The 2017 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Winners Announced
November 22nd, 2017 by Juncal Caballero

InternationalStudent.com just announced the winners of their 12th annual Travel Video Contest! Two weeks ago the International Student Team announced the top 15 finalists, including the $1,000 Viewers’ Choice winner, Juan Sebastian Bayona Carrillo. Today, we are proud to announce the final winners have been selected. Choosing three winners among those 15 amazing videos was a difficult decision for the judges, but we are sure you will be pleased with the videos chosen. Are you ready to find out if your favorite video was chosen as one of the winners? Let’s check it out!

The $4,000 grand prize winner was Dini Restyanti  for her video “Finding My Ikigai”

Dini studied Visual Communication but even after she got her degree she never felt completely fulfilled. She was missing something in her life and that is when she realized that she needed to look for her Ikigai, which in Japanese means “a reason to wake up in the morning”. And she found it! Dini will walk away with the $4,000 grand prize to help her study animation in Japan.

The second place winner ($500) was Laura Rey for her video “Drawing My Trip”

At the age of 16, Laura decided to study Film and Television since she always felt admiration for Disney movies. Today, her biggest dream is to become a producer in the cinema industry and that is why she wants to study in Los Angeles. Laura will receive $500 to help her pursue her dream!

The third place winner ($250) was  Eliel Freer-Sullivan for his video New York, New York, My American Dream

Eliel is an aspiring musician with both vocal and musical talents. He is already studying in Atlanta but he is looking to pursue his passion by attending a music school in New York City. Watch his video and get to know his story through his song!

Congratulations to each of the winners of the 2017 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest! Next year InternationalStudent.com will host again their annual Travel Video Contest and you won’t want to miss it out! Check back September 2018 for your chance to enter the contest!


Sales Shopping
November 17th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

 

For a student on a budget there’s nothing better than sales shopping. Black Friday is here, Cyber Monday will follow shortly and Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts!

Battling the crowds in-store might sound like a nightmare but as a student you likely have to budget and there are many fantastic online deals for you to snap up over the next couple of weeks. So, think about what you want and follow our game plan for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Where to shop?

Amazon

When is Amazon ever a bad idea? The great thing about Amazon is that everything’s in one place. Also, there’s free delivery if you spend over $25! Black Friday deals last for the whole week and span across all departments.

If you’re a first-time Amazon Prime (Amazon’s premium service) user you can sign up for the free or discounted trial and get free delivery. With Prime you can also access their video, music and kindle services for free. Just make sure you cancel at the end of your free trial so you don’t get charged! Amazon makes it easy to cancel with an option through your Prime account that allows you to set up an automatic cancellation on the last day of your trial from the very first day.

n.b. It’s might be worth keeping your Prime membership if you regularly buy College books from Amazon. Think about saving further by using all the Prime services and cancelling parallel memberships such as Netflix and Spotify.

Uniqlo

Uniqlo is a great store for affordable winter-wear. With much of their heattech (thermal) clothes and winter jackets on sale this is a great place to buy all of you last minute winter warmers. Not only do you get discounts online from 17th – 22nd November 2017 but if you’re a first-time buyer they also offer a $10 discount (with a minimum spend). To save money you can collect in-store if you leave nearby, otherwise shipping is generally priced at $5.

Walmart

Maybe the king of Black Friday, Walmart offers in-store, online and in app offers across all departments. Whether you want to splash out on a TV or buy a stocking filler, there’s an option for everyone. To check out the best deals from your phone, Walmart has released a handy app (available on iOS and Android).

BestBuy

Finally, we come to BestBuy. Another tech-heavy option but with some excellent promotions for cyber Monday. There’s a huge variety here, from quirky gadgets and cheaper games to high-end consoles. This is a great shop for Christmas gifts, or something for you!

Comparison

Think about using a comparison app such as Honey or ShopSavvy. These kinds of apps provide information about the best online sales and often offer additional discounts. Honey is currently the market leader, although reviews are mixed to make sure you check the terms and conditions of any discounts you use. Shop Savvy gives you price and product comparisons for you to make your own decision on where to shop.

For the best technology deals this year check out the Wired article for reviews and price comparisons. Wired is a great source to use when searching for new technology, with reliable guidance and reviews.

Remember

  •  Remember to browse online before committing to a purchase during these sales events. As good as one promotion may look, there could be a similar deal elsewhere.
  • Always shop at reputable stores. If you’re unsure about the credibility of a website, look for online reviews before entering your personal details.
  • Don’t get carried away! Think about what you’re looking for and your budget before you start shopping. Remember who you have to buy gifts for before squandering all your cash elsewhere!

