Since the pound is doing better than the United States Dollar and the exchange rate was nearly double while I was abroad, budgeting was an important factor in my study abroad experience. Before you embark on a journey to Exeter, it is important that you check exchange rates, your banking costs for taking out money, and your credit card policies on foreign purchases. For example, one of my credit cards does not charge anything extra for purchasing something overseas however my other credit card charges 14 cents for every purchase made and though it doesn’t seem like a lot, this small fee adds up after twenty purchases.
In Exeter specifically, there are many ways to save money. During welcome week, you receive a myriad of coupon books from a chain of restaurants called Wetherspoons. This includes the Imperial and Cavalier Inn located in the City Centre. Make use of the steak and curry night savings. During my semester abroad, steak night was Tuesday and curry night was Thursday. For instance, Tuesday’s meal consisting of steak, baked potato—which the British call a jacket potato—and salad with a drink was 4 pounds! I was there every Tuesday and Thursday diligently! These outings are great times to bond with your new friends and flatmates. Pertaining to food, you can also save money by purchasing certain food items with your flatmates and splitting the costs. Since you are in a self catered dorm, you will probably be cooking at some point during your stay. My flatmates and I purchased items like toilet paper, sugar, seasonings, tea and cooking oil. Most of these items lasted us until the end of the semester and between the twelve of us we only paid about 4 pounds. Poundland which is equivalent to the Dollar Store in America has great savings on toiletries, school supplies, food and other small items. This can be a nice alternative to the grocery store for food or a quick stop for a small personal item.
In order to save some time, Iceland and Tesco grocery stores deliver for free to the dorms. This is nice because then you do not have to walk 15 minutes uphill back to campus. I know what you are thinking “15 minutes isn’t that bad!” It is when you are drenched in sweat and rain dragging your heavy knapsack of groceries. Let’s just say, I wish I knew about grocery delivery earlier.
English university nightlife is a bit different than the United States because every day in Exeter seemed like Halloween.
Themed parties are a big deal and almost every night, students are dressed up like cavemen, smurfs, babies, animals, etc… Now if you want to be an adamant participant in this cultural piece of study abroad and not go broke in the first two weeks, you want to buy clothes from Primark. This is the best store for inexpensive clothing options. Thrift stores are abundant in Exeter also so that is also a great option for clothes.
On campus, students can watch recent movies for 1.50 pounds every Wednesday and Sunday. However, you have to arrive early or it will be sold out. The INTO group offers trips to Cardiff, Eden, and Bath for cheap and I took advantage of two of them. If you want to visit other parts of England, take advantage of group discounts for the train. There are ways to save money, you just have to plan in advance.