5 Ways to Save Money When Flying Internationally

July 31st, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

airplane89442207If you are going to be studying overseas for the new school year, you are probably getting ready for your upcoming transcontinental flight. With many new airline regulations and low budget carriers, you may find that you are coming out of pocket on additional perks that you never considered you had to pay. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 ways to save money when flying internationally.

  1. Shop around. The price of similar flights can vary dramatically between airlines; make sure that you research the prices on as many carriers as possible before purchasing your tickets. You can do this by searching each airline’s website individually, or by utilizing travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, or Kayak. You can also shop around at different airports; the airport closest to your house might not offer the lowest airfare prices, and the difference in price may more than make up for the cost of any additional transportation you need to get to a slightly further airport.
  2. Know when to buy. Timing is everything when it comes to purchasing airline tickets. Airline rates change daily—sometimes hourly—and it can be hard to know when you should buy. Luckily for you, there are trends in airline prices that you can take advantage of. Generally speaking, fares are highest from eight to ten weeks and two to three weeks in advance. Try to purchase your tickets around four to six weeks before you plan to travel. You should also try to avoid shopping for tickets on the weekends; airlines generally announce sales in the middle of the week, so keep an eye out for good deals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  3. Know when to fly. The time of year, day of the week, and the time of day all affect the cost of your airline ticket. Flying at the perfect time can actually save you hundreds of dollars. Many destinations have a high season, with elevated visitation and expensive airfare, and a low season, with more moderate visitation and cheaper airfare. Most experts advise travelers to try to book flights for the time period between the two seasons—the shoulder season—when the weather is still nice and the price of tickets has begun to come down. However, as an international student, you don’t have the luxury of a lot of leeway when it comes to the time of your travels; you’re pretty much dictated by the timing of your program. You can, however, choose which day and what time you want to fly out. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are generally the cheapest days of the week to fly, and you might consider purchasing a ticket for a red-eye flight. These flights take off and land in the early hours of the morning, and are significantly discounted because of the inconvenient time.
  4. Be aware of baggage fees. More and more airlines are increasing the cost of baggage fees. To avoid these costs, try booking flights with airlines that allow one or two bags free of charge, such as JetBlue or Southwest. If you do have to pay a baggage fee, make sure you don’t pay more than you need to by making sure that your bag meets the size and weight requirements set by the airline. This way, you can avoid overweight and oversized luggage fees. Additionally, try fitting as much as you can into your carry-on luggage (as long as it doesn’t exceed the weight and size limit).
  5. Research any other fees. When shopping for airline tickets, remember that the first price you see may not be the price you will end up paying. Often you will find that there are a number of taxes and fees that are not reflected in this initial price, so you need to look for any additional charges when you’re researching airfare. Some of these taxes and fees are mandatory and are tacked on to the price of every ticket. However, airlines are not always upfront about these additional costs.

>> Read more about budget saving tips

International Student Voice Magazine Scholarship

July 25th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

microphonejump159279367International Student Voice Magazine Scholarship
Deadline: August 2

International Student Voice Magazine is granting one international student from anywhere around the world (except the US and Canada) a $750 scholarship to fund their college or university studies inside the US or Canada. To apply for this award, you will need to have an F1 or J1 visa and complete a 200 word essay based upon both of the following questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge international students face while studying in the United States and why?
  2. How will this scholarship help you achieve your long-term goal(s)?

The essay needs to be submitted with at least one photograph. Along with submitting an essay you must also follow the social media entry requirements. The scholarship application and essay can be submitted directly from the International Student Voice Magazine scholarship page, there is also additional information regarding how to enter this scholarship along with a sample essay.

Between August 12 and August 16 the finalists for the International Student Voice Magazine scholarship will be announced. The grand prize winner will be announced August 19.

If you would like more information on the International Student Voice Magazine scholarship and how to apply, you can visit here.

Scam Alert – Call Targets International Students!

July 24th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

stop sign78394691Warning: A recent scam has been targeting international students and taking thousands of dollars. One call can take thousands of dollars out of your wallet!

Recent reports have come in this month that students are receiving incoming calls – mostly from the emergency 911 number – where either a man or woman will inform the student that they have committed a federal offense and will need to take immediate action. Some students reported that they were advised about an outstanding arrest warrant since they owe money to the US government.

The hoax tells students to pay the owed money to avoid prosecution by calling the phone number 202-470-6070. Students are informed that they need to act immediately in order to avoid further prosecution. In some reports, they threatened that the police would arrive at their front door if they did not pay immediately.