 

Have a great Holiday weekend!


The 2017 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Finalists and Viewers’ Choice Winner Announced
November 8th, 2017 by Juncal Caballero

Do you remember our post about the InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest? As you may remember, students from around the world submitted a short video sharing a proposed study abroad trip or for those already studying abroad, a trip they would like to take. The deadline was on October 13th and today we are ready to announce the the Viewers’ Choice winner along with the 14 finalist!

We are excited to announce this year’s Viewers’ Choice Award video: Making the US my new home where Sebastian Bayona. As an international student from Peru currently studying at Oklahoma State University, he shares his experience about what it means to move abroad and leave your friends, family, and home behind. He talks about how important it is to overcome homesickness, and how he’s really enjoyed the experience of making the US his new home.

Be sure to check out this great video, along with the other finalist videos. Every year, the contest gets bigger and bigger, and this year we had even more entries than last year! This year is not going to be an easy decision for our InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest judges as it’s now in their hands to choose who is going to be the winner of the 2018 Travel Video Contest. Stay tuned during International Education Week to find out who will be awarded $4,000 to help their travels abroad.

If you’re interested in entering this Travel Video Contest next year make sure you sign up to receive the latest alerts from InternationalStudent.com.


Break out of Your Comfort Zone
September 28th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

Out of Your Comfort Zone

Maybe you’ve already decided to break out of your comfort zone by applying to study abroad in the USA. But what if you could benefit even further from this opportunity? 100,000 Strong in the Americas, and other similar programs, provide great opportunities to students studying across the Americas to participate in field work abroad. This blog will give you all the information you need to know to find the right grant for you and take part in a life-changing experience.

What is 100,000 Strong? 

100,000 Strong in the Americas is an Innovation Fund that encourages students to think of new ideas and make them happen. 100,000 Strong is funded by the U.S. government, the private sector, non-profits, and foundations, including Santander and Coca Cola. These organizations have participated in this collaborative program to provide students with the opportunity to apply for grants and make their dream a reality. Students can join the community and view all grant opportunities available in countries across the Americas. If your degree focus, passion or work relates to the grants available, you can apply for the grant and could have to opportunity to join other students in field work abroad.

Why is this a good opportunity?

Just because you’ve made it to the USA to study doesn’t mean you should neglect all the other great opportunities around you. Not only can you study at a great home institution but you can apply for grants and scholarships to participate in exchanges. Applying for a grant could give you the opportunity to travel and learn more from field research. By participating in field work in a different country, you can gain valuable experience that you cannot always achieve from behind a desk. Traveling to a new country helps you to experience a new culture and way of life. Beyond this, focusing in depth on a project related to your degree can help you learn better. You will have the experience to work with other passionate students in a professional manner. Moreover, breaking out of your comfort zone can show innovation and make you a good candidate in your future professional career.

Not only will you be expanding your horizons and pushing your boundaries by participating in an exchange program, but you could be helping others. Most of the programs focus on humanitarian action such as creating innovative ways to help the environment or to support local communities. So if you think you’re the right candidate for the this type of program, you can check out the grants available on their website.

You can register free with 100,000 Strong’s Innovation Network, and are required to register to apply for any grant opportunities. By registering, all new grants will be available for you to view and apply to.

 

 


2017 Travel Video Contest – Win $4,000!
September 6th, 2017 by Jennifer Frankel

Ever dreamed of studying abroad, but find that you don’t have the money? InternationalStudent.com’s 2017 Travel Video Contest is now open, and accepting your video submissions now through October 13th. One lucky winner will go home with $4,000 USD to help them pursue their dream of studying abroad or to take a special trip during their time studying abroad.

Here’s how! To enter, submit your video of less than 4 minutes about where you want to study and why. This video contest is open to any international student, study abroad student, or student interested in studying overseas. If you are currently studying abroad, then we want to hear about the trip you want to take, and how this money will help you get there.

A video? That’s right, we want to hear your story, and trip you want to go on, in less than 4 minutes. It can be sad, silly, funny, or inspiring! Whether you are showing off your story skills, singing skills, graphic design, or animation skills, we want to hear your story. Your video should be high quality, interesting, creative and explain why you want to study abroad.

Prizes! This year’s grand prize is $4,000, and there will be other prizes as well! Second place will get $500 and third place will be awarded $250. There will also be a Viewer’s Choice Award of $1,000 – so make sure you tell your friends (voting is open from 10/18/2017-11/3/2017)!

