load limits of up to £12k coming in to effect in the next few weeks you will enable you to lock in today’s rate. Consider using your Caxton Card as a savings mechanism, when you know exactly how much you have to spend and no exchange rate to worry about.  

6 - Head somewhere unexpected

Our research on the cost of travelling gives ideas of where’s best to head to, where the pound goes further for you. You might want to wrap this into your year abroad, or stop off on the way. Or, if you’re thinking Western Europe, Australia or the US and Canada are proving too expense, then consider more exotic locations. South America, Asia or Africa can provide a few different and unique experience. Culturally very different to the UK, and with some incredible research projects or supporting large UK charities working in those areas.

In particular, it’s worth considering these four destinations where the pound still packs a punch:   


In Argentina, the pound is 14% stronger than the peso since last year. £500 gets you 11091.10 pesos now versus 9716.50 pesos in August 2016 (1375.60 pesos more). This means you can get a room in a nice three-star hotel for £62 and a main course in a restaurant for just £9.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), it is relatively safe but there is quite a bit of petty crime, such as bag snatching, see more at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/argentina. You don’t need a visa as a tourist as long as your stay is under 90 days. 

While you’re there you could:

  • Hike the W Trail. Visit Torres del Paine and choose between a number of hikes. Camp in the national park, or stay in the refugios, characterful lodges with views across the lakes and incredible landscape 
  • Watch and listen to the glaciers at the Perito Moreno Glacier at the national park, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. It’s one of the few glaciers left in equilibrium.

Caxton Life adventurer Charlie ‘Runnerbean’ Watson recommends;

Heading to Mendoza for the Mr Hugo's Wine Tour, a great route to follow and serves a lethal home style wine at the end of the tour if you can handle it. Also hike the 'gringo trail' in Bariloche and treat yourself to an all you can eat afternoon tea at hotel Llao Llao. Finally, don't miss out on white water rafting from Argentina to Chile - no need to bring your passport - when in Bariloche, and when in Buenos Aires watch a Boca football match. Instead of alcohol they have people selling ice lollies! 


Mongolia is still relatively unspoilt as it was hidden from the world for so long. Its pristine grasslands, ancient ruins and roaming herdsmen make it a captivating destination for the intrepid explorer. Right now the pound is up 10% against the Mongolian tugrik since this time last year. £500 gets you 1570695 tugriks now versus 1423827.5 in 2016 (146867.50 tigriks more). You can get an evening meal a restaurant in Ulaanbaatar for just £6 and a double room at a standard hotel costs £58. 

According to the FCO, it is mainly trouble-free but the advice is not to go out alone on foot at night as Western tourists can be targeted for their relative wealth, see more at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mongolia

While you’re there you could:

  • Visit “Dinosaur Country” Mongolian Gobi. It’s second in importance for dinosaur records, with over 40 species identified. Also, 12-15 fossil egg types have been found in Gobi!
  • Or take a camel-ride across the spectacular dunes of Mongol Els.


Myanmar, previously known as Burma, has remained relatively untouched by the outside world. Its beautiful temples, royal palaces and natural landscapes will captivate any foreign visitor. At the moment, the pound is up 12% against the kyat compared to last year and £500 buys you 878935 kyats now versus 782476.45 in 2016 (96458.55 kyats more). You can get a two-course meal in a restaurant for just £4 and a double room in a mid-range hotel for just £39. 

For anyone wishing to travel to Myanmar, they should check the latest advice from the FCO as there are some areas where travel is not recommended: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burma

While you’re there, you could:

  • Follow in the footsteps of Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne as they filmed their BBC series. Go ‘Leg rowing’ with the fisherman on Inle Lake.
  • See Myanmar’s answer to Glastonbury/Pride/ at the Taungbyone Nat Festival
  • Visit ‘holy’ snakes at the “Snake Pagoda,” a Pagoda distinguished by large pythons who live in Buddha statue and are considered holy

Caxton Life adventurer Morts recommends; 

Walk the Kalaw to Inle Lake trek, a magnificent cultural 3 day trek that includes home stays, great cooking and not least a brilliant boat ride across Inle Lake. Discover the stunning archeological site of Bagan from the air - a true once-in-a-lifetime experience and finally participate in a local Burmese cooking course in either Mandalay or Yangon. Follow Morts on instagram to follow his adventures. 


The land of the pharaohs has a wealth of archaeological treasures and offers some of the best diving in the world along its coast line. At the moment, the pound is up a whopping 103% against the Egyptian Pound since last year and £500 gets you 11826.15 Egyptian pounds now versus 5815.45 in 2016 (6010.70 Egyptian pounds more). In Egypt, a two course meal in a restaurant can cost as little as £3 and a double room in a standard hotel can cost just £23.

For anyone wishing to travel to Egypt, they should check the latest advice from the FCO as there are some areas where travel is not recommended, see more at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

While you’re there, you could:

  • Desert biking in the endless dunes and magnificent scenery. Join the Cross Egypt Challenge, and ride from Alandria to Marsa Allam ending at the Pyramids of Giza.
  • Barter for a camel at the Camel Market of Daraw – quite literally a market where traders bring camels, many bring the animals home
  • Sail the Nile on a felucca as Pharoahs would in the past and visit ancient sites such as Nekheb and the Temple of Kom Ombo.

Our Caxton Life Adventurer Jenny Tough recommends that you sleep under the stars in the White San Desert

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