If you, or someone you know, gets a call similar to this hang up immediately and call the police. When in doubt, you can also call your local police station and school. If you are unsure, be sure to stay calm! It’s highly unlikely that any governmental agency will contact you by phone.

  1. Ask what the call is about.
  2. Request the full name of the agent and their ID number.
  3. Get their direct line to call them back at. Remember, any threats like this are highly unlikely!
  4. Call your international student advisor immediately with any information you have.

It’s important to know that you should never give out our:

  • Your social security number
  • Your banking information
  • Your credit or debit card information

For more details, check out reports from other students here.

International Students Contribute $21.8 Billion and Support 300,000 Jobs, Study Says

July 19th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

map of america in dollars 118408380

This week, new economic data was released by NAFSA that found 764,495 international students contributed $21.8 billion dollars to the US economy and supported approximately 300,000 jobs. In a time when the US economy is recovering from the Great Depression, it is no wonder why an importance has been placed on international education worldwide.

The study also found that for every 7 enrolled international students, 3 US jobs were created in a number of industries including in higher education, accommodations, dining, retail, health insurance, telecommunication, and transportation. This comes as good news as enrollment for international students has been increasing year after year for the last three year, with a 6.5% increase in overall international student enrollments over the 2010-2011 academic year.

The press release by NAFSA shows the economic implication of opening the doors to allow international students and scholars to study and pursue further opportunities after graduation in the United States. Currently, the US immigration system requires international students and scholars to return to their home country upon completion of their program.

While there are some opportunities available to employers to help switch their visa from an international student F1 visa (international student visa) to an H1B visa (work visa), this remains a complicated, difficult and expensive process. With limited opportunities upon graduation, many international students are looking elsewhere to pursue their higher education dreams.

In fact, according to the same report, the overall share of international students studying in the US decreased by 10%. The findings from the report says that immigration reform can further enhance the economic benefits for the United States as well as allow students looking to pursue employment post graduation.

>> Read more about the new report released by NAFSA

Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program

July 18th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

166542259Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program
Deadline: November 15

Calling all women around the world who are interested in the field of aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering! The Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program is now open for applications. Each year 35 individuals are awarded this fellowship grant in the amount of $10,000 to pursue the study of aerospace.

To be eligible, applicants must have a record of academic excellence and be pursuing a doctoral/Ph.D. degree- post doctoral women are not eligible. Those who are current fellows are able to re-apply for the fellowship, however, they must proceed through a new application process.

The fellowship committee will review each application and recommend a select few finalists to the Zonta International Board of Directors who will then determine the fellowship awardees. Applications must be postmarked by November 15 and applicants will be notified of their status in April.

The Amelia Earhart Fellowship was established in 1938 by the Zonta International Foundation in honor of Amelia Earhart, it has since awarded 1,403 students this fellowship equaling a total of $8.3 million.

If you are interested in pursuing the aerospace industry and would like more information on how to apply for the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program, visit here.

Budgeting for Overseas Housing

July 12th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

When moving to another country for a semester or year there are always unexpected expenses that arise, but the most important element to studying abroad is knowing where you will be living. The cost of housing while you are abroad will depend on the type of residence you choose and what your available budget is after paying for airfare and your  program. When studying abroad one of the most expensive costs can be where you live, so make sure you consider your options and do the budgeting for overseas housing. Normally you have the option to live with a host family, live in student housing, or find your own apartment. In order to appropriately budget for your housing expenses it is important to consider all the possible costs. Here’s a quick guide to help you consider the expenses that come with each option:

Living with a host family

Often times if you choose to live with a host family, it is organized through your study abroad program. If it is organized through the program then you are usually expected to pay this before you arrive as part of the program’s cost of attendance. Taking care of this before you arrive means that you will not have to worry about paying rent on a monthly basis. Generally living with a host family also means that you will be provided with a room and meals. Because you will be receiving meals on a daily basis, buying your own groceries is not an expense that you will need to consider. Normally, families will provide you with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but any type of snack or special food outside of this will be paid out of your own pocket.

Living in student housing

Living in student housing is similar to living with a host family since you generally pay the amount upfront so monthly rent is not a concern. Student housing can differ from university to university so it is important to find out what type of residence they offer. There are some facilities that provide students with a kitchen and others that do not. Normally housing that does not have kitchens provide access to a campus dining hall. If you are living in student housing without a kitchen your food budget will depend on whether you have the option to purchase a meal plan or pay on a day to day basis. If you have a kitchen then groceries will be an expense. For those who are not quite ready to be chefs in the kitchen, will have to budget for eating out which often times is more expensive.

