Discover Studying Abroad

6 expert tips on managing your finances abroad

BrainGain Magazine brings you expert advice on financing studies abroad.
BY Cherryy Chauhan |   27-03-2018
student loan debt

Finance can prove one of the major impediments to pursuing an international education. It is one of the primary concerns of most students. So, at 2018’s Study Abroad Information session, experts shared top tips on managing your finances as an international student. Andrew G. White, Senior Associate Director of Graduate Business Recruitment, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University and Dr. Bennett McClellan, Lecturer, School of Communication and Design, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, University, Vietnam, participated in a panel moderated by Dr. Zafeena Suresh, Senior EducationUSA Adviser, United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF).

What did they have to say? Find out by reading below.

  1. Loans are not gifts so do your research
    Most American college students depend on loans. It’s evidently a common route for young students to fund their higher education. Commenting on the situation, Dr Bennett said, “You need to do the research. You need to find the loans that work. You need to find institutions that will back you. You need to understand what the criteria are. Loans are not gifts, they are absolutely not gifts. The expectation of any institution making a loan is that you will pay it back with interest.”

    Adding to Dr Bennett’s suggestion, Mr. White also advised, “Do your research. Understands what you're getting into. A loan, in my opinion, is not something to be embarrassed about. It's not something to lose face over but it should not be your first resort. If you can avoid it, avoid it.”
  2. Commit to repayment
    Mr. White shared an important personal insight about the difficulties of pursuing higher education. He stressed the importance of committing to repaying education loans by saying, “Education is not free. You're going to have to work for it. I graduated college with $3,500 in debt. I took a job after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I committed that I was going to pay the 50 bucks a month because I knew that I didn't want to have it hanging over my head. So I want you to understand that debt is only dangerous if you don't commit to paying it back.”
  3. Work towards financial independence
    Dr Bennett shared his experience of funding his own education and counselled everyone to take charge of their finances. He said, “You can borrow, or you can work on your request to a university to give you a scholarship. If you go someplace, you have to work for it and pay your own tuition. I have an undergraduate degree, three masters, and a Ph.D... I paid for every one of that myself. Parents did not do anything and I didn't get scholarships.”
  4. Learn how to manage your funds
    Another important advice from Mr. White was that students must develop a basic understanding of how to manage personal funds while studying abroad. “You should go to anybody you know who is an accountant or a banker, who manages the family funds or similar, and ask them to show you how to balance a book and create a budget. You will thank them because you will realize later on, that it pays off when you know how to manage your money.”
  5. Focus on academics, abide by the rules
    Dr. Zafeena Suresh highlighted the importance of abiding by the country’s legal norms about working on student visas. The university and the host country are keen to know that you are there to study, first and foremost.

    “There are rules that you need to follow.  The UK, or the U.S., or many other countries allow you to work for a couple of hours on student visas. And under no circumstances can you violate those norms. You need to be mindful about your regulation. Violation . . . could have very serious repercussions, so you need to be responsible for your actions, because you are on alien soil, and you are there for a particular purpose and that is to pursue a particular degree.”
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    Mr. White also emphasised the importance of asking for help when you’re at your wits’ end - “Don't be too proud to ask for help. And don’t ask for a dime when you need a dollar. Be aware of how much it costs to get where you want to go. And don't be afraid to ask for it. But at the same time don't be afraid to work for it.”
Want more tips on finances? We have them!
6 things to keep in mind before taking a study loan
Braingain Magazine Student Session: Financing Your Education Abroad
How to get a scholarship to study abroad
5 great MBA scholarships for international students in Canada


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