Guest Post: Richard Laycock, Insurance expert at Finder, shares his tips.
Moving overseas is an exciting part of growing up and a rite of passage for many people, but it’s a particularly big milestone if you’re heading abroad as a student. Whether you’re simply going on exchange or if you’re moving permanently, there are a lot of factors (particularly financial) that need to be taken into consideration when undergoing such a big change.
So, what do you need to know?
Get the best flight
This is a big move and you’re probably a bit anxious, so where possible try not to settle for a mediocre flight. Especially if you’re heading somewhere as far as Europe, don’t sacrifice comfort for a 16-hour layover in an airport. Use a flight comparison service such as Skyscanner or Expedia to ensure you find the best value trip in the shortest time. Also, book as far in advance as possible and keep an eye out for deals. Finally, if you look at a flight website once and then close your tab and come back to it later, the prices will probably go up. Always book flights with your browser in private browsing or “incognito” mode.
You don’t have to stay in it! If you’re heading on exchange you will probably want to be staying in a college dormitory or student accommodation, but this isn’t mandatory. If you aren’t convinced college is the right place for you, then look elsewhere. There are plenty of sites available that can help you. Your uni or school should also provide you with the information you need in order to find the best place to live during your trip.
Will you need an income?
Depending on the length of your trip, you might want to look into ways you can earn a living while you’re living abroad. If you’re only on exchange for one or two months then it might not be worth it, but if your trip is six months or longer, it’s worth investigating. The first thing you’ll need to sort out is the legalities of your visa. If you’re allowed to work on the visa you obtain, then definitely look at your options. You could take up tutoring, bartending or other hospitality work.
Travel money card or money transfers?
Travel money cards are a popular option for taking your money abroad short-term. For example, if you’re only going for a month or two, then a travel card might be the right thing for you. But they can carry added fees and charges that can add up long-term, so you might want something more worthwhile if you’re planning to stay a few months or more.
International money transfers are a good way to do this. To transfer money from your home country to your current destination, you can send it through a specialist currency transfer provider, such as WorldFirst, instead of your bank.
If you’re heading to a nation with a reciprocal health care agreement, you can probably receive cover for free. This means that your home country will cover the costs of any essential medical treatments that take place overseas. If you’re going to a nation without a reciprocal agreement then you could consider travel insurance and if you’re coming to Australia you should look into Overseas Student Health Cover, as it’s compulsory.
You should also always take a bit of emergency cash abroad with you. On the actual trip over, I personally like to split my cash up so that I have some hidden in my luggage and some in my carry-on. This way, if your luggage is lost then you still have cash on-hand. If you’re desperate to exchange money, don’t do this at the airport as you’ll probably receive heightened fees or charges. Casinos typically have favourable rates as they assume you’ll be spending your money there, so try that!
While moving overseas as a student is a scary change and a big step, don’t stress. The time will fly by and you’ll have a ball. Enjoy!
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