How to overcome financial difficulties as an international student

Remember to prepare yourself before you pack your bags!

Studying abroad is an exciting chapter in a student’s life as it allows them to gain new opportunities, meet new friends and learn a new language.

According to data from UNESCO, before the pandemic, the number of students studying abroad from countries like Hong Kong and Indonesia were steadily increasing. There were 36,442 Hong Kong students studying abroad in 2019 and 45,000 Indonesian students in 2017.

Students in Singapore are also keen on studying abroad as it provides them with countless opportunities and experiences that they may not be able to gain when studying locally. Not to mention, employers in Singapore would actively seek graduates with international learning experiences.

Studying in another country gives students a competitive edge. But if they jump on the opportunity unprepared, they may face countless challenges.

Common challenges faced by international students

TranSwap_How to overcome financial difficulties as an international student
Cultural differences

As an international student, you are advised to learn the country’s unwritten rules to avoid doing anything that is considered offensive to the locals.

Language barrier

Not knowing how to speak the language of the country you are studying in will make you feel like an outsider and will surely pose many obstacles for you.

Financial challenges

You must understand the country’s currency and learn how to budget to stay financially stable, especially when you are alone in a foreign country.

Financial challenges that international students need to pay heed to

TranSwap_How to overcome financial difficulties as an international student
Foreign exchange rate

First things first, when studying in a foreign country, you must understand the currency and monetary differences. This is because the foreign exchange rate makes all the difference in a student’s spending habits. Students from countries with a relatively strong currency won’t have many problems but those with weaker currencies may need to learn how to spend according to their means.

Managing day-to-day finance

Students in foreign countries must be independent. As an international student, the expected expenses may include tuition fees, rent, food, transportation and many more. Scholarships can greatly ease some of your financial burdens, but if you don’t rely on scholarships, you will need to learn how to manage your finances.

Foreign transaction fees

International students rely heavily on foreign transactions to receive money from their families. But in a survey that was done by the international student payment platform, CohortGo, involving 700 international students in Australia, it was found that 49% of the respondents claimed that the foreign transactions fees are too expensive for international students and 35% of the respondents asked for more global transfer options.

Solutions to international students’ problems

TranSwap_How to overcome financial difficulties as an international student
1. Learn the currency and monetary differences

If you study in Australia, do you know how much you would receive if your family transfers you S$500? Or what is it that you can and cannot afford with the amount of money that you have? It’s crucial to know these things when going to another country. What you can do is to learn the currency differences and start planning on your finances which we will share more on next.

2. Create a budget

It’s a scary position to be in when you’re in a foreign country and run out of money. This is why international students must learn to budget and spend within their means. For a start, list down the things you are required to pay for such as tuition fees, monthly rent, phone bills, transportation, food and living expenses. Next, look at your current financial situation and decide how much you’re willing to spend and save. When planning your finances, remember to plan for emergencies and unexpected expenses too.

3. Learn how to save

Being a student far away from home, you need to learn to be more responsible and determine what you can and cannot afford. To save as much money as you can while being able to enjoy some personal spendings, you can consider sharing your living space, restrict your credit card usage, shop during sales, and even make use of your student status. Some countries provide student discounts for restaurants, movie tickets, tourism events, and more depending on where you are.

4. Use TranSwap to transfer and receive money

Instead of paying extra for expensive foreign transaction fees, TranSwap offers affordable and competitive exchange rates. With TranSwap, your family will be able to safely send money to you whenever you’re short on cash.

If you are a student from Singapore, Hong Kong, or Indonesia studying abroad, you no longer need to worry about the complexities of international money transfers or paying more for foreign transaction fees when you use TranSwap. Our platform is secure, fast, and easy to use-perfect for students (and their parents) who are looking for a hassle-free and money-saving global transaction solution.  

Let TranSwap ease your financial processes however we can so that you can study worry-free. For further enquiries, send your questions here or visit our website at Have a specific topic you would like us to cover next? Just let us know!

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