Get the Best Exchange Rate

December 29th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

money458058315Exchange rates can mean the difference of losing or making a few dollars with each transaction. When it comes to credit cards, cash, debit cards, wire transfers, and ATM fees, you should expect to pay more for the service of converting one currency to another. Be sure to understand how each of these methods work so that you have the lowest fee and the best exchange rate.

Know The Conversion Rate

With so many methods of payment, it’s important to contact your bank and credit card company to understand exactly how the charges work. Remember, exchange rates vary by the second, but that doesn’t mean that you will get that exact rate. You’ll want to ask:

  • What exchange rate do you use?
  • Where can I find this exchange rate?

Since the rates fluctuate so often, and in some cases dramatically, you’ll want to check the exchange rate regularly to know what rate you’ll get and when you should make large purchases.

Check For Any Fees

Credit Cards
Many credit cards charge an international transaction fee added on to each purchase. The good news is that there are some cards that waive this fee altogether. If you plan to go abroad for a lengthy period of time, consider looking into one of these credit cards and this can certainly save you money in the long-run.

Debit Cards
Not all banks are available worldwide and you may be charged a fee by your bank as well as the bank you use to withdraw money. Take some time to investigate the presence of your bank in your host country – do they have ATM’s in your destination country? If not, do they have a partnership with another bank in your destination country? Either way, it’s important to ask how your debit card will work overseas and what the fees are.

Exchanging Cash
Exchanging money is another way that you can get local currency, but try to avoid doing this at the airport, train stations, or over touristed areas since it is typically more expensive. Remember that the rates given by a bank or currency kiosk can vary, and thus you’ll need to evaluate your options. They all will include a fee to convert one currency into another. The best place is typically at a bank, although in some cases you can find favorable rates in hotels.

Overall, credit cards and debit cards are typically the best way to get local currency (that is, if ATM’s are available in your host country) and to make large purchases. Be sure to ask about security on your credit/debit card, however, to make sure you understand the policies in case your cards get lost or stolen.

Want to learn more about exchange rates? See how to make exchange rates work for you.


Search International Scholarships for Free Money

December 3rd, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

blackboardwithpiggybank159415722December is here! And before you head off for winter break, it’s important to also think about your finances. Set a few hours each day searching for awards and applying so that you’ll be in good shape in time for the new semester. Our Scholarship Search makes it easy to do, here’s how:

  1. Register
    Create an account to allow you to search, save and apply for the awards of your choice. Totally free, all you need to do is register here.

  2. Search awards
    Once you have registered, now you can search awards based on the name of the award, what you are studying, where you are studying, or where you are from. You will be able to narrow down the awards to those your are eligible for.

  3. Apply
    You will be able to get the information you need to apply for the scholarship. Fill out the appropriate forms and submit the information directly to the organization of your choice.

Not ready to apply? You can also bookmark the awards that you are interested in, and come back later to apply. Yes, it really is that simple!

Scholarships, grants, and fellowships are the perfect award as it is money given to you that is not required to pay back. Depending on the award, you may need to show that you need the money, or it may be based on merit.

If you still need additional help funding your education overseas, then an international student loan can cover the gap. Unlike scholarships, grants, and fellowships, loans require that you pay back the money with interest. Our Comparison Tool will allow you to select your school and citizenship, and find the available loans that will work for you.

Want more information on scholarships? Check out our scholarship blog posts.


Attention International Students! Improve Your Scholarship Chances

November 22nd, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

164170012For international students studying in the United States, the most difficult part of the process is funding. Tuition in the US can be extremely costly, particularly for international students, and many students let this fact discourage them from pursuing a US education. Don’t be one of these students! There are several ways to finance a US education. One of the best ways is through scholarships.

Scholarships grant students the money needed to finance their educations, and are provided by businesses, organizations, or schools to students for academic or other achievements.

When applying for a scholarship, you will generally be required to fill out an application detailing your personal and academic information, as well as write an essay on a particular subject.

We’ve collected a short list of tips to help you complete the best application so that you can improve your scholarship chances.

1. Actually Apply.

It seems too obvious to even mention, but many international students don’t apply for scholarships because they don’t want to spend the time the process requires, they don’t know there are scholarships available to them, or because they don’t think they have a chance. Don’t make this mistake!

