Master's in Architecture
15th Apr 2024
Afia Azmi

Navigating Currency Exchange and Banking Abroad: A Student's Guide

One of the most crucial things that students planning to study abroad need to remember is the exchange of currencies. Handling money while studying abroad can be difficult, particularly for students unfamiliar with exchange rates and the nation's local currency. In this blog, we'll cover everything for students planning to study abroad to learn about currency exchange and banking.

Understanding Currency Exchange

Currency exchange is the conversion of one currency into another. For example, an Indian student studying in the US will have to exchange Indian Rupees for US Dollars to pay for tuition, living expenses, and other expenditures. Several variables, such as the demand and supply for different currencies, current geopolitical situations, and economic data, cause daily variations in currency exchange rates. Because of this, it's critical to monitor currency rates and ensure you're getting the best value.

Why do Students have to Exchange Currency?

Paying fees and other expenses at a foreign exchange rate is the first source of distress for any student who wants to study abroad.

Here are some reasons why they need to exchange currency -

  • Students usually submit applications to 5 to 6 universities of their choice; some even charge an application fee.
  • After getting an offer letter, students must apply for a visa and pay tuition fees, which can be paid in full or in part using a wire transfer.
  • Students require foreign cash overseas for daily costs.
Currency Exchange Tips for Students Planning on Study Abroad

International students studying abroad must understand the currency exchange procedure to ensure they get the best value for their money.

The following are some crucial tips for currency exchange and cost-saving strategies to keep in mind while foreign currency exchange -

  • It's important to be aware of the current exchange rates for any currency before exchanging. Monitoring the constantly fluctuating exchange rates is crucial to ensure you get the best possible price.
  • Students need to make an effort to compare exchange rates offered by various companies. It is crucial to remember that when selecting a currency exchange company, the exchange rate is one of the most significant factors to consider.
  • In order to apply to an abroad university of choice, students may need to travel overseas for preliminary steps. Instead of converting money at the airport, it makes sense to be a little more proactive and exchange money beforehand.
  • Upon arrival, prioritise opening a local bank account to streamline transactions and avoid hefty currency exchange fees.
  • Opt for payment methods with minimal transaction fees, such as using local debit cards or online payment platforms, to maximise your savings.
  • Because of transaction fees and unfavourable currency rates, using an ATM to take out cash while doing your study abroad might be costly. It's usually a good idea to avoid using ATMs and to have a variety of foreign currency notes on hand for smaller purchases and a foreign card for higher amounts.
  • Install mobile banking apps to track expenses, manage budgets, and monitor currency fluctuations effortlessly.
  • Before moving, students need to budget and estimate their spending for the whole visit. This could include travel, entertainment, accommodation, food, and overseas education costs. Calculating the necessary cash and setting aside a certain budget for the total duration of the stay is helpful.
  • Stay updated on financial regulations and policies in your host country to adapt your financial strategies accordingly and avoid potential pitfalls.
  • Unreliable currency exchange firms could tack on extra costs, including commissions, transaction fees, and servicing fees. Before completing a purchase, it's critical for students to understand the costs related to the currency exchange.
  • There are several abroad university grants, bursaries, and scholarships abroad that can help. These provisions are mostly need-based or merit-based. You can look for suitable scholarships abroad before or while applying to the college of your choice and combine them with your education loan.
  • Opt for a part-time job for financial stability.
  • Choose the right education loan if needed at a low interest rate. You can get an educational loan from government financial institutions, private and public banks, NBFCs, and new-age edtech lenders.

If you are still trying to figure out how to manage finances while studying abroad, check out this comprehensive guide for international students.

Choosing the Right Currency Exchange Provider

Students travelling overseas have several options for exchanging currencies: banks, internet exchange marketplaces, and local money changers. Every choice has benefits and drawbacks.

Here is an overview:

Banks: Although they sometimes impose high costs and provide unfavourable exchange rates, banks are a dependable and secure choice for students wishing to exchange currencies.

Local Money Changers: Also referred to as bureaux de change or currency exchange kiosks, local money changers are frequently seen in airports and overseas. Although some might be dishonest or have additional costs, students should still be cautious even though they may offer competitive pricing.

Online Currency Exchange Platforms: Students can opt for reliable online foreign exchange providers offering competitive exchange rates. It can be a cost-effective, digital and paperless way to exchange currency.

Why is it Important for Students to Avoid Currency Exchange Scams?

Unfortunately, currency exchange scams are prevalent, especially in foreign countries and airports. Scammers may offer attractive rates or promise to waive the fees, but they can easily trick gullible students into giving them more money than they should.

Here are some tips:

  • Avoid exchanging money with unknown people or unlicensed money changers.
  • Count the money carefully and make sure to receive the correct amount.
  • Keep transaction receipts and report suspicious activity, if any, to authorities.

One of the most important aspects of your financial preparation as an international student is handling currency conversion and foreign banking costs. Understanding currency rates, selecting the best banking options, and cutting costs will help you make the most of your financial resources and have a stress-free academic experience. You may maximise your study abroad experience by carefully organising your finances and obtaining the necessary financial resources. For personalised guidance and expert assistance in navigating the intricacies of studying abroad, consider consulting Azent Overseas Education, a leading study abroad counselling service. With Azent's comprehensive support, you can confidently embark on your academic journey with financial peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Tuition, housing, everyday expenditures, travel, and leisure activities can all be paid for with your money while overseas.

To efficiently manage your study abroad money, keep track of exchange rates, evaluate foreign exchange possibilities, budget your costs, register a local bank account, and look into scholarships.

The quantity of cash you carry for study abroad is determined by your destination, length of stay, daily costs, and access to banking services. It's best to bring a mix of cash, cards, and traveler's checks.

When travelling overseas, put money in a safe travel wallet or money belt, use a mix of cash and cards, notify your bank about your vacation intentions to avoid card bans, and keep emergency funds separate.

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