So you’ve enjoyed the excitement and celebrations for being accepted into an institution overseas to study, now,down to the logistics. What do you need to have in place to ensure that the transition to student life overseas goes as smooth as possible whilst also making sure that you’re being money smart? Here are BER’s top 6…
Make sure you have a passport that is valid, ideally, for the duration of your studies overseas so that you can avoid having to renew from a foreign country and paying any overseas surcharges. Depending on the time of year, passports can take weeks to process so if you don’t have one, best get your application in as soon as you have your place confirmed.
A visa may also be required for your study overseas and this will depend on which country you are heading to. Check your study destination’s embassy website in your home country for guidance on Student Visas.
Book your ticket as soon as you know your dates. Try to time your flights for quieter days and times as this usually presents cheaper fare availability. It’s quite simple to do this, you can use a price comparison site like kayak.com.au, or skyscanner.net and set it so that you can see all the available fares in the month you want to travel. For long-haul flights it may be worth investing in a call to a specialist travel agent who knows how to make the best of special offers.
At the time of writing, the Australian Government is investing over $300 million each year in international scholarships which, at any time, support around 5000 international students, researchers and professionals to study in Australia. You can find quite a comprehensive list of scholarship information at www.australiaawards.gov.au/.
There is also an abundance of scholarships funded by many private businesses with an interest in providing support, usually in the form of financial assistance towards the tuition fees and living expenses, or internships with the business, for promising individuals. (If you think you have the right smarts, you can try your hand at the BER Scholarship for 2018/19 which we will be launching soon. Stay in the loop and Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.)
Open a bank account in the destination country before you arrive wherever possible. In Australia, many banks allow accounts to be opened online ahead of when you step foot into the country e.g. CBA’s Everyday Account with Student Options. Doing this enables you to make your international money transfer ahead of your arrival and also enable you to access local currency once you’ve verified your identity in a branch. Doing this also gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with the chosen financial institution and do some armchair navigating to branches close to your study base.
Once you have set up a local bank account, you’re ready to transfer some funds across. Having your financials sorted before you arrive is a fantastic way to help you settle in quicker and more cheaply as using an ATM to withdraw from your home bank account may cost you dearly in fees and, typically, sub-optimal exchange rates.
By using a foreign exchange comparison website like BER, you can minimise on foreign exchange costs and fees. Our calculator will help you to determine which provider is offering the lowest fee and most favourable exchange rate. Once you’ve made your decision, get in touch with the selected provider and they will guide you through the process. By setting up a regular overseas payment with one of our partner FX providers, you can further optimise on the benefits by saving time on having to make regular transactions every semester.
For paying your tuition fees, you may require a specific amount for each payment and benefit from a fixed foreign currency amount regular payment that removes the exchange rate risk.
If you need to visit a doctor or stay in hospital while you are overseas you could find yourself responsible for the full cost of any treatment, which can be very expensive. Students in Australia who hold a temporary student visa may be required, as a visa condition, to take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Check on your destination government’s website.