Who is InternationalStudent.com? InternationalStudent.com has been hosting the Travel Video Contest since 2006, helping students to finance their international education. Before you get that video camera out, be sure to read the rules and regulations and meet this year’s panel of judges. You can even see previous winners to get those creative juices going!

Enter the Contest Here>>


How to approach taking out a student loan
September 1st, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

You’ve decided to take the plunge and study college abroad. But now you need a loan and don’t know where to begin! This simple guide will show you how to approach taking out a student loan.

 

What to check before committing to a loan

  1. Repayment conditions. You need to ensure that you can meet the repayment expectations when you take out a loan. Loans have a clear timeframe for repayment, which can sometimes be difficult to alter once the contract is signed. Check the terms and make sure you are prepared to meet the repayment requirements.

 

  1. Interest. The most important condition to check in your loan is the interest rate. We cannot stress this enough. While some loans might look favorable in terms of upfront money received and repayment options, they could be charging you a lot of interest. Compare the interest rates of each of the loan options to ensure you get the best rate.

 

  1. Reviews. If your taking out a loan for college then thousands of students before you have done the same. Check review sites such as Top Ten Reviews and Credit Karma to see other student experiences with the loan company you’re interested in. This can give you an insight into the perks and downfalls that the loan provider website doesn’t tell you.

 

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If the loan company offers you more money than you need don’t accept. It might be tempting to take that extra slice of cake but is it worth it? Think about long-term repayment and the stress of being in debt. Only take out what you need for college and living expenses to ensure you are gaining the most from your loan.

 

  1. Ask questions. Loan providers are there to help you as they’ve helped many before you. They’ve answered thousands of questions about student loans and can provide you with the best information about their service. If you want a lower interest rate then ask if it’s available. If you want them to talk you through the small print before you sign the contract, ask! Any loan provider that is worth your time will be helpful and supportive, won’t judge and will make the process of getting a loan straightforward.

 

Where to begin?

Now you know what to look for in a loan where should you start?

The best way to start comparing loans is to check your eligibility. To find a student loan as an international student you can use the International Student Loan search tool to see which loans you qualify for. To do this, simple select the country you’re from and the institution you want to go to. Once you’ve got the list of loan options you can compare terms and conditions to see which is right for you.

 

We hope this brief explanation has given you a basis for finding a student loan. For more information about student loans, check out the information section on International Student Loan.


Is a student loan really worth it?
August 11th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

Is a student loan worth all of the financial repercussions that follow? I know, I won’t sugarcoat it, the costs of college and studying abroad are extortionate. So, you may be asking yourself if it’s really worth taking out a student loan to cover the costs? Or, should you avoid college altogether and start working? Here’s why we believe college really is worth the cost.

Why College?

Earnings

One of the obvious reasons to pay for a college education is to be rewarded at the end. College graduates earn on average double the median income of high school graduates. While the initial investment may seem substantial, you long-term earnings will be far higher than those of people without a college education.

Employment

Unemployment rates amongst college graduates are far lower. The unemployment rate for college educated people is around half that of those with only a high school education. Think that earning money instead of spending it on college seems like a better idea? In reality, it will be significantly harder to find employment, especially in your desired field of work.

Choice of Work

Out of high school you will most likely only be able to find a job in services or low-skilled work. But if you decide down the line that you want to work in a specific industry, it will be far more difficult to find a job. You will probably have to undergo training and education just to enter into your chosen industry in a low-level position. Then, you will have to work your way up from the bottom. This could take just as long as a college degree or more. Additionally, your earnings will be low throughout this time.

However, if you specialize in a subject at college, you will have the advantage of being knowledgeable about the industry already. You will have developed the necessary skills to find a job in your desired area. College is an expensive way into your chosen industry but you will have a better opportunity at entering at a higher level. You will start in a role that will build upon your education and offer you the opportunity to develop professionally.

The College Life

Let’s forget work, salaries and long-term preparedness for a minute and think about what college actually gives you. Living away from home, living with people of your age from all different backgrounds, learning not only academic teachings but also what your interests are (what sports you like, what charity work you’re interested in, what societies capture your attention). This is the part of college that can’t be bought.

Learning about yourself and becoming a more confident, independent person, will help you in your personal life as well as supporting your performance in an interview and professionally. Although education is important, you can gain so much more than this from college. You will establish life-long connections with the people around you. You will have the opportunity to take part in hundreds of activities, learn about different cultures and adapt to a new city or country. Honestly, college is a great, albeit expensive, excuse to have the best time of your life while also preparing for professional growth.

