Guide Book:

How to Finance Your Study Abroad Program


 

With Workplaces going global, companies are on the lookout for employees with who understand global markets and can leads teams in multicultural settings. Study abroad programs are the stepping stones for students to transform themselves into culturally sensitive employees with acumen to deal with international challenges.

It is not surprising that the popularity of these programs has been cumulatively growing every year. In fact, according to UNESCO, the amount of international students abroad has been increasing by roughly 12 percent each year in the 21stcentury.

An international degree can be one of your most prized professional assets in the current economy, yet there is a vast majority of students who are apprehensive of taking up this option due to monetary constraints.

It is true that study abroad programs are not exactly pocket friendly, but with the host of funding options available, they are certainly affordable.  More than half the students give up the idea of studying abroad just because the whole research process of funding options is too comprehensive and tedious.

The objective of this guidebook is to present the extensive research on various student funding options in a structured format so that you can weigh your study abroad chances realistically.


Contents

 

 

CHAPTER 1:

Education Loans – A Smart Investment, Not Student Debt


The primary benefit of student loans is that they make education accessible to all so that you do not have to settle for a lesser option.

It is also a more structured and credible format of raising funds than other alternatives like selling assets, borrowing from friends & family.

Moreover, once you are financially secure, you can easily pay back your debt.However, student loans do have their own set of contingencies & one must do a thorough study before jumping right into it.

The below analysis will help you in understanding the utility of education loans better:

 

 

PROS & CONS OF EDUCATION LOANS 


An education loan can be your passport to your dream career, but there are certain things you need to weigh before you reach out for a loan form.

A loan structure depends upon your purchasing power and future plans; hence it is a student loan is a highly personalized decision. You cannot just pick a plan based

on what your friend or relative suggests.

Since it will have long-term implications on your paycheck, consider the following pros and cons associated with an education loan to make an informed decision.

 

|Pros

Tax Benefits

Many countries provide tax benefits against student loans, although the clauses may vary with each country.

Schemes For Minority Communities

Women and minority communities often get the benefits of subsidies & special condition on their education loans.

This move is adopted worldwide to encourage under-represented sections of the society.

Gets you closer to securing your future

An education degree can literally change your life – it gets you a chance to live your dream career, secure your future and increase your standard of living.

A student loan can be used to not just cover the tuition costs but also the ancillary expenses involved like laptop and study material.

Flexible Payment Period

Banks offer several repayment packages in terms of the collaterals and tenure.

Education loans have better and simpler terms & conditions as compared to the traditional counterparts like home loans & vehicle loans. Most nationalized banks do not charge a security deposit as in other cases.

They are designed to include lower interest rates and flexible repayment periods.

Deferment of repayments is a key benefit here. Meaning, Students are not required to start the repayment during the tenure of their studies.

The payback process generally starts after a stipulated period of acquiring a job.

|Cons

Dependence on degree completion

Education loan can prove to be a massive pressure if the student is unable to complete his education due to some unanticipated circumstance.

Inability to analyze the risks

Due to insufficient knowledge about loan procedures and finance jargons, a student may not be able to fully comprehend the risks and the responsibilities involved.

Optimistic Budget

Many students prepare an optimistic budget of their education expenses and end up accounting for more money than what they actually need.

Once the student starts college, it is hard to monitor the surplus money which in turn adds up to the debt amount.

Payment Defaults

Professional life also has its own share of expenses. It can be anything ranging from contribution to household expenses, conveyance charges or even a co-worker’s birthday present. Since a percentage of your paycheck will go into the re-payment scheme, many of you are under-prepared for managing their day-to-day finances.

Recurring payment defaults in your education loan will lead to penalty charges or graver consequences if the defaults are not fixed.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EDUCATION LOANS BETTER?


A study abroad program means hectic schedules. Apart from your coursework, you will find yourself occupied with extra-curriculars and internships.

In such a scenario, it is very easy to lose track of your budgeting and the loan repayment plans that you might be diligently made at the beginning of your term.
Below are some tested tips that will ensure that you have a strong hold over your money even amidst your busy schedule.

 Use Technology To Manage Your Finances

There are many applications like Mint, PocketBudget & check that help you keep a track of your budget.

As they are specially designed for students, most of them are for free!

 


 Have someone to help you stick to a budget

Be accountable to a family member or a trusted person while attending college.

Since the repayment period commences after completion of the degree, you might tend to be a little reckless with money during your student years.

Having someone to monitor your expenses will help you in avoiding unnecessary splurges that will only add to your debt.

 


A Balanced Budget

Account for each & every expense involved during your study tenure, however minor or major they might be.

Account for all your personal savings and any allowances that you might be receiving during your study tenure.

Compare both the figures and arrive at a realistic amount that you will need in debt.

This will help you in avoiding applying for surplus money as well as leave you well- provided -for during the college years.

