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Want To Study Abroad? Five Tips To Prepare The Budget For Your Overseas Education

Are you looking to study abroad? Or maybe you are parents thinking to provide your child with the best education, even if it means leaving home and crossing oceans for it.

Whichever group you belong to, you’ll be happy to know that the World Bank agrees completing tertiary education is one of the best investments you will be making. 

In a study on higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean, the US-based international financial institution concluded a student with a tertiary education degree will earn more than twice as much as a student with just a high school diploma over a lifetime.

Tertiary education here covers formal post-secondary education, including public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes, and vocational schools. In the same study, the World Bank saw that tertiary education is instrumental in reducing poverty, fostering growth, and boosting shared prosperity.

Now just imagine if you, or your child, will not only complete tertiary education but pursue higher education in leading colleges and universities around the world. You could potentially earn not just twice the income, but possibly 3 to 4 times, or even more.

Based on the UNESCO database of Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students, there are over 22,000 students from the Philippines currently studying abroad. Australia is a favoured destination hosting 41 per cent of the total, while the US is next with 15 per cent, followed by Canada at 7 per cent, Japan with nearly 5 per cent, and New Zealand with 4 per cent.
If you are seriously considering studying abroad, note that there’s a great deal of preparation that’s involved. It can mean planning at least a year ahead. You will need to either pick a country or vet the schools. Each school and country require different qualifying tests. When accepted, you will need to also get a student visa, a process made trickier thanks to the ongoing pandemic.

While choosing schools and countries, here are 5 things to look into to help ease the financial burden for your or your parents’ wallets.

#1 Start with scholarships

The tuition fee is just the first of many expenses for overseas students. In some cases, the tuition fee is even less than half of the total cost, especially in countries where the cost of living tends to be high. A good way to start your school selection is to scout which schools and countries tend to be more generous with scholarships. Consider ASEAN scholarships if you are open to going to schools in this region. Try for academic scholarships if you are confident about your grades. Sign up for qualifying exams if offered. Remember the UNESCO report? Well, Australia is a preferred destination in part because of the generous scholarships available. Cast your net wide and you may just rope in a juicy scholarship.

#2 Budget for home away from home

Overseas students have the option of staying in campus dorms and this may be cheaper, or covered by a scholarship. Some may choose private homes or homestay arrangements off campus. Consider what would be best for your wallet, and also to help you adjust to your new life. Some prefer to stay within campus, and they pick dorms that host other international students so they have common ground. Other parents choose to rent private homes so they too have a place to stay when visiting their child. Or if you have relatives and close friends nearby, see if you can stay with them and agree on a fair price for the trouble. 
#3 Don’t leave home without protection. 

Make sure you or your child have health and insurance protection, especially in these pandemic times. You will find most schools require students to have insurance coverage, but it’s also wise to check if this is enough. Consider life insurance, health insurance and travel insurance to cover for any and all emergencies. Shop for reliable insurance companies that are accessible when needed, and will not put you through the wringer when you need to make a claim.
#4 Look into setting up an overseas bank account 

It’s good to plan ahead how you or your child can access money while abroad. Check out international and regional banks here and inquire if you can open an overseas account before you or your child leave for abroad. Some local banks now also offer the option to withdraw money from abroad, or to send remittances, but the fees can be quite high. Consider opening an account with a bank that has operating branches where you or your child will study, as it’s always easier to be able to walk into a branch and ask for help when needed.
#5 Check the credit or debit cards in your destination 

Never leave home without a credit card, but be careful about swiping it in foreign currencies as the exchange rate may not be good for your wallet in the long run. If you can, look into opening a credit card in your destination so that you can manage your budget in just one currency. Getting a credit card in your place of study can also help you build a credit history and even earn rewards plus enjoy fraud protection. If you won’t be able to open a credit card as a foreign student, consider a debit card that will be handy when paying electronically at stores, and less risky than carrying cash at all times.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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