6 smart and proven ways to budget your food bills when interning abroad

Food will probably be one of the biggest challenges you will face while interning abroad – especially if you happen to be a vegetarian. Though the world’s more global now, and it is much easier to find Indian food abroad, it can take some time to adjust and figure your way around. So, to ensure that you don’t burn a hole in your pocket in the process getting your food sorted, here are five smart tips to follow:

Learn to cook:Eating out abroad is expensive, so it’s better to learn how to cook. You can always check up Youtube videos, scour for recipes online, or simply call up your family back home for help.The basic food such as rice, dal, sambar, kichdi, curd rice, etc, are quite easy to make, nutritious and filling. You can also carry some ready-to-eat packages for the first couple of days till you set up. They however, are not the tastiest or healthiest option, so it’s always wise to start cooking sooner rather than later. There are also quite a few apps that you can download, which have some great, easy-to-make recipes. If you don’t have time to cook on a daily basis, you can always make curry in bulk, store it in containers, freeze it, and use it in batches.

Get your basic cooking utensils:Though some countries may not allow you to carry it, if they do, a pressure cooker or electric rice cooker is of great help. Also, invest in some non-stick cookware, tea strainers (if you are the kind who swear by their tea), rolling pins and an electric stove.

Stock up on spices: While you really won’t want to add on to the baggage kilos, you can bring small quantities of essentials such as spices, powders and pulses. However, do ensure that you seal them in their original packing so that you don’t face trouble at the Customs. It’s also advisable to find out what you are allowed to bring into a country before you start your journey.

Find your local Indian store: Most foreign countries have Indian stores from where you can buy your basic provisions, if you are not able to carry much from home. You would also be able to find a number of products online, which may work out to be cheaper.

Buy frozen pre-cut vegetables: A lot of time gets spent just chopping up vegetables. So, opt for frozen vegetables such as peas, beans, carrots and cauliflower, instead. You can just buy a pack, thaw the vegies and stir-fry them. Cook some rice and dhal, and you have a wholesome, healthy meal ready.

Learn to cook the local cuisine: If you are friends with the locals, you can always learn how to cook their dishes, and teach them some of yours. It’s a great multi-cultural experience, plus you don’t have to eat out to try the local cuisine then. My landlady showed me how to cook English dishes like puddings, pies and steak and eggs. In return, she was interested in the Indian curries I would cook.

Finally, if you do feel too lazy to cook at home, figure out the cost effective options around you. A number of cities abroad also have Indian restaurants that you can try out.

About the author:

Aniket Singh works for Apple Inc. in California, United States. He is also the author of “Intern Abroad This Summer”.

Aniket holds a BTech degree in Electrical Engineering from the IIT, Madras, Chennai, and a Master’s degree in Wireless Systems from Politecnico Di Torino in Torino, Italy. He has interned at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland during this studies.

Visit him at www.aniketsingh.com

Check out his book at www.internabroadthissummer.com

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