Studying abroad is an exciting adventure, but let's face it—managing finances in a foreign country can be a headache. From hidden fees for ATM withdrawals to exorbitant currency conversion rates, banking abroad can quickly eat into your budget. But don't fret! We've got you covered with some of the best banking solutions that are not only student-friendly but also nearly zero-fee. So, let's dive in!
Before we jump into the solutions, let's understand why traditional banks might not be your best friend when you're studying abroad. Most standard banks charge high fees for international transactions, ATM withdrawals, and currency conversions. These costs can add up quickly, leaving you with less money for your actual study abroad experience.
Revolut is a mobile-based banking alternative that offers free incoming transfers and low cost outgoing international transfers. It also includes a wide array of features such as budgeting, tracking spending, setting up direct debits, saving money in different currencies (including the USD), and free ATM withdrawals up to certain limits. They even come with free colorful cards!
Our favorite part about Revolut has to be its real-time currency exchange feature. This is a game-changer for frequent travelers or anyone dealing with multiple currencies. You can exchange money instantly at the interbank exchange rate, which is usually the best rate you can get. Plus, the app is incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to track your spending in multiple currencies effortlessly.
How to Get Started: Click here to start with Revolut!
N26 is a mobile-first bank that eliminates the hassle of managing your finances while studying abroad. With features like free currency exchange up to €7,500 per month and zero ATM fees worldwide, N26 is a go-to choice for students who want to avoid unnecessary banking fees. Plus, its user-friendly app allows you to manage your savings account, offering competitive interest rates.
What we absolutely love about N26 is the "Spaces" feature. It allows you to create sub-accounts within your main account to set aside money for specific goals or expenses. Whether you're saving for a trip or managing a monthly budget, Spaces makes it incredibly easy to organize your finances. It's like having multiple piggy banks, but digital and way more convenient.
How to Get Started: Click here to start with N26!
Wise Borderless Account is a multi-currency account designed for the global citizen. Whether you're paying tuition, sending money back home, or simply managing daily expenses, Wise makes it incredibly easy and affordable. With support for over 40 currencies and the ability to open local bank accounts in multiple countries, this account is perfect for students who need to juggle multiple currencies seamlessly.
The standout feature for us in Wise Borderless is the multi-currency account. It lets you hold over 50 currencies in a single account, making it perfect for students and travellers to manage money in multiple currencies. You can also get local bank details for several major currencies, which simplifies receiving payments from different countries. It's like having a local bank account in multiple countries, all rolled into one.
How to Get Started: Click here to start with Wise!
Before you hop on that plane, make sure you're covered with the right travel insurance. Standard travel insurance often doesn't cut it if you're planning to live abroad. Look for policies that cover health, travel, and even study interruptions. This way, you're not just a tourist; you're a well-protected resident.
You are welcome to do your own research about insurances. However, if that seems like a cumbersome to-do, dont worry. We already did the research for you. We have decided to collaborate with ERV Europæiske due to their specialisation in travel insurances, fair price and quality support when needed.
Read also: Travel insurance when studying abroad
Your passport and visa are your keys to the world. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned return date. Some countries are strict about this. Also, check if you need a student visa, a tourist visa, or another type of visa. Each comes with its own set of rules and privileges, so make sure you're applying for the right one.
Related articles about visa:
Changing your address isn't just about redirecting your mail. It could affect your tax status, your voting rights, and even your student loans. If you're going for a full degree abroad, you'll likely need to update your official address. For shorter stays, consult your local citizen services or student administration at your home university to see what's required.
Don't overlook this one. Some countries require specific vaccinations like Yellow Fever or Hepatitis A and B. Your doctor can provide a tailored vaccination plan based on your destination. Checking out the health and safety guidelines for your destination country is key to a smooth study abroad experience. Before you jet off, swing by your local public health office to get the lowdown on any vaccines or shots you might need. This way, you're not just passport-ready, you're health-ready too!
When receiving your acceptance letter and related documents, please make sure to read it through. If your host university requires you to get a specific vaccination before entering the country, it is important to know to avoid being denied access into the country.
Read more about immunization.
University dorms are a hot commodity. If you prefer private housing, start your search early and consider locations, budgets, and amenities. Some universities also offer housing services to help you find a suitable place.
Make sure to read Uniclub's housing section on each university profile to kickstart your search for accommodation. In there, you will be presented to housing options on campus if the university has it, while also being presented to popular off-campus housing option.
An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) isn't just for discounts at the movies. Unlock a world of student perks with your digital ISIC card! Whether you're chilling at home or exploring new corners of the globe, you'll score awesome discounts. Think cheaper public transit, dining deals, shopping steals, and discounted stays. Plus, get special rates on cultural attractions. Just fire up the ISIC app and discover all the student-friendly deals wherever your studies or adventures lead you!
Don't leave money on the table. Scholarships aren't just for top students; there are plenty of need-based and subject-specific scholarships too. Start your search early, and don't underestimate smaller scholarships—they add up!
At its core, a scholarship is financial aid awarded to a student, usually to help cover the costs of studying abroad. Also known as a grant, endowment, or even a public pool, these funds come with their own set of rules. For instance, grants are often given as a lump sum, while scholarships may be distributed over a period of time. Regardless of the name or distribution method, all these forms of financial support aim to ease the burden of educational expenses for students.
Read also: Scholarship applications: How to do it?
Also, remember to:
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, and managing your finances shouldn't have to be a part of the challenge. With these tips and nearly zero-fee banking options, you can focus more on your studies, travel, and making lifelong memories!
So, what are you waiting for? Make the smart move and choose the right bank for your study abroad adventure today!