You have done your research. You read all the emails and pamphlets. Maybe you even took a real-life tour of the schools on your shortlist. You found it- the perfect study abroad program.
Now it is time to break out your calculator and figure out just how this is going to work!
Every program is different and comes with a unique price tag, but so does every city, living situation, and transportation option. It is up to you to determine what works and what you can afford. If you put in the work now, you will avoid unwelcome surprises later on. A little planning goes a long way. And pro tip - NexPay offers nexgen payment solutions to make it all work!
Let's answer the easy questions first:
International Education Agents
A good education agent is worth their weight in gold, but do not worry, they charge a lot less if they charge you anything at all! We've placed them at the top of this list because a good agent can help shepherd you through your decision-making process and help you to know what to expect not just from the school but from the new city you will call home. We recommend looking for an ICEF Trained Agent Counsellor (ITAC) to find a high-quality education agent. As always, do your research and talk to your friends who have had successful overseas experiences to get recommendations.
What is the cost of your program? This information should be readily available directly on the university or program website or marketing materials. Be sure to include books, tuition fee, and document translation. Look for additional fees, like student clubs and organizations, activities passes, transportation passes, meal plans, additional testing fees, and the like.
Where will you live? Is there a dormitory available? Do they offer on-campus housing? Is living off-campus an option? Will you have roommates or live alone? How about a homestay? Consider which option best fits you, your program, and your budget.
Depending upon your living situation, you may need to pay for certain utilities. Be sure to find out if the cost of rent includes; wireless high-speed internet, water, trash disposal, heating and cooling, or other dues. Who you live with can make or break your experience. So be sure to get a cool flatmate or two (maybe more!) whose lifestyle matches your own and with whom you are comfortable splitting costs.
You should also consider your transportation options. Does your new city offer safe and reliable public transportation? Is the city walking-friendly? Is a ride service available? Most large universities offer student bus systems, and many big cities offer student discounts for public transportation. You can also go green! Invest in a bicycle (or rent one), or walk whenever possible to help the environment, save yourself some cash, and sneak in a little bit of exercise - all at the same time! Most importantly, what is it going to cost to get you from one place to another safely?
We assume you have chosen to study in a country that is not your own to experience a different culture. With that in mind, think about what that means to you. Will you be spending a lot of time at museums and cultural sightseeing trips? Or does that mean experiencing all that the local nightlife has to offer? Will you dine out often at expensive restaurants? Do not forget to include transportation, parking, or valet fees if needed. Can you cook your meals, or are you completely dependent upon the program or someone else?
If you are heading to Canada, be sure to check out SideKick Card. It is an easy and safe way for your family back home to send you money and help you budget.
Does the country you are studying in allow you to work? Many universities offer on-campus employment for international students, so check with your program and be sure to look at the laws in your new home. Along with helping you get some spending money, jobs offer invaluable life experiences and create life-long connections with new people.
The weather may be completely different from what you know at home. Perhaps, a new wardrobe is in order. Or maybe you just need a heavier coat. If you need an excuse to revamp your closet- this is it!
Do not forget the people back home. Your phone will probably need a new SIM card, and you will have to be sure your calling plan works in your final destination. Will you ship items to or from your home? How often will you go back home to visit during your program? Talk to your family. Your parents might miss you more than you think!
Pay and Get Paid
NexPay (that's us!) makes it easy to pay your agent and institution and offers easy payment options for families to support their students while studying abroad. You can pay online safely and securely in your own currency, and it arrives at its final destination in the local currency. By using NexPay, you can pay your way with options like a credit card, instalments, domestic money transfer, and more.
Make a list
What else do you want to do? Make a list. Make a plan. Well, what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and pack your bags!