2. Be a Leader.

Many scholarship foundations are seeking individuals with strong leadership abilities. International students may not be used to the American emphasis on leadership, and will need to seek out ways to develop and demonstrate leadership skills. Look for opportunities to volunteer for a leadership position in organizations or clubs on your campus. Many US schools offer campus workshops, leadership programs, and activities that help students develop their skills as a leader.

3. Brush Up On Your Writing Skills.

The scholarship essay is the most important aspect of your application; it allows you the opportunity to give the organization an idea of who you really are. Writing styles tend to differ from country to country, so international students should know that US committees will expect objective, structured essays that get straight to the point. Stick to the topic at hand, double check your grammar, and edit thoroughly. It may be a good idea to have your American friends proofread your essay; they may be able to point out aspects you have missed.

>> Start searching for scholarships now


Primary Sources of Funding in 2013

November 13th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

iie-logoThis week is a very important week in International Higher Education as it is International Education Week – and thus the week in which the Open Doors Report 2013 is released. In this report are facts and figures that show trends and changes with international students.

As we continue to sift through the data, we were of course especially interested to see what are the Primary Sources of Funding in 2013. As it comes to many as no surprised, the overwhelming majority of international students (63%) reported that their financial support was primarily covered by their own savings or with the help of their family. As a distant second, 20.7% of students said that US colleges and universities were their primary financial support.

In reviewing this data compared to last year, however, the majority of the increase in funding is coming from the U.S. and Foreign Governments. For those of you who have their finger on the pulse of international higher education, it comes as no surprise.

Saudi Arabia had a 30 percent increase in the number of international students in the US compared to last year. This brought the grand total of Saudi students to 45,000 in the US during the 2012-2013 academic term. The bulk of these students are finding their financial support through the Saudi government scholarship program which has given many students the opportunity to get their degree in the US.

Also seeing a spike in international students to the US is Kuwait, who has a governmental scholarship program that helped contributed to the 37 percent spike of Kuwaiti students in the US. This makes the grand total of Kuwaiti students at 5,100 – boosting them up to the top 25 sending countries.

That’s not all, Brazil also saw a 20 percent increase compared to last year, where the majority of the 10,900 Brazilian students are being supported on the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program that has also given students the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate degree in the USA.

Interested in seeing the data? Check out the Open Doors Report and let us know your thoughts.


Networking Tips for International Students

November 11th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

jobsearch124114057Dan Beaudry is the former head of campus recruiting at Monster.com and former associate director of corporate recruiting at the Boston University School of Management. On October 10, Beaudry presented “How International Students Can Find Employment in the US” to students at Drexel University, and shared his knowledge of the job search system which he has used to help international students.

Drawing on his own experience, Beaudry shared innovative networking ideas that are valuable for both international and American students. For many international students, the word “networking” is an intimidating term that begins following them the moment they set foot on campus, evoking images of overwhelming career fairs at which they find themselves jockeying with dozens of other students for the recruiters’ attention.

This association can prove especially daunting for international students. After all, how are international students supposed to compete with their American peers when they are often conversing in their second or third language? According to Beaudry, you may not have to.

Read the rest of this entry »


Now Open: The InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest

September 10th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

videocontestInternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest
Deadline: October 23

InternationalStudent.com has launched their 8th Annual Travel Video Contest! Like in past years- the contest is open to students who would like to study outside their home country, as well as to students who are already studying abroad and would like to take a trip.

Eligible individuals can enter their short video into the contest from September 3rd through October 23rd. The finalists will be announced the week of October 28th and the winners will be announced the last day of International Education Week: November 15th.

One grand prize winner will receive $4,000 toward their travels abroad along with their very own blog to document the trip on InternationalStudent.com! Keep in mind that judges want to hear about more than where you want to go and why you need the financial help to get there. To be the 8th InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest winner you will need to tell your story in such a creative and original way that it’ll make the judges want to watch your video on repeat! Just keep in mind that your video must be less than 5 minutes and you must be over the age of 18. Read the rest of this entry »


Most Expensive Countries for International Students: United States

September 7th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

Study USA _ Female 142392157According to a recent study by HSBC Group, the United States is now the second most expensive country in the world for international students. The combined average cost of university fees and living expenses for international students in the US is over $35,000, and international students at Ivy League schools can expect to pay far more, with total costs running over $58,000.

