One of the most rewarding ways to experience a different culture and language is through a study abroad. Whether you do it in high school or college, studying abroad is an experience that will change your life. You will make new friends, try new foods, and discover a new way to think. It will ultimately alter your perspectives and even allow you to view your own culture in a new light.
However, with studying abroad comes a few practical obstacles. One of them surrounds finances. Studying abroad can be expensive. There are multiple loans and scholarships that you can and should apply for. Whether you receive one or not, you are still going to need to figure out the best way to access your money.
In the following guide you will find information on the best and most economical way to bank abroad.
Using Your Local Bank
If you don’t plan to work during your study abroad, using your visa card issued by your local bank is the best way to go. Although depending on the country ATM fees can range between 4 and 7 dollars, if you withdraw money in large sums it’s not so bad. Additionally, if your study abroad is less than 6 months, it’s a lot less hassle if you stick with your original bank.
Signing Up With An International Bank
If you will be in country for over 6 months and plan to work during your study abroad, signing up for a bank card with a host country bank is your best option. This allows employers to direct deposit your salary directly into your account. It also allows you to withdraw the money without a fee.
However, signing up with an international bank often comes with a few complications depending on what country your’re in. In developing countries, it is quite simple to get a bank card if you provide them with your address and show them your study abroad visa with option to work.
On the other hand, in countries such as Japan and Korea, getting a bank card is an elongated process. You must first apply for a working permit from the immigration office. You need to provide proof of a permanent address and must also have a telephone number and billing address. If you’re Japanese isn’t very good, this can be an arduous process to say the least.
When it comes to using an international bank, there are a few other complications you should be aware of. Depending on the country, some banks might issue you a plus car instead of a visa card. This means that if you return home to the US, it will not work in ATMs. Finally some international banks often will not allow you to transfer your money from abroad. This means that the only way to access your money and transfer it to your home bank is by going to the bank and requesting a transfer in person. In Japan I was unable to set up an international money transfer over the phone..
Studying abroad is one of the best things you can do in your highschool or college career. It will without a doubt be a challenge at first. You will encounter complications when it comes to communication, and most notably with international banking. However, if you persevere, you will have one of the best experiences of your life.