Finding your own apartment

If your program does not provide either a family stay or residence hall, or if you just prefer to live on your own, moving into a privately owned apartment always comes with more expenses. In some countries, such as Spain, it is common that apartments come furnished. However, in the U.S. this is not the case and apartments that come furnished tend to be quite expensive. It is important to do some research on this, in order to know whether furnishing your apartment with a bed, a desk, etc. will be part of your expenses. Another essential thing to consider is that you budget enough money to be able to pay the first month’s rent and a deposit, which is usually the same amount as the rent. Other expenses can include monthly or bimonthly bills for internet, water, gas, and electric.

>> Want to learn more about apartment costs? Check out Costs to Consider When Changing Apartments

Abercrombie & Fitch International Global Diversity & Leadership Award

July 11th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

money tree170885282Abercrombie & Fitch International Global Diversity & Leadership Award
Deadline: August 15

Abercrombie & Fitch and the National Society of High School Scholars have teamed up to bring international students the Abercrombie & Fitch International Global Diversity & Leadership Award. Students who are currently enrolled in or will be within the upcoming academic semester at a college or university and will be attending class in Australia, China, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Nine awards will be granted to international students in the amount of $1000 USD. This award can go towards tuition, books, room & board, or other educational expenses. There is not a specific field that students need to be pursuing to apply for this scholarship; however, they must have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

Recipients of this scholarship are chosen based upon their academic record, recommendations and their responses to the questions on the award application.

The Abercrombie & Fitch International Global Diversity & Leadership Award is to help support the growth and development of future leaders. Eligible international students who would like more information on this award and how to apply can visit here.

Now Is The Time – Apply for Student Loans

July 5th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

The new school year is almost here and while you may know where you are planning to study abroad – and perhaps even know what classes you’ll be taking – you may soon realize that you still have to get your finances in order. After all, the amount of financial aid available to international students can be quite limited. If you have finalized your budget for school and found that you still need help covering your expenses, you can apply for student loans for your overseas adventure.

Now’s the Time

July and August are the peak months when most international students apply for their loans. While loans can be applied to year round, this allows sufficient time to process all the necessary paperwork, get approved, transfer the money from your lender to your school, and for you to receive the funds from your university or college.

Understanding the Loan Process

To apply for international student loans, you can simply compare lenders and find the one that works best to suit your needs. Most non-US citizens will need to have a US cosigner who has been in the US for the past two years with good credit. The cosigner can only be a US citizen or US permanent resident. US citizens applying for loans are not required to have a cosigner, however this can reduce the interest rate and improve the likelihood of approval. Once you have your cosigner:

  1. You and your cosigner can complete the online application
  2. Depending on your lender you can get instant approval immediately (some lenders take about 48 hours)
  3. Give yourself 6-8 weeks to process your loan information
  4. Your lender will then disburse the funds directly to your university
  5. Your university will then apply the funds to your costs and refund you the excess amount

Apply for International Student Loans

To get started, you can use our comparison tool to see what options are available at your school. You will be able to apply for the total cost of your education minus any financial aid you receive. Remember, your school will need to certify the amount of money you take out, and because of this the lender must work with the school you’ll be attending. Our loan comparison tool takes all of this into consideration and only shows those lenders that work with your school so that it makes it easy for you to apply for student loans.

>> Find and apply for student loans now

International Academic Merit Scholarship

July 4th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

moneyegg145925491International Academic Merit Scholarship at Wilson College
Deadline: Unrestricted

Students pursuing their bachelor degree as a first year international student are eligible for the international academic merit scholarship at Wilson College. Upon admission into Wilson College, eligible international students will be awarded the scholarship. There is not a specific application for this award; however, students must complete the Wilson College paper or online admissions application, along with a statement of finance- and be accepted into the college.

While this award is not a full-scholarship, this merit award has the potential to grant international students aid for up to 25%-50% of their tuition. Wilson College will review and evaluate past academic achievement of the individual under consideration. There is not a required field of study that individuals must be pursuing in order to receive this award, nor is there a specific home country that they should be from. There are approximately 10 awards granted each year in amounts varying from $5000-$15,000.

Wilson College is a Presbyterian-affiliated, liberal arts school located in Pennsylvania. At this all-women college, there is a strong focus on providing students with the one-on-one attention they need with a 10:1 student-ratio.

If you are interested in becoming an international student at Wilson College and receiving this award, visit here to learn more and apply.

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