In spite of the high cost, more and more international students are studying in the United States every year. According to the “2012 Open Doors Report” released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in the 2011-2012 school year, international student enrollment at both colleges and graduate schools in the US increased. 764,321 international students in total were enrolled at a US institution, a 5.7% increase over 2010-2011.

A US education is likely an expensive endeavor for international students from any country. International students are not eligible for federal financial aid, scholarships are often limited, and some colleges charge additional international student fees on top of tuition. For these reasons, the majority of international student rely primarily on their own funds to study in the US. In 2011-2012, 486,524 international undergraduate and graduate students used personal or family funds as their primary monetary source—a 6.1% increase over those who did so in 2010-2011. Read the rest of this entry »


Funding Your Education in the US

August 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

As an international student in the US, chances are you have to worry more about funding your education in the US than your domestic peers do. Because international students do not qualify for federal loans and often have to pay out of state tuition at state colleges, they generally end up paying more for their education than US students.

This infographic seeks to help international students explore their options when it comes to funding their education in the US. Renata and Cristian are both international students, one at a private university, the other at a community college. Like 63% of international students, each primarily rely on personal and family support to pay for their education. However, when something comes up, they both have to find different ways to support themselves.

We hope that this infographic will prove helpful to you as you learn about your different funding options. With the right combination of financial aid, we are certain that you will be able to afford your US education.

Click the infographic above to zoom in.

Interested in applying for international student loans? Find your loans now.


5 Things International Students Should Do Upon Arrival in the US

August 9th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

college_avenue_100269512When you arrive in the US for the first time, you may feel that you have a million things to get done right away. While starting school is exciting, it can also be extremely overwhelming. To help you combat this feeling, here are 5 things international students should do upon arrival in the US to keep busy and relatively stress-free:

Exchange Your Currency

First things first, get some money changed. Ideally you should do this before you begin your trip to the US. Because it will likely take days or even a week to set up a US bank account, and your credit and debit cards will likely charge extra fees if you use them overseas, one of the first things you should do is make sure you have a couple hundred dollars in cash on you.

You can exchange your money at one of the airport bureaus. This way you will be ready if you need to take a bus, train, or taxi to get to your campus (although most forms of transportation in the US accept credit cards or debit cards).

Call Home

This serves a double purpose: calling home lets your friends and family know you’ve arrived safe and sound, and also helps with any homesickness you might be experiencing. Being in an unfamiliar country on your own and for the first time can be extremely intimidating. Calling home and hearing familiar voices can be a good way to help you feel less alone.

Explore Your New Home

Once you make it home, you’ll likely be faced with the overwhelming task of unpacking. Before you undertake this, try going out for a walk. You will probably be cramped from your long journey, and taking a walk is a great way to stretch your body while getting to know your new surroundings.

Don’t Give In to Jetlag

One of the first things you will want to do when you arrive in the US is sleep—don’t! The longer you can keep yourself awake that first night, the quicker you will fall back into a regular sleeping pattern. Additionally, make sure you eat your meals at the proper time, and keep busy throughout the evening. This will help ensure that you don’t lie awake all night.

Meet New People

The first person you meet upon your arrival will probably be your roommate. You should also take it upon yourself to go out and introduce yourself to a neighbor or housemate. When you’re unpacking or relaxing in your dorm room, keep your door open. That way, anyone who passes by can introduce themselves. Having new friends even before you start orientation is the best way to make you feel at home right away.


Hobsons’ Virtual Student Fair

August 9th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

videochatIAG_025Hobsons’ Virtual Student Fair
Deadline: Variable

Students who are looking for a scholarship and a school to attend as an international student are in luck since the Hobsons’ Virtual Student Fair is just around the corner. There, students can chat live with US school representatives and current international students at schools throughout the US. Student are able to have all of their questions answered right away and receive further information on how to apply to the school of their interest. As a bonus, those who attend the fair are entered for a chance to win $3000 in scholarships.

Last year spots filled up quick as thousands of international students signed up to attend the fair. If you would like to attend the fair, the date and time will vary depending on your citizenship. Find your home region below, then follow the link and sign up to attend the Hobsons’ Virtual Student Fair to chat with US schools live and a chance to win a scholarship.

If you would like to attend the online fair, you are able to register now to reserve your spot for a chance to chat with US schools and win a portion of the $3000 in scholarships available!