Pre-Arrival Considerations for International Students

Before setting out for a new country, there are several financial matters that international students will have to settle. From planning a budget to applying for a visa to buying a plane ticket, there's a lot to get done before embarking on your journey.

Arranging your Finances

The very first thing you'll have to do in order to have a budget during your time as an international student is save. Save up as much money as you can. Remember that you won't have much of an income during your studies, so you'll want to save a decent percentage of everything you earn.

If you don't think you'll be able to afford your studies just on what you've saved, you'll also want to research scholarships. There are many programs out there that offer scholarships for international students; find out which of them you are eligible for, and apply for as many as possible.

Planning a Budget

Before you set out, you'll want to sit down and plan out a budget. Make a list of both your income and expenses. Divide your expenses into fixed costs (tuition, rent, utilities, etc.), infrequent expenses (books and course materials), and regular expenses (food and entertainment). Add up your total income and subtract your total expenses. If your expenses exceed your income, look for ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. You'll also want to remember to convert your total budget into the local currency of the country in which you'll be studying.

Passport

You're going to need a valid passport in order to travel and study abroad. It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to get a passport, so be sure to apply with plenty of time. If it is your first passport, you'll need your birth certificate, two recent passport-sized photos, certified identification, your passport application, and payment when you apply. If you are renewing your passport, you can use your old passport instead of your birth certificate.

Visa

In addition to a passport, you are going to need a visa in order to study in another country. You'll need to research the visa requirements of your destination country, as every country has differing visa requirements. You will need to pay a fee in order to apply for a visa. Like passports, visa applications can take a while to process, so make sure to apply as early as possible.

Insurance

It's always important to have reliable student insurance plan, but it is particularly important while abroad. You'll also want to have coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation. First check with your current provider to see if your insurance will cover you while you are abroad. If it does not, you'll want to purchase a new insurance plan for your travels.

Immunizations

Before departing, check your host country's immunization requirements, and make sure you are up to date on your immunizations. You'll also want to schedule a complete physical before you leave.

Airfare

Prices of plan tickets can vary greatly depending on where you want to fly and from where you are buying your ticket. Scour the web for the cheapest deals, and buy your tickets as early as possible in order to get the best deal. You will probably not want to arrive in your host country more than a few days before your classes begin. Although arriving early may give you more time to settle in, it can cause problems in immigration.

Be Prepared

Know how you will access your money when you are abroad. You may want to set up a bank account in your host country; if not, notify your back and credit card company about your travel plans, otherwise you may find yourself stranded with an unusable credit card. For the first few days, you may want to carry between $100 and $200 in the currency of your host country.

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