Finance Tips for Students Studying Abroad

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Finance Tips for Students Studying Abroad

If you have decided to get education in a country other than your own, one of the most critical aspects to consider is the costs involved. Studying abroad is an option that many promising students do not even think about solely because they believe it is prohibitively expensive. It is not just the cost of tuition but the associated expenses too that make this such a financially difficult decision to make. Here are a few tips that you can use, well before you leave, to address concerns about student life finances:

Making sure that you can still use your Credit/ Debit Cards

One of the most critical things to do before you set off for your studies abroad is to ensure that your credit/ debits cards can be used there. These are the payment options that will tide you over when you have a financial emergency. This is exactly why it is so imperative to verify well in advance that they can be used in the foreign country whenever you need cash.

Check with your bank (in case of debit cards) or credit card issuer if the card can be used abroad and if there are any formalities to undergo in this regard. Talk to the right bank/ Credit Card Company officials and keep them informed about the country where you will need to use the card. Remember that the card needs to be in your name to avoid confusion in a foreign country where you will be using it. If you do not have a card yet, check if you can apply for one linked to your parents’ card. Your parents will have to make an application and request for such add- on card.

Foreign Currency

Irrespective of whether or not you have a debit card/ credit card that is enabled for use in your destination country, you should carry sufficient cash in the form of foreign currency to pay for essential expenses. Many establishments may not accept your debit/ credit card and going without essentials until you get money wired to you or convert your currency is not a viable or practical option.

To give you an example, many small restaurants, eateries may only accept cash. Unless you are willing to burn a huge hole in your wallet by eating only at bigger hotels where your cards are accepted, you should be prepared beforehand with some cash.

Prepaid Cards and Traveler’s Checks

Carry traveler’s checks in various denominations and you are prepared to meet expenses both big and small without having to carry huge sums of cash with you. If the traveler’s checks are stolen or you misplace them, you can limit your loss unlike if it is your cash that is missing. Make sure to keep the check receipts in a safe place since these are required to replace lost checks.

Prepaid cards are another excellent and safe way to ensure that you are financially prepared when you arrive at the country where you will be studying. The advantage with these is that you can purchase them well in advance, use them at merchant establishments as well as withdraw cash through ATMs with them.

About the author: 

Penny is a finance expert with years of experience in foreign exchange. She has written finance articles about real estate, compare exchange rates, and insurance. 

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