Everybody likes free stuff, especially students with small budgets. Here is a list of amazing free things to do for students – especially in the USA. However, this list applies to all students worldwide and is also a great way to save money while studying abroad. Scroll down for all the details!
Especially in the USA, student clubs, societies, or groups are a big deal. But you will also find these at most other universities all around the world. Joining one of these is by far the single best thing you can do! Especially if you are studying abroad it is a must to join one. It is free and also the best way to find new friends.
Ok, to be fair, this one isn’t exactly free and doesn’t apply to all teams and colleges, but hear me out! At the University of Pittsburgh, the cost for a season ticket was only around $25 for all the home games during the semester! This breaks down to less than a coffee for a single game. Check out: ncaa.com for more information on college football.
If you study abroad, you will be staying for at least four months in a completely new city you probably never have been to before. So your best bet is to explore everything your new home has to offer as much as you can for free! Tired of walking? As a student, you should be able to use public transport for free! Just walking around and getting lost is a great way to really feel the vibes and the heartbeat of what you’ll be calling home for the next months. If you prefer more guidance, check out freetour.com.
Throughout the entire semester, many music and theater events are going on around campus. Student bands perform live music, and some theater groups perform plays. At the more prominent universities, something is going on pretty much every week. So it is worth checking out what your university has to offer if you are into all that.
In general, there are two options here: Playing at someone’s place or at some university building on campus. In both cases, you can make a regular event out of it. This gives you three things: First, there is something fun you can look forward to. Second, it structures your day/week. Third, you meet the same group of people regularly and maintain or build up strong friendships. There might even be board game clubs at some universities.
Such events are usually popular within the first 1-2 weeks of the semester (In the USA). People will try to attract your attention with huge “F R E E F O O D !” letters first, and explain what the events are actually about second. Usually, these events or speeches are held to inform you about great opportunities on campus, especially during the semester’s orientation and introduction phase. The university just doesn’t want you to miss these events, which is why free food is offered as a little incentive to actually go and listen.
Sometimes these events also talk about very severe and critical topics, like women’s rights and equality. In Sweden, there is something called “Lunch Lecture”. You could sign up in advance for free, choose your preferred style of the meal offered that day (like a sandwich with meat, no meat, vegan, etc.), and join the lecture during the lunch break.
Similar to the music and theater shows, there are also free cinema and movie events. However, these can be found usually only on campus and not so much around the city. There are inside and open-air versions, and both are a great way to relax and enjoy a movie with a group of friends.
Doing any kind of sports or exercising is always a great idea! You can do it by yourself or with friends both occasionally or regularly on a college sports team. I would recommend committing to at least one sport that you participate in every week. Again, this gives you more structure and something to look forward to, and the opportunity to make friends in a casual atmosphere. There are plenty of sports clubs, and you should definitely make use of these. Sometimes you could even use the gym for free or for a small fee.
Never miss out on the great exhibitions in the museums around you! Some of the best museums in the world offer days or time slots when students can enter free of charge! So simply search for museums in your city or any city you want to visit and check their websites for free admission days for students. I promise you will not be disappointed!
The last two tips are not precisely free again but can save you some serious amounts of cash for food and drinks. And since we all have to eat and drink every day, they might be helpful. Even though the headline is pretty self-explanatory, let me tell you that many restaurants offer food deals on specific days of the week. At some places, you could build your own nice and juicy burger for $5 or less. Other places offer tacos for $1 or margaritas for $2 on selected days. So just do some research, and you will find the perfect restaurant for your taste buds. Maybe you can even find one for every day of the week and pay less than in the university’s cafeteria.
Traveling alone makes it really expensive! This starts with the mode of transportation: If you want to go out into the wild nature and explore some National Parks, your first choice should be a rental car. Renting one alone can be really expensive. But dividing the cost by 4 or 5 people is way better for your wallet and is definitely more fun (and safe!). If more people want to go, it’s also more likely that someone on the group gets discounts for rental cars (like student discounts, milages programs, employer discount deals, and so on). The exact same thing applies to accommodation. You can share the cost and usually stay in more extensive and more superior apartments (Airbnb?) and still pay less in the end. Especially for AirBnB, the cleaning and service fees add up quite a bit to the total bill. You can also purchase group tickets for the national parks or wherever you are going and save even more money.
All in all, traveling in a group is not only cheaper because you split costs. The more people you are, the more brains and ideas come together to save even more money. You also come up with better and more ideas for what to do and where to travel to. If you want to boil it down to one thing, traveling in a group is more fun and definitely something you will look back to years from now.