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How an international student ID card can help you save money

Here are some tips to help you save money and maximize the amount of things you are able to do while studying abroad

Diya Paul

When you are making calls to your family back home, ensure that you are not overpaying for the calls. Get calling cards that offer value for money, use free services like Skype to talk to your family.

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Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience and an opportunity you should take full advantage of.  It gives you the opportunity to enhance traditional academic experiences and career marketability while increasing cultural awareness and tolerance.

During your international study tenure, you will want to immerse yourself in the country's food, history and sights, and this could easily turn expensive before you know it. Here are some tips to help you save money and maximize the amount of things you are able to do while studying abroad –

  • Avail scholarships, grants and fellowships.

Scholarships and grants are called ‘free money’ because these funds do not need to be paid back, making them the most attractive method of funding your study abroad. Scholarship deadlines often fall between October and March - the search for scholarships, therefore, should begin at least a year before the money is necessary.  Graduate students may be eligible for a fellowship or assistantship.

You can read more student finance related articles here. 

  • Get an International Student ID card.

As a student, the very first thing to do is to get an International Student ID Card, which is accepted in 120 countries and costs only $22. You can save money on everything from travel expenditure and sightseeing to eating out at restaurants and shopping. Without this card, you will have to pay a commission fee when exchanging currency.

  • Work on campus.

In countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand, you have the option of working on campus in the enrolled university or college. These jobs are usually part-time with flexible hours and will give you a little extra spending money, enabling you to simultaneously study and work abroad. Different countries will have different rules and regulations regarding how many hours someone can work with a student visa. Contact the educational institution to be aware of the legal parameters involved.

  • Set a weekly budget.

Even before you arrive, be aware of the particular country’s currency exchange rates. Will your money be worth more or less when converted into local money? Research their cost of living as well so that you will be able to estimate how much money you will be spending each week. Prepare a weekly budget plan and stick to it.

  • Become friends with locals.

When you make friends with people in the area, they will be happy to tell you about the best places to eat and shop. They will know when certain places have deals, and where to get the best value for your money. The plus point is that in addition to the helpful financial information, making friends with the locals will enrich your experience and you will cherish these friendships for the rest of your life.

  • Call home @ cheap rates or for free!

When making calls to your family and friends back home, make sure that you are not paying high call charges. Buy calling cards with the best rate possible. Also, find out what the local phone company offers - sometimes you can pay a low monthly rate. If you are not having any luck finding good calling cards or phone plans, consider installing Skype onto your computer. Skype offers low rates on international calls and if the person you are contacting also has Skype, then it is free.

  • Reduce transportation costs.

One of the easiest ways of saving money while studying abroad is to walk to the desired destination, provided your campus is in the city.  Public transportation is usually a very cost-effective and efficient way to get around.  If you plan on using public transport, investing in a monthly bus or train pass makes more economical sense, rather than paying a daily fee.


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