Bite off more than you can chew?
We all know that when studying abroad one of the most exciting parts by far is food. Each country has its own signature dish that you simply must try! Unfortunately as a college student you can’t really eat out every meal for the whole semester, although that would be nice. If you’re not staying with a host family you’re going to find that since mom and dad aren’t here, you’ll be cooking for yourself a lot more than you’re used to!
It’s been an adjustment for my roommate and I getting used to cooking our own food. We were so used to having a meal plan back home that we never had to worry about having to cook food ourselves. It’s not that we can’t cook, we’re just super lazy, and are on a budget. The first week here we ate baguettes from the market at least once a day simply because it was on the way to class and we didn’t want to make anything else. Since then we’ve added a few different things to the mix and love when we have time to cook for ourselves.
Here are a few helpful hints to help you get through the semester without going broke while still keeping your meals interesting!
-Budgeting is key! Decide how much you want to spend on groceries each week and stick to it. This way you aren’t tempted by any extra expenses. Bring only how every much money you are allotting yourself so you can’t spend more than that, try not to bring a credit card with you.
- EAT BEFORE YOU GO SHOPPING!! I cannot stress this enough! When you’re hungry while grocery shopping you tend to buy more than you actually need, a quick snack beforehand will go a long way.
-Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping. Write down all the things you need for each meal. There’s nothing worse than getting half way through making chicken parmesan and realizing you forgot bread crumbs so you’re scrambling to make your own out of toast and corn flakes.
-Before leaving to go study abroad, find some easy recipes that you want to take with you. Make them at home first so you know that you can do it on your own later.
-Pot lucks are the best, especially while abroad. Pick one day a week, or a month and get together with all your friends and have everyone bring something. It’s a great way to try new foods from different places and to have a great time with friends! This gives you something to look forward to and gets you out of cooking a full meal a few times.
-If your city has a farmers market, try and go there for food. It will be fresher than the grocery store because they’re all home grown, and it’s good to support the local small businesses.
-To cut back on spending money on day trips pack a few sandwiches and snacks to bring with you. It saves you the sit down time at a restaurant so you can explore more, and saves money.
-Try and buy foods that can be used for more than one dish. If you get meat you can make burgers, stuffed peppers, nachos and more. The more you can make out of what you get the better, that way you’re not spending all your money on just one meal.
-Don’t be too picky about what brands you buy. You may really like Heinz ketchup back home but Tesco ketchup just might have to do while you’re away.
Remember! Since you’re abroad you need to be a bit more flexible because certain countries may not have the food you’re looking for. For example peanut butter, if you love Jiff and Skippy as much as I do you’ll want to bring some with you from home, maybe not 7lbs worth like I did, but you get the picture. Also sometimes when restaurants say they have bacon, they actually mean ham…which was extremely disappointing, so just be ready.
The trip to Budapest was amazing! I did not know what to expect from Budapest because my roommate just told me to go with her so I was up for anything, but it ended up being one of my favorite trips so far of my study abroad experience. The hostel we stayed at gave us an excellent taste of the Budapest night life while Bogi took us to places that I definitely would not have been able to get to on my own or had known about if not for her WSA tour. It was a great weekend and I highly recommend it.Mary Reagan, Saint Louis University ~ St. Louis University, Madrid, Spring 2015
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