Final thoughts

So, if you’re on the fence about going to college, explore the institutions you’re interested in. Think about what they have to offer consider the long-term benefits of attending your chosen college. Remember, you’re not just gaining an education but life experience. If you decide that college is right for you then check out at the different student loan options available to help you get there.


How to vacation on a budget
July 28th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

You suddenly have a whole summer ahead of you, you can finally breathe! Finals are over and you have so much free time you don’t know what to do with yourself. Friends are visiting home and planning their vacations, but how do they all have the money to do these things? It’s not easy, however, with a few simple steps you can stretch the last of your yearly budget to take a break this summer. So, take a vacation on a budget and forget all the studying and exams until next semester.
There are several ways you can save money on your vacation. To travel on a budget think about doing some research on your destination, managing expectations and planning. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Take your time

Never go for the first flight you find, always check out comparison sights such as Kayak and SkyScanner to see which are the cheapest routes, if a layover will reduce the cost of the flight or if there are budget airlines offering the same flights.

Think ahead

You have a whole summer ahead of you, so instead of rushing in to planning a trip a few days in advance do your research, look at airline websites to see when they have special promotions or sales and try to book during these times. If you’re not sure where you want to go then check out the cheapest flight routes and promotions to get you started, you might discover something you never knew existed.

Flexibility

You can save a fortune simply by being flexible. Most people tend to set a specific date and fit their search criteria to fixed expectations. This limits the outcome and often increases the price of the flight. Most websites allow you to select the option of +/-2 days when searching for a flight. By adapting your schedule to the flight availability, you can often reduce the cost of your trip by booking less popular flights. Now that school’s over you don’t have to fly Friday night to Sunday, meaning that you’re holding the winning hand. You can take those cheaper weekday 1pm flights that most people don’t have the right schedule to take.

Hotel alternatives

In a home

Let’s be realistic, you probably won’t be staying in a 5* hotel on your vacation if you want to eat, drink and explore while you’re away. Alternatives such as AirBnB are a lifesaver. AirBnB allows you to rent a room in a great location with the only compromise of sharing a bathroom or kitchen. If you rent with a friend you can even split the price of the room between 2, massively reducing the cost. The filters are excellent, making the search for your stay straightforward and easy to fit around your criteria. Additionally, you can check out previous reviews and the rating of the host to make sure you feel safe and secure during your stay.

Comparison sites

Just because you can’t stay in a high-end hotel doesn’t mean you can’t find a good compromise. Check out Booking.com for some incredible promotions on anything from dorms in hostels to hotels with breakfast and a pool. Other great sites include Expedia and Trivago, which offer both hotel comparisons and package trips with great promotions. Take a look around, and once you find a place you like compare between each of these websites to see which has the best deal.

Eating out

If you’re away with friends you’re likely to eat out a lot, which can be scary and make you think you always have to go for the soup or salad. There are 2 easy ways to avoid this, the first is by renting an apartment to share with your friends. By using AirBnB or local websites in your destination you can often find a place with a kitchen to cook in the apartment. I’m guessing you won’t want to stay in the whole time, but at least you can cook breakfast and keep snacks and drinks in the fridge.

If you don’t have this option then just do your research in advance. Get a guidebook or look online at Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Trip Advisor or Time Out to avoid the tourist traps. Think about alternatives to restaurants such as markets, where you can often buy fresh ingredients and eat outside. Besides, what’s the point in a vacation if you can’t enjoy the outdoors?

Entrance fees

Some costs you won’t be able to avoid. However, by doing some research in advance you can often save a lot. Find out the best museums and galleries for students – most countries have reductions on tickets for people under the age of 25. Look for outdoor activities such as parks, gardens and festivals. Also, when at the beach, find areas where you can take your own food and drinks. Avoid paying for deck chair rental by taking a towel or blanket to lay on and make the most of the outdoors.

 

Wherever you choose to go on your vacation this summer, make sure you explore the local culture and traditions, take in your surroundings (simply walking around a city all day can uncover some great surprises and help you stumble across hidden gems), and enjoy your break from college.


5 Ways to Stretch your Student Loan Further
July 13th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

We all know being a college student means studying, trying out new activities, exploring local culture, partying, basically saying yes to everything offered, right? But how is it that everyone seems to have to money to say yes to everything? These simple 5 steps will help you to stretch your student loan further without having to turn down all the amazing opportunities surrounding you.

