Studying abroad has become a rite of passage for many Australian students looking to create new social, cultural and educational experiences. From personal development and growth, to the cultivation of new global networks of friends, the benefits of gaining international experience through study cannot be underestimated.
But making the leap to study overseas is not without its drawbacks, notably the costs. From tuition fees and accommodation, to travel money and insurance, it is important to understand all the expenditures ahead of time.
At FlashFX, we want to bring peace of mind to both students and parents by offering fair and transparent international money transfers, with exchange rates that are much better than the banks. To help you save when embarking on a semester overseas we put together this list of key considerations to help guide you.
So how much does studying overseas cost? Well, it’s not exactly straightforward. Depending on the school or the comprehensiveness of the programme, there are a wide range of factors that can have varying effects on cost. For example, some US colleges don’t guarantee housing for students, meaning that you’ll need to factor in rent payments into your total cost calculations. Most schools charge separately for books and other class materials, which can tack-on a couple extra hundred dollars per semester. Then there’s questions around transportation to campus – will you need a car or is there ample public transit available to get to class? And don’t forget about insurance. You’ll need to make sure you’re covered in the event of a medical emergency. Here’s what to consider when budgeting for overseas study:
• Room & Board – is it included in tuition?
• Books and class materials
• Travel money
• Student Visa fees
• Insurance coverage for international students
• Transportation costs to/from campus
• Everyday expenditures – food, social, etc
Fortunately, there are some great resources out there to ensure that you have an awesome time whilst sticking to your study abroad budget. From advice on how to use money, avoiding scams, and choosing the most budget-friendly phone plan the eBook "Half the Luggage, Double the Money" abounds with practical info to help make sure you don't return home broke.
Some other easy money-saving tricks include:
Get a Job: Why not beef up your CV whilst earning some extra cash? If you have the time, getting a part-time job in a foreign country is a great way to pad your pocket whilst mixing with the locals or practicing the language.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts. Carry your student ID everywhere to earn discounts at everything from theatre tickets to museum entry. Be sure to look for student discounts even when they aren't readily advertised. Some airlines offer student discounts, and local restaurants sometimes advertise student nights online where you can eat and drink for less!
Plan ahead. When it comes to travelling around your new host country or the neighbouring region be sure to book planes, trains and hotels/hostels well in advance. If you know you are travelling over a holiday weekend that will require even more organisation, so you don't pay peak-travel prices. Packing light will help you save on baggage costs as many overseas carriers charge for checked luggage.
Paying Tuition at an Overseas University
It is often the case that international universities require payments to be made to different offices or departments for different services. For example, some schools use outside contractors for meal plans or housing, which means that final payment needs to be split out between multiple parties. It’s critical, therefore, that you gather the relevant payment details for each of the vendors owed so there are no mistakes.
When it comes to making international payments for university fees you are typically only presented with one payment option – a credit card. But before you hand over your card details, ask whether the university or the vendor accepts direct payments to their bank account. If so, you could save thousands of dollars on foreign transaction fees and exchange rate charges. Then use FlashFX to convert your tuition payments into the required foreign currency and send the money straight to the school or contractor.
For ongoing costs like tuition fees, it is important to make sure that you manage currency fluctuations, so you maximise the money you send. Signing up to FlashFX’s rate alert emails is one way to take advantage of positive movements in the exchange rate. Simply enter your desired exchange rate and we will email you when that level has been reached!
Studying abroad is an experience that can incite both excitement and trepidation. At FlashFX, it is important that both students and parents make the most of this time. That means not overpaying when settling foreign tuition fees or making regular overseas payments.
Sign up today or check out our website to learn more about how FlashFX can help your study abroad budget go further.