As an international student, there are several financial matters that you need to keep in mind. You are unlikely to have much income during your time as an international student, so budgeting and keeping track of your finances is extremely important.
The very first thing you’ll have to do after your arrival - if not before -is settle your housing arrangements. You have a wide variety of accommodation possibilities available to you, and the cost will vary depending on what you choose. You might be living on-campus, in which case your housing will already be arranged. If you do not have a kitchen and are on a meal plan, you won’t have to worry about buying kitchenware or a large amount of food. Some universities, however, do not offer on-campus housing to international students, in which case you will have to find off-campus accommodations. You can cut down on this cost by finding roommates or housemates with whom to live. If possible, you will want to visit potential houses or apartments before committing to one.
Before you leave, make sure you know how you will be getting from place to place - whether someone is picking you up from the airport or you are taking the subway or a cab. This might be another post-arrival cost you have to plan for.
Rather than trying to jam all your worldly possessions into a suitcase, you might want to consider packing light and buying things you’ll need after your arrival. These essentials can be divided into several categories:
A quick Google search will yield hundreds of more detailed shopping lists, but you can use this to get you started. Some of what you’ll need will depend on the specifics of your situation including both your accommodations and where you will be living.
If you are studying internationally for an extended period of time, you might want to consider opening a bank account in your host country. Compare the student services of several different banks before choosing the best bank for you. You’ll also want to choose a bank with a branch on or close to your school. Compare and research the different types of accounts that banks before settling on one. Ask banks about accounts just for international students, if there is a minimum balance required on your account, and how long it takes to “clear” a check (how long after you deposit a check before you can withdraw money your money). For more information, check out more information on opening up a bank account in the US.
As an international student, you may be able to work part-time during your studies. This is a good way to supplement your funds, but it is unlikely to produce much income. For this reason, you’ll want to find ways to save money as often as possible. Some of these money-saving techniques include:
Use this comparison tool to find the right international student loan, study abroad loan, or foreign-enrolled loan for you.