If you are currently planning to be a college student in the U.S. or if you already attend a U.S. college, you have probably thought about one of the most important expenses that all students face — food.
Feeding yourself in college can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to living independently. You have to plan when you’re going to eat and where your meal is going to come from. You also need to determine how you intend to pay for it — all while still trying to remain healthy so you can keep up with a demanding schedule and course load.
So how can you not only effectively plan to eat, but also pay for it? Here are some tips:
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Going to college is tough. Going to college in another country is even tougher. But if that means studying in one of the best schools the U.S. has to offer, why not take the chance?
Besides, most U.S. colleges are pretty accommodating of international students. Aside from the usual student support programs (like mentorships, meal plans and on-campus employment), they also offer these services tailored specifically to students from outside the U.S.
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Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. has a pretty big emphasis on car culture. The country has always been car-obsessed, and recently a study showed that the U.S. has a record four cars for every five of its citizens.
Unless you’re in a city like New York or Washington D.C., the infrastructure for public transportation is lacking — if it even exists at all. However, attending college in the U.S. without a car is still doable without public transport. Here are some ways to manage it.
Ask a Friend
You can always ride shotgun with one of your friends — or if none of your friends have cars, make a new friend. There are colleges where over 90 percent of students have cars on campus. There’s sure to be someone else you can find who wants to go to the same place you do or has tickets for the same event. If you still have trouble finding someone, you can always offer a few bucks for gas money or to do the person a favor in return for a ride.
This definitely shouldn’t be abused, though. You don’t want to be known as the person who’s always asking people for rides. Americans do love their cars, and while they love to have an excuse to drive around, it’s bound to get old after awhile.
These days, ridesharing apps are just as important as our social media apps and profiles. With the recent rise of the ridesharing app, there are tons to choose from to help get you around. If you need to run errands and don’t have a friend to help out, these apps give you an affordable and accessible option.
These apps also give you the freedom to have more of a life off-campus. Though it’s guaranteed that things will almost always be happening on-campus, this is helpful if you want to go see a concert downtown or attend other events.
Ridesharing apps are becoming a more popular way for college students to earn extra cash, too, so there’s bound to be multiple cars to choose from in your area.
Walking or Biking
In a lot of college towns, there are amenities a short distance away because they want the college students as customers. If what you need can be found at a grocery store or Wal-Mart, then chances are it’s within walking or biking distance.
Walking and biking aren’t a permanent solution, though, as those can depend on the weather. But when it’s nice enough, they’re a great solution. They not only help with your health, but that of the environment as well.
While most places in the U.S. don’t have the infrastructure they should, there’s still usually at least something there to help you out. If you look on your school’s website, there will often be a schedule for campus-run buses or shuttles. Schools usually have these to travel from farther away dorms to campus, or from campus into town for students to stock up on supplies.
If you want to go a bit farther than the school shuttle is going to take you, look into what public transportation your city does offer. Even if they only have a few bus routes, they still may be able to take you where you want to go.
The travel culture in America can impact you as well. Road trips are a huge college staple. They’re known as a traditional coming-of-age ritual, so they’re definitely popular around this time in students’ lives. Road trips are always an amazing experience, so you should jump on the opportunity if one arises.
However, make sure the group you’re going with knows the importance of planning and budgeting. When my friends and I went on a cross-country road trip, we were so focused on the exciting parts of the trip that we didn’t figure in how much money we would need for everything on the drive. We ended up staying in a casino’s 24-hour café to take a rest from the road.
Cars can be awesome, but they don’t have to be a necessity. There are plenty of ways to get around off-campus without having a car yourself — it’s one less thing to worry about, too!
One of the benefits of working an on-campus job when you’re an international student is that you get a great feel for the culture. You’ll make new friends, learn how things are done in the U.S. and earn some spending money.
Still, the most authentic experience you’ll have after working on campus is filing taxes with the rest of America. The tax forms, which need to be filed to the Internal Revenue Service by April 18, can be a little confusing even to people who have filed in the past. Here’s how to do it. Read the rest of this entry »
“There’s no place like home” is a popular saying in the U.S.
Studying in the U.S. is a great opportunity, but heading home to visit friends and family is especially exciting. No matter how much you’re enjoying your time in the U.S., it’s normal to feel some homesickness.
Before you go back to your home country, there are a few things to keep in mind before getting on the flight. These are easy to overlook, as you’ll likely have lots of other things on your mind as you prepare for the trip. These four tips will help make your trip a whole lot easier. Read the rest of this entry »
Are you thinking that attending university in the U.S. is right for you, but you don’t know where to begin? The transferring process may seem daunting, so it’s easy for a prospective student to get overwhelmed.