    1. Join Facebook groups – what you have to understand is that you’re not the only one. If you’re feeling the pressure to get involved but don’t have the money to spend then thousands of other students are feeling the same way!

A great way to meet like-minded people, learn about local and free events, and explore some alternative options to those being offered on campus, is to join a Facebook group. There is a wide array of groups from the Harry Potter appreciation society or the birdwatching club, to class and college based groups. Each of these groups will have students sharing ideas, events, and generally seeking to socialize in a student-based environment. The great thing about Facebook is that you can see public groups and events, you can follow stories, share ideas, put ‘interested’ in an event without having to pay or attend, just to scope out your options. Additionally, you can join private groups that are full of other students in the area, many with similar student budgets.

  1. Shop smart – if your main restriction to getting involved in student activities is your budget, then be smart in other areas of your student life, like shopping.
    Grocery shopping is a great place to stretch your money without missing out. A few simple rules could save you a fortune over your time in college:

    • Never go shopping when you’re hungry! This is a sure way to give into your cravings and head straight to the Oreo section. (This will also help if you’re trying to balance being a student with maintaining a healthy lifestyle!)
    • Make a list and try to shop once a week – to avoid impulse buys and make sure you have a plan for food throughout the week. It will help you to avoid ordering last minute take-out.
    • Don’t eat out! Ok, maybe now and again after a long day in classes when you just don’t want to cook, but try to avoid it by buying food that you can prepare quickly and easily for those times.
    • Go generic – do you really need those Lays chips and Coca Cola? Maybe you do need the occasional treat, but for the most part why not try the generic alternatives and test the water?
    • Finally, check out the reduced sections, learn the times that stock is reduced each day and make use of your freezer! You can get some incredible deals on meat, fish and other expensive items if you watch these zones.
  1. Avoid buying all the memberships before you decide what you really want.

In a world of sports and societies it might be tempting to join them all, with the best intention of attending every soccer practice, film society showing, hiking trip etc. However, once the semester kicks into gear and you’re attending classes, studying, socializing, working out or whatever your routine happens to be, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep up with all those societies. Sample as many options as possible for free over the first couple of weeks of semester to see what fits best. And remember, spending time outdoors is a great way to get some free exercise!

  1. Student discounts – one of the best perks of being a student, and something I promise you’ll sorely miss once it’s gone, is student discount.

Just by having your student ID card you’re ahead of the game and can access a wide number of student discounts from shopping to activities. Big companies are all jumping on the promotional bandwagon including, Amazon, Sam’s Club, Greyhound, STA Travel and Verizon. Student discounts are also a fantastic way to support your education with companies such as Apple and Microsoft offering discounts on laptops and other technology. For events and shopping simply search online for student discounts in your local area or check out UNiDAYS for national offers.

  1. Don’t overspend on educational items. Ultimately you’re at college to learn, however, having a brand-new version of every book on the syllabus for each class simply isn’t necessary.

Firstly, many students before you have made this mistake. That means there is a whole bunch of second-hand (barely touched) books waiting for you to snap them up for half the price. Also try Amazon if you can’t find what you’re looking for on campus. For some books, you might only need to read one chapter and will then cast it aside. Approach your professors, ask what books are vital to buy and what you can find online or photocopy in the library. Finally, think about alternative options such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program if you’re likely to need quick access to a number of resources.

If you think that college life might be for you, just take a look at the wide variety of student loans being offered to support your experience. And remember, college is not only about getting an education but about gaining life experience, so use these tips to go out and get involved!


2016 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Winners Announced
November 21st, 2016 by Jennifer Frankel

mariana-osorioWe are proud to announce this year’s InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Winners for 2016. With 159 entries, it was a difficult decision for the judges. The caliber of the videos this year were exceptional, and reflected the talent and creativity from students around the world. After much deliberation, we are excited to announce:

$4,000 Grand Prize Winner: Mariana Osorio with “This Magic World”

Second Place Winner: Siti Fatimah with “Dream, Believe, and Make it Happen”

Third Place Winner: Michael de Beer with “The Urban Archi”

Congratulate our new winners as they take home their prizes and be sure to also check out the Viewer’s Choice Award winner, Marifer & Carlos, on their video, “A Couple of MBA’s.”

Follow this year’s winner, Mariana, as she writes about her experience as an international student in New York. She will be blogging this year on her very own Study in the USA blog, so be sure to take a look and connect with her.