The US is among the most popular destinations for international students. Thousands of students from various countries in the world aim to get an opportunity to study in educational institutions in America. Courses like medical billing and coding specialist programs and other allied health courses continue to attract foreign students to America.
Education in America is expensive and many students, especially those from developing countries find it challenging to cope with steep costs. Scholarships help bring you closer to your dream. You can access exhaustive lists of scholarships (full and partial) from online resources and see what is best for you.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that scholarships will not cover all your expenses. You will still have costs of books, boarding, food, entertainment, clothes, travel and a million other things to cover, so a scholarship will just do enough to ease your financial burden a wee bit. If you are lucky enough to get a full scholarship there will be far fewer things for you to worry about.
Here are a few tips for you if you are a foreign student and are looking to save some dollars as you enjoy your life in a college abroad.
1) Get Your Banking in Order
Overseas students in the US find it easier to conduct financial transactions when they open a bank account with a local bank or branch. The easiest way to find out is to check with the international student assistance center in your college. Your college may have tie ups with banks which will enable you to open an account without much hassle or paper work.
There are two types of accounts that you can have – checking and savings. Checking account allows you to withdraw and deposit money multiple number of times which is convenient for students staying away from home. This account will require you to maintain monthly balance and you will also have to fork out service fees. Before you decide on your bank, do shop around and pick out the bank that has the most favorable terms.
Another point to keep in mind is that you need to check what the clearing period for checks are. This can vary from a few days to even a week. It may pose a problem if your tuition expense is covered by scholarship fund that sends you money through checks.
A savings account might not be very useful to you because funds are to be held for a longer period in this account. This account allows you to earn interest on your fund and also may offer provision for automatic overdraft protection that allows money to be transferred from the savings account to the checking account.
Make sure that you can make online payments and access other essential features like online banking without any extra fee.
A credit card can make your spend more than necessary and even jack up late fee charges and other penalties, so skip on it until absolutely necessary.
2) Books Are Expensive
Gone are the days when you could shop for your books on budget. If you are studying advanced courses in medicine or tech, then the amount of money spent on books and course material will be very high.
Wait for a few days before you buy your text books for the year. This helps because by now you would have made a couple of friends and found your way about your new ‘home’. Ask around and see if there are seniors who are willing to lend or sell you their old books. You can also hope to find a friend in class with whom you can share books and study material.
You will be able to find textbooks at reasonable prices online at Amazon, AbeBooks and Chegg. They offer huge discounts on both new and used books, and on old editions. Price aggregating sites like campusbooks.com, BIGWORDS and DealOz will help you shop for the best prices.
Another smart option is to buy international editions that in most cases will cost only a fraction of the US editions. Half.ebay.com and textbookrush.com are some sites that sell international editions of college textbooks.
You can also buy e-books that are definitely cheaper, but they do cost you money and there are limitations on making printed copies.
There are many options for college and school students today to limit their spending on textbooks and other resources. Open-source textbooks like those available on openstaxcollege.org are peer-reviewed and approved by teachers. They can be read on any device and you can also get them printed at a very reasonable cost.
Visit the library and try to compile your own study material from various sources. If you are innovative you will be able to save a tidy bit of money while shopping for your college textbooks.
3) Shop Wisely for Groceries
You might still be unfamiliar with the nuances of grocery shopping. But if you do it smart and savvy it can save you quite a lot of money.
Sign up to be a preferred customer at your nearest grocery store and make sure you do not miss out on weekly sales and discounts on offer. Foreign students will require some practice and experience to know how the system works but you will get the hang of it soon. Coupons and online discount codes will make grocery shopping cost effective and affordable.
4) Skip the Cuppa
Most of us require a hot cup of coffee or tea to snap us awake and ready for the day.
But if you have the habit of ducking into the nearest coffee shop every single morning, very soon it will add up to cost you quite a lot of money.
Bring your own coffee maker so that you will not miss out on your morning fix, but can have it at a lesser cost also.
5) Make Maximum Use of Your Student Status
Your student ID card is your passport to saving quite a lot of money. Your ID can bag you discounts in shopping outlets, magazine and library subscriptions, restaurants, museums and a lot of other places.
Major attractions like the Sydney Opera House and Guggenheim Museum in Spain offer special discounted rates to students.
You also must opt for an International Student ID card that will help you save money from the moment you step on foreign shores. You get better rates exchanging money at airports and also get to enjoy discounts on travel, sightseeing and food. In other words, while studying abroad your International Student ID card is your best friend.
There are country-specific cards also like the Student Advantage card in the US and the National Union of Students card in the UK that offers a wide range of benefits to students.
Studying abroad gives a young person some of the most wonderful and memorable experiences of his or her life. If you are prudent, cautious and plan well you can have fun without blowing a hole in your pocket. So make the most of it because this is an opportunity of a lifetime.