But don’t let that uncertainty keep you from following your dreams — as long as you do your research and cover your bases, a U.S. college education is absolutely within your grasp. No matter where you’re thinking of going, look through these four points, and you’ll have a solid foundation for preparing for your U.S. college education:
Get Your Test Prep in Order
U.S. colleges use the results of standardized tests to compare applicants from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Colleges will accept either SAT or ACT results — which one is best for you depends on a number of factors, like your need for the deeper science and math testing of the ACT, or the literary focus of the SAT.
If you’re coming from a non-English speaking country, most universities will also require your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) results, so be sure to prepare for and schedule those as early as possible if you haven’t yet. There is a limited number of test dates every year. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s no secret U.S. colleges and universities are expensive. Whether you’re from inside or outside the country, the cost of higher education here can break any student’s bank. That’s why you need scholarships and the like, especially if you’re an international student. Read on to learn how to navigate the financial aid process at US schools.
The good news is you have plenty of options. They’re so plentiful, in fact, your head will spin by just going through them. Every school has its own criteria for awarding financial aid, so it makes shopping for scholarships confusing.
Still, you can make your search a little bit easier. For example, you can read the guide below, follow the tips mentioned and cut down on time spent worrying about finances. If you’re ready to hear — or rather, read — more, here we go.
Are you eyeing a particular school? If yes, check their official website. Look for their “Scholarship/Financial Assistance” section, and see whether they have anything for students from outside the U.S.
For example, Harvard University has several scholarships for international students. Some of them are awarded based on what country the students are from. Others are based on the program they’re enrolled in. A few depend on both.
But even if your school doesn’t offer these types of financial aid, don’t worry. You can still choose between merit-based scholarships, athletic scholarships and scholarships for those who show promise in dance, music, etc. Don’t be afraid to consider these and see whether they’re a fit for you. Read the rest of this entry »
The decision to study overseas is a great one. It will expand your horizons and open up potential career opportunities. It’s also going to be a lot of fun, but you already know all this, right?
What you may not know is how exactly to get the funding you need to study in another country. It’s a tricky situation, as it’s not always possible to get a loan in the U.S. for a university outside the country. There are, however, a few options to look into that can help make studying overseas possible. Some are easier than others, but all of them might be useful as you plan your studies.
Work Through Your University
The first thing to do is to decide what your plan is for studying overseas. If you’re looking for a shorter time abroad — typically a year or less — check with your university to see what study abroad programs are available. This way you can continue using whatever funding you have available, such as loans or scholarships.
Study abroad programs are typically geared for short stays in the country while providing lots of support to students. However, it might be not as immersive as you’d like. If you’re thinking of studying for a longer time, you’ll probably have to apply to a university outside of your current school.
Before doing that, though, it’s still worth checking in with your current school’s finance department. They might not be able to help, but they could know of some ways to obtain the funding you need. Read the rest of this entry »
Student loans are an integral part of college, especially in a country like the U.S. where tuition rates are sky high. However, international students are at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining loans to help pay tuition. Federal loans are off the table and can only be acquired by citizens. However, more and more private loans are becoming available to international students. This is great news, as are some important benefits from obtaining student loans. Here are the benefits of student loans when you’re an international student:
- They Fill the Gap That Scholarships Cannot
If you’re studying internationally, hopefully you’ve scoured all available options for scholarships. Many universities will have opportunities for you, while some are known for being extremely generous to their international students. Getting your education fully funded is still unlikely unless you’re one of the absolute top students in your class.
Student loans aren’t merit based, so anyone attending an eligible school can potentially receive what they need to pay for school regardless of their grades. However, if you’re looking to go to school in the U.S., you’ll need a co-signer who’s either a permanent resident or a citizen. Your home country might also have some financial aid for international students; do a search for those.
Regardless, having to pay back loans is a lot less fun than receiving the money outright in a scholarship. Don’t fret – this brings us to the next benefit of student loans. Read the rest of this entry »
Many colleges in the United States are making a big push to recruit international students to come and study. The sad truth is that this isn’t always an effort to diversify the campus. At some colleges, this is done to bring in more money. Unfortunately, international students often pay a lot more than U.S. citizens for the privilege of attending university thanks to fewer resources at their disposal.
Hope isn’t lost, however. While foreign students are at a disadvantage, financial aid is still available in different forms if you’re willing to look for it.
Tuition in the United States can be outrageously expensive at more than $50,000 a year. As shocking as that price is, discounts can be had through merit-based scholarships. According to U.S. News & World Report, 375 of ranked universities offered scholarships to international undergraduate students in the 2013-14 school year. The average amount of these scholarships was $18,790.
Some of the most generous scholarships came from the most prestigious universities in the country, such as Yale University – $56,630 average in aid to 349 students – and Harvard – $51,854 average in aid to 540 students. Read the rest of this entry »