| Friday, December 16th, 2022

Study Abroad Guide

Studying abroad is an exciting adventure. However, it can also be daunting, and the last thing a new international student needs on top of all the new adjustments is money stress.

We've created a guide for international students preparing to study abroad and their families, so that everyone can be fully prepared for the journey ahead; not only for the education experience, but ensuring that all payments and international money transfers can be easily made, whether for tuition, living expenses or even an emergency.

A little work beforehand could save you a lot of trouble later, should you run into a situation where you need assistance. So without further ado, here's a good place to start!

Set up your finances first

This might not come as a surprise, but international students will need to have funds available from the get-go. Of course, different rules often apply for loans and scholarships for studying abroad as they would for studying in your home country. Whether or not you are eligible for student finance loans for study abroad will depend on where you are a citizen.

For students in the UK looking to study abroad, since the Erasmus scheme is no longer available to students in the wake of Brexit, the Turing Scheme has taken its place. Higher education funding is accessible for those that fill the criteria, so check to see if you fall into this category.

If money is a concern for your study abroad, scholarships and grants may be an option. Full or partial scholarships are competitive, but they can be fundamental in aiding studies. Check if you are eligible to apply, and remember that often these scholarships are given based on academic merit (although there are other circumstances such as equal access scholarships that may make you a viable candidate). Student grants and bursaries may also be available to assist with cost of living support. If unsure, contact your university’s financial aid office for advice.

You also need to research the cost of living in the city where you will be studying, which could be vastly different to where you’ve come from. Groceries, public transport, rent and activities may be priced in a way that you are unaccustomed to. Capital and larger cities will also often be more expensive to live in.

Being organised with finances is important when it comes to studying abroad, and this is especially true in the first few months, when you haven’t yet set up your finances, opened your bank accounts and paid your tuition. If you aren’t looking to start up a bank account locally, setting up an international money transfer account puts a process in place to cover these expenses and spare you the stress on top of your studies.

A money transfer is your lifeline in financial emergencies when you need your family to send money quickly. Transferring some money from overseas in advance can also put your mind to rest.

Six steps for planning your finances abroad

For many who study abroad, the experiences they have will be something that they will never forget as long as they live, so get ready for the time of your life, unhindered by financial worries. Before you get started, consider these steps to ensure that the money transfer goes smoothly:

● Compare foreign currency to find the best deal and service available

● When paying tuition bills, ensure the final amount received will not be subject to any fee deductions (meaning your tuition payment will be short)

● Use a reputable company for the international money transfer, such as those listed on our website

● Avoid paying for expenses or using providers that accept overseas credit cards that typically give very poor exchange rates

● Do a test run for a small amount to ensure smooth service

● Open a bank account

Opening a local bank account will help you manage your day-to-day life, and most mainstream banks will offer special student accounts. You will likely need to present your passport, letter of admission to your school, relevant visas and proof of your address. The process to set up a bank account is not always easy, so be sure to start this as soon as possible.


It may sound obvious, but with all the excitement and planning when it comes to studying abroad, you may overlook travel. Once you’ve settled into a new country, you may want to travel home to visit for holidays and special occasions. Factor in time and costs when planning your budget, as travel between continents can be costly. Do your research and you can find airlines with cheaper flights to get you home.

Remember to find out about local transport options, as although many universities are located in pedestrian-friendly areas, you may need public transport more than you think. You may be staying in a country that offers a monthly travel pass, such as Germany, which is valid on trains, buses and trams, providing a more budget-friendly travel option.


The accommodation that you stay in will largely depend on your budget. From university accommodation to private renting alone or with friends, there are plenty of options for where to live.

Going directly through university accommodation could be a more secure option. If you are staying in privately rented property through a landlord, read contracts carefully and make sure you are happy with the conditions, deposit, and required payments.

If you are unsure about options, contact your universities’ accommodation services to find out more, and see if you can be placed with other international students if that would be of interest.


If you are looking for some peace of mind ahead of your trip, investing in insurance will offer some reassurance. There are many companies that specifically offer study abroad insurance, or more broadly for longstays/backpacking.

These policies may include personal items and gadget cover, emergency medical expenses, and loss of travel documents; read through and find the right policy to cover you and your needs.

Taking a look at insurance comparison websites is a quick way to see the best deals, and once you have found a policy that sounds suitable, you can get a quote for how much your policy and add-ons will be.


The earlier you arrive, the more time you have to acclimate to your new surroundings. Plus, it will allow time for the proper paperwork to go through. Ideally, the goal should be to arrive about a month before classes begin or when the college opens up its living spaces for the semester. By arriving early, you can start to settle into your living quarters and become familiar with the campus and surrounding community.

Most colleges will have orientation before the semester begins, so this will be a good time to get to know the campus like the back of your hand. However, if you can join an orientation that is designed to bring new/international students together, this will help you make new friends and settle into your new surroundings.

While university is largely about gaining your degree, it is also about having new experiences and making friends, so jumping right in once you arrive in the country can open you up to some amazing memories. 

International student office

This will most likely be the top of your list after settling into your living quarters. The international student office is there to work with you and other students on a regular basis to ensure that everything is going according to plan and provide the necessary support. They generally take care of the paperwork that is required for international students and offer advice as to how best you can enjoy your experience while at the college or university.

You’ll want to ask all of the questions that are on your mind about the campus and what it provides. There are also usually several events designed for international students that take place at the beginning of the semester and throughout the year as well – the best thing you can do is jump in and get involved; this may be a great place to find other students from your country to help form friendships early on and get settled into the campus routine with others going through the same thing as you.

Lastly, if you have any visa or immigration questions, the international student office will be able to advise you what you need to do, both in advance of arriving and if you want to work or stay in the country after your degree.

The admissions office and campus

After you take care of any business at the international student office, it's a great idea to swing by the admissions office as well; they should have more information about students from your country that may be on campus, assuming that the international student office didn't have that information. Plus, if you want to help out a little, offer to volunteer a few hours during orientation, which is a great way to get involved and meet more people!

After going to the admissions office, it's time to really get to know the campus. Once you have your class schedule to hand, you can visit each building and find out where the classes are going to be ahead of time to save you the stress on your first day. You'll want to find all the major buildings that will be essential to your college career, such as the library, student centre, fitness centre and cafeteria.

Enjoy the adventure!

Last but certainly not least, maintain a positive attitude during your stay! Having a positive, open-minded outlook means that you are going to enjoy your stay even more and get the most out of your academics, social life and integration with the teachers, students and staff on campus.

This is going to be the time of your life and it's important to make the most of it. By being as prepared as possible, you can have that peace of mind and ensure your university gets off to a great start. When the unexpected occurs, remember that an international money transfer is just a phone call away if you have set everything up correctly.


Ready to get on top of your student finances and find your money transfer provider? See our credible list of recommended companies.

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