Starting college is one of the most exciting moments of anybody’s life. Imagine when it also means moving to another country. It this is your case, I am sure you can’t wait to pack and move abroad so you can get your adventure started.
On the other hand, it is possible that you are also concerned about how you are going to provide for yourself while you are far away from your family. College can be very expensive when it comes to fees, and this is just the beginning: there are books, accommodation, food.
You also want to make sure that you have some fun, and that you travel a bit around the country, making the most of your experience.
Thankfully, there are several ways how an international freshman can save money while studying on U.S. colleges. And here are the best of them for you to get yourself prepared even before going to the airport.
# Look for Work and Study programs
Several colleges will offer Work and Study programs, so make sure that you ask about them during your application process (or after it, if you are all set up).
The opportunities usually are related to working in the library, computer lab, and the restaurant, but it may vary from college to college.
It will permit that you make some money during your free hours and get some real working experience which might even be relevant for your future career.
And if they aren’t looking for anyone at the moment, you can still let them know that you are interest in future opportunities.
# Try some tutoring/teaching
Another possibility to make some money in college is by tutoring other students. If you know that you excel in any class, you can offer one-to-one classes on the notice boards or any other channel (online included).
Can you speak another language? Then you can also become a teacher and offer private lessons or even small groups if you are up to. The same can be done for other hobbies and interests, such as sports and arts.
# Keep one eye on freebies
It is very common that events will be held in the campus or around it by companies trying to turn students on new customers. During these events, it is very likely that you will find free food and drinks, plus freebies, such as notebooks and stationary.
So keep one eye on them and don’t be ashamed of getting everything that you need from them. They are the ones offering it in the first place.
# Shop around first
One of the most common mistakes of international college freshmen is buying things in the first shop they see. They are new in town and usually pressured by the time – as they don’t tend to arrive few days before the start of the semester.
But don’t do it yourself. Wait until you can talk to someone and ask the best place to get what you need. Ask the support office for advice and talk to your new classmates. They will know better than how to save money on phones, laptops, food, and more.
# Call home on the cheap
Calling home is one of the mandatory expenses of any international student. Thankfully, the internet has made it much easier and cheaper to everyone.
So instead of getting an expensive phone plan with international minutes included, set up a Skype account and buy credits for it. The cost per call is much lower than calling home from a mobile or landline.
Another option is using online services, such as Viber for video-calls and WhatsApp for audio and video calls. And make sure that your family and friends know how to use social media to keep in touch, using Facebook Messenger, for instance.
# Plan your trips in advance
Planning your trips in advance certainly is something that you should do. As soon as you know when and where you want to go, buy your flight and accommodation. This way you will get the cheapest prices and save some money that you can spend in something else.
It is especially important that you do it regarding your ticket back home. The flight companies usually offer impressive discounts to those willing to book months in advance.
# Avoid buying books
Books can be quite expensive, especially those that you will need in college. So you should try and avoid buying them as often as you can.
Make the most of your library and make reservations if you know that there aren’t many copies available. Also, look for places where you can rent books and ask senior students if you can borrow books from them.
And if you must to buy the book, make sure that you check first the second-hand shops, and if the title is available as an e-book (which is usually cheaper).
The bottom line
As you can see, it is very possible to save money while you are attending college in U.S. So don’t be worrying yourself too much.
Just keep one eye for any possible discounts and offers for college students, prepare to cut any luxuries, and look for ways to make some money.
This way you will be able to enjoy your college years without turning them into a constant concern about your expenses.
By Kerry Creaswood