money

How to Prepare to Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the best times in a student’s life. It gives you an opportunity to explore new places, try new foods, and experience new cultures. Many people see study abroad courses as trans-formative experiences that change the way that you view the world. However, there is much to think about and plan before getting up and moving to a different country for a semester, a year, or any extended time. Here are four important things to do and figure out before going abroad.

Prepare Proper Identification

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When traveling to another country you will likely need a passport. If you do not already have one, obtaining one can be a semi long process. It is important to think ahead and get your passport sorted out before it is too late. It is important while overseas to keep your passport and identification stored in a safe place. Losing your ID or passport can create massive problems while abroad.

Sort Out Your Money

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You will likely need a different currency when traveling abroad. It is necessary to either change your currency to the local one, or to find a credit or debit card that works overseas and has minimal charges that you can use. Airports tend to be an expensive place to exchange currency so seek out alternative places such as some banks.

Phone Plans

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Figuring out a phone plan is important for study abroad programs, as using a domestic phone overseas can really run up your telephone bill. Different carriers have different options and it is important to look through each one and figure out which one is the most cost efficient and works the best for you.

Safety Protocol

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It is important to be safe overseas as you will be in a place that is unfamiliar to you and will likely not have as much family and friends nearby to lean on if you need help. It is important to create a safety plan to ensure that you will be safe and able to enjoy your study abroad to the fullest!

Comment below with your study abroad tips and experiences!

Making Smart Money Decisions

It’s a well known fact that college students aren’t usually the most financially stable people around. Tuition is expensive and time is short for working full time. Put those two together and you’ve got a recipe for a ramen noodle budget. There are some things you can do to make sure you’re making the best financial decisions for yourself no matter how strapped for cash you may be.

1. Document expenses
Keep track of everything you spend money on, no matter how small the cost may seem. For example, if you spend $3 on coffee every week day, that adds up to $780 per year. Make sure you account for even the smallest expenses or you could come up short in your budget. Which brings me to my next point:

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2. Make a budget
And stick to it. That second part is the hardest but also the most important. Making a plan for your spending and accounting for every dollar is the best way to stay on top of your financing.

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3. Use loans and credit sparingly
Borrow the very minimum amount that you’ll need for school even though you may be offered a higher amount. Talk to your financial aid advisor when you receive your award letter to ask for a smaller amount. Only borrow what you need. Similarly, only use credit cards when you are sure you can pay off the balance at the end of the month. No one wants to graduate with a load of debt.