The Study-Abroad Challenge
To undertake a world-class education abroad is a dream for most Indian students like you. Pursuing education from a top-notch university abroad can tell the difference between a highly successful career and a grand average one for an aspiring student. However, undertaking such a venture successfully is seldom easy. It is not merely an intellectual challenge, but also an organisational as well as a financial challenge. It requires meticulous and often lengthy preparation and well-thought-out planning.
Funding Education Abroad
The battle for finding yourself standing at the doorstep of a revered seat of higher learning abroad does not end with earning a letter of acceptance from such an institution. It is, in fact, winning half the battle, the other half resides in sourcing enough funds to fund your study and, more importantly, convince the institution of your choice about the credibility of your funding claim. For Indian students, this could be an uphill task.
- The Scholarship Conundrum: Indian students look for scholarship opportunities or other kinds of financial assistance, including different kinds of financial aid from the university itself. However, it is but natural that all study-abroad aspirants cannot have the good luck to win a scholarship, given the fact that the number of scholarships is limited and the number of applicants very high, making those scholarships competitive. Besides, scholarships often offer a solution to a part of the student’s conundrum. It is not surprising to find that students are able to meet only a part of the expenses abroad with a scholarship. Fully funding scholarships and meeting all expenses abroad are few in number and are extremely competitive. Likewise, other financial assistance or aids have their own limitations and therefore, circumscribe the aspirants funding radii.
- Graduate Assistantship: Graduate Assistantship involves sharing and supporting the teaching load of professors and universities. It is a form of funding for the student in lieu of which a student assists some professors or lecturers in a university in delivering their academic duty. The assistantship or the financial aid can write off their tuition fees partially or fully and gives the student the opportunity to get invaluable domain knowledge as well as a teaching skill.
- Education Loan: Realising the uphill task to win a scholarship, students and their parents often opt for education loan from banks to fund their study. However, securing an education loan from a bank might not be always easy. Convincing a bank to fund your study might involve a lot of convincing and soft-sell.
Given this scenario, as a study-abroad aspirant, you must explore every possible avenue to source every morsel of the fund to meet your expenses abroad. Below are three leads that might help you to buttress your battle underbelly in finding your way through the study-abroad funding labyrinth.
- Part-time jobs and Internships: Part-time jobs and internships are always uppermost in the minds of those who arrive on foreign soils for making their study-abroad dreams a reality. This is because those are two time-tested ways to manage finances abroad and at the same time pick up some skills and friends along the way. Even it is possible to meet your living expenses by earning money through part-time jobs or internship. In the past, these complementary sources of funding have proved to be viable options for funding for many students for their study abroad. Therefore, if you are ingenious, you will not find it difficult to find a part-time job or an internship abroad. Even it is not highly unusual to obtain a pre-placement offer during your internship.
Types of part-time jobs available for students abroad:
- On-campus jobs such as jobs in the university library or the university sports office that pay reasonable hourly rates.
- Jobs at supermarkets, restaurants, and bars
- Teaching English
- Tutoring skills such as music, cooking, and dancing
- Tutoring SAT, GRE, GMAT applicants
- Translation service
Types of internships available for foreign students:
- Virtual or Remote Internship
- Virtual Personal Assistants
- Data Entry Operators
- Customer Relation Agents
- Content Writers
- Relevant to your study/degree/program
- Requires networking
- Opportunity is factored by the skill you have and what skill you would like to acquire.
- Start scouting at the university career center, professors, peers, local networking group in your domain, and specialized social networking sites.
- Freelancing: As a freelancer or an independent contractor offering services to a business or anyone who is ready to pay a price, you can earn handsomely while studying abroad. However, to offer your services and earn successfully, you must have the required skill-set and knowledge. Although it is easier for freelancers with experience to find lucrative projects, you can still work as a freelancer with little or no experience.
- Master Money-saving Techniques: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Nothing is truer when it comes to funding your education abroad, especially with a tight budget. With a volatile exchange rate difference, managing finances abroad is more likely a daunting task for most. The cost of studying abroad differs on several counts: on the basis of country, the nature of the program, tuition fees and the cost of living at your destination. The major expenses for studying abroad are the following:
- University tuition fee
- Travel and Conveyance
- Study and Research
- Communication and Internet
- Leisure and Entertainment
However, you can save handsomely if you adopt the following strategies.
- Get your International Student Identity (ISIC) Card. The ISIC card, the only internationally recognized student ID card, is used by more than 55 million students across 133 countries to avail 1, 50,000 student discounts and offers worldwide that include travel, accommodation, food and beverages and study resources.
- Get a local bank account to cut down additional ATM charges which can be substantial.
- Open e-wallet accounts to avoid recurring ATM/bank withdrawals.
- Research affordable accommodation, including university residence, homestays, and student hostels.
- Cut down on conveyance and travel
- For daily commute
- Use public transport.
- Walk or use a bike while traveling a shorter distance.
- Buy a bike or look for bike-hiring agencies.
- For air travel
- Use your ISIC Card to avail travel discount.
- Research airlines that offer student discount on airfares.
- Research platforms dedicated to student traveling concessions such as Student Universe, CheapOair, and STA Travel.com.
- Book tickets on the right time and day. Airfares vary with certain timelines.
- Fridays are the most expensive.
- Tuesdays give you the best bargains.
- Search for flight tickets
- Blend with the locals and avoid splurging like a tourist.
- Use the Wi-Fi Finder App which will help you to find free and paid wi-fi hotspots closest to you, saving you a substantial sum on international data roaming charges.
To be able to manage your finances and to be cost-effective are important skills that you can develop in an increasingly globalised world. This is a lesson that you can develop as a resource and an asset in your professional as well as in your personal life. Studying abroad brings with it the opportunity to develop such skills and attributes. In fact, your study-abroad experience can lay the foundation of such resourcefulness. With a little bit of ingenuity, thoughtfulness, and planning the anxiety of funding, your study abroad will not rob you of your sleep.
By Shantanu Sengupta, Senior Editor
We have a lot more useful guides for your study abroad dream. Read our blog on Masters Fees and Funding in the USA, written by Manya-The Princeton Review expert.
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