Ask anyone that has taken part in a study abroad program and they’ll almost certainly tell you how it had a positive impact on their life. Not only is it a chance to immerse yourself in a foreign language and learn about the culture and history of your new host country, it also fosters the cross-cultural exchange of ideas. As it continues to emerge as a global power, living and studying in an Asian country such as South Korea or Taiwan has become increasingly popular. We’ve compiled a list of tips for students who want to study abroad in Asia this year.
Keep an eye on your money
The best places to study abroad are not always the cheapest. Once you’ve decided on your study abroad destination, it is a good idea to create a budget, so you’ll know approximately how much money you’ll need. In particular, here are some important costs international students should keep in mind:
- Program costs
- Books and supplies
- Local commuting
- Personal expenses
All these costs can add up fast. Western Union® money transfer services provide quick and easy support, letting you receive money, when you need it, in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
Get your ID
One of the biggest study abroad tips that we hear from international students is how valuable an International Student ID can be. It’s easy to obtain one of these in your home country and benefit from the discounts you can get on things like movie tickets and entry to museums. One of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is discovering new cultural experiences and with a SID you can do this without breaking your budget.
Cut through the red tape
Depending on the country you are going to study in and how long you will be there, you will likely need to apply for a student visa. In some countries it is possible to do this after you arrive, but you may need to at least start the process in your home country. You should check with your study abroad program as well as online before traveling. Keep in mind that this process can be time consuming so the earlier you can start the better. This is especially important if you’re planning on studying in one of Asia’s largest or most populous cities like Manila or Beijing, as long lines at visa offices are a common occurrence.
Get around on the cheap
Part of the international experience is visiting and seeing as many places and things as possible. Keeping that in mind, public transportation in Asia is a great way to explore and improve your Asian language skills at the same time. Buses, trains, trams and subways can allow you explore your new city, and monthly or semester tickets will save you a bunch of money compared to taking a taxi.
Make your money do more
One of the things that many international students sometimes forget to think about in all their excitement of being in a new country is the exchange rate. Exchange rates change daily and can have a huge impact on how much your money can buy you in your new country. This is especially true if you’re planning on taking money out of your bank account as ATM fees can be very expensive in some Asian countries. For example, in Thailand you’ll have to pay a 200 Baht ($6-7) flat fee on most ATMs anytime you withdraw money. One easy way to avoid this ATM fee is to send yourself money via Western Union. It’s easy to pick up cash at Western Union® agent locations and you can check the exchange rate and transfer fees online 24/7 on WU.com.
Studying abroad has the ability to change how you look at the world. The friendships you make and experience you have abroad will stay with you long after you return home. Make the most of your time in a new country by being prepared before you get there. Happy traveling.