Oh, the excitement of exploring a new country while pursuing your studies!
Studying overseas is a unique and exciting experience. There is a certain sense of accomplishment you gain when living away from your familiar surroundings, managing your expenses, and most importantly taking care of yourself.
We’re sure many of you are excited to experience the thrill of studying overseas for the first time ever. And guess what? Currently, around 23,715 Singaporean students are studying overseas.
That’s amazing, isn’t it?
Here are some of the top 5 things that as a Singaporean student you should know before embarking on your overseas adventure.
1. Be sure that your Accommodation is secure
Certainly, one of the first things you would wonder about is where you will be staying, who will you be staying with, and what the costs would be.
There are different types of accommodations ranging from student dormitories to homestays and apartments.
Want to explore the city more closely though? You can look for accommodation on campus, and on websites advertising rental accommodation.
While looking for accommodation calculate your study overseas course duration. Planning to study overseas for more than a semester or two? Then keep an eye out for cheaper and better accommodation once you have arrived at your destination.
2. Be well-acquainted with the exchange currency rates
Here’s another important factor. Before deciding to study overseas, you’ll definitely want to look for exchange rates and exchange currency when it’s at its lowest compared to the Singapore dollar.
Moreover, don’t base your expenditure on the currency value that you viewed a few months back. The expenses are likely to vary. It might go higher when it’s actually time to leave for the country due to the devaluation of the currency or economy instability.
So, calculate your estimate based on the current value of the currency to find the overall expenses. You can rely on your Singaporean ATM card to withdraw cash in the short-term, but the ATM fees will start to add up.
3. Don’t forget your Health insurance arrangements!
When you study overseas, the healthcare system is one vital thing for any student. As it is popularly said, ‘Health is wealth’, and is the most vital thing for any student going overseas.
Apart from applying for scholarships, visa-related procedures, it is equally important to apply for healthcare. On the basis of your student status, you may be entitled to free or subsidized healthcare.
If you already have health insurance, visit your bank and let them know where you are travelling to and get all the necessary prescriptions in advance.
For instance, as an international student in the UK, you are qualified to receive the benefits of the UK’s National Health Services (NHS).
The best part is, if your study duration is for six months or longer, you will have access to the NHS. Under the NHS you will receive the same benefits as UK citizens which include free treatment.
You can look into private insurance as well as an additional option as the public healthcare system may take longer days for the result.
4. Inform your bank about your overseas plans / Know how the banks function overseas
Informing your bank about your study overseas plan is necessary and important. So, once you have made your decision, do contact your bank or the credit card company a few days before you leave your country.
Aside from informing, be smart and keep yourselves informed as well.
Know how credit and debit cards work, or which ones are permissible, how it functions, etc., overseas as you will definitely want to open a bank account. Most likely, if you have an account in a multinational bank, the bank will usually have its ATMs in your host country or at most, have regional partners there.
You can learn more about this before you leave overseas because some universities will also have on-campus bank branches where you can sign up for an account.
5. Learn about the student memberships
Want to know more about the other ways of saving money as an international student? The good thing is that most countries are very forthcoming about international students who seek to pursue their study abroad dreams in their country. This is exactly where student memberships come into the picture.
For instance, the UK provides a National Union of Students (NUS) card, which will give you discounts on everything from retail outlets to deliveries. This simply makes your student life a lot easier!
The value of pursuing education overseas can’t be measured! You’ll be gone only for a few years but the experience that you’ll bring back (or not, as you may even settle!) will enrich your life for years.
You will definitely gain a different perspective on the great, big world we live in at the end of your course.