 


Plan your Re-payment schedule before sitting for placements

Once you have an idea about the amount and the number of installments that you need to make to clear off your debt, it will give you an idea of what your earning capacity should be after you graduate.

This will not only motivate you to push your grades up, but you will know exactly how much to negotiate your salary for with your prospective employers

EDUCATION LOANS CHECKLIST


What to look out for while applying for an education loan:

Before you sign off on the loan form, remember that Education loans are a long-term responsibility. An over-looked factor can result into years of liability. Use this checklist to make sure that you are not missing in on any important aspect of managing your student loans.

 

 The Lending Bank’ Credibility

Make sure that the lending bank, be it government or private, is credible, legitimate & fully recognized.

Do not fall into the trap of ‘new & upcoming’ banks who try to lure in customers with unrealistic benefits.

 


 Interest Rates

It is one of the most critical factors to consider while applying for a loan.

Since the loan amount increases cumulatively, even a point difference in the interest rate will make a huge difference to your final repayment amount.

Almost every country has an online service like BankRate that can compare bank interest rates online.

Also, check if the interest rate is going to remain constant throughout the repayment period or is it subject to change with the market trends.


 Terms & Conditions

Thoroughly analyze the repayment terms & conditions, including the clauses for pre-payments, missed payments and consideration for exigent circumstances.

Earlier, a few Asian banks used to charge a penalty on prepayment but that has been debunked to encourage more student loans.

So, confirm with your lending bank where you stand on the subject.

Check for what kind of course of action the bank adopts if the student is unable to pay as per schedule due to any kind of demanding circumstances like non-placement.


Clauses regarding person of authority

In case you are working abroad after your studies, check with the lending bank if you can nominate a person of authority to complete any formalities that may arise during the course of repayment (Such as loan closure) on your behalf.


Collateral Requirement

Collateral is required to mitigate the risk involved in the loan.

Most nationalized banks have set a limit on the maximum amount against which no collateral is required.

In all other cases, a third-party (usually the student’s parents) are the joint borrowers in the credit.

Make a note of what collaterals are required and what kind of rate of interest is offered against them.


The above pointers will help you make an informed decision about taking an education loan as you will be equipped with complete knowledge about the benefits and responsibilities associated with it.

CHAPTER 2:

Actionable Tips To Get Scholarships


What are Scholarships and why are they awarded

Scholarships are financial awards designed to help students pay for their education.

They are awarded on the basis of excellent performance in a particular field.

They do not fall under the category of student loans; hence they do not have to be paid back.

Why Scholarships Are More Than Financial Aid ?

Scholarships have many in-built benefits apart from financial aid.

There is a lot of prestige & recognition associated with them which will be forever be a part of the candidate’s resume.

Since they are earned on the basis of merit, employers tend to look at scholarships as endorsements of the candidate’s capacity & credibility.

What Are Your Odds Of Getting Selected ?

Scholarships tend to have cut -throat competition hence the selection  rate is pretty low.

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|Key Scholarship Winning Skills/Qualities

Focused Goal

You need to justify how you intend to use your university degree to get closer to your goal.

Your goal should be solid & realistic, not something arbitrary that is conjured just for the sake f the application.

It need to follow the path of idea-intent-action process.

The admissions committee can easily identify if your academic & non-academic performance reflects your career path.

Strong Academics

Your academic transcript will  reflect your knowledge and hold over a subject & hence a good GPA will open doors to higher-ranked colleges and subsequently better career opportunities.

You need not be a topper, but your overall score should be above average.

Certain scholarships have a minimum criterion for academic scores so be sure to check the cap criteria.

Work Experience

It is no secret that admissions panel as well as employers favour students with work experience over the others.

Why?

Your practical projects are the real  indicators of your subject knowledge. Your work experience will endorse that you are not only a good planner but an effective implementer as well.

In the professional world, it all comes down to execution.

Additionally, work experience gives you the benefit of getting recommendation letters from your clients, colleagues and employers ; and a good recommendation letter can do wonders for your scholarship application.

Work experience encompasses full time & part time roles, internships, fellowships virtual projects and research experiences.

Community Development Contribution

You will have to showcase your aptitude for social development.

You profile should include a non-profit/not-for-profit/non-government/CSR project.

It can be anything from raising funds to teaching an under-privileged section of society.

You can even volunteer your skills for a social organization.

Eg: In case you have an aptitude for designing, you could volunteer to create a website for a non-profit.

Leadership Acumen

It is a much-favored quality in applicants as the panel prefers students who can take the ownership of an idea and turn it into reality.

Your leadership activities can be demonstrated by taking up presidential/ vice-presidential roles in your school’s student club or youth societies, starting your own venture or initiating a campaign.

Extra-curricular Activities

Inclusive of non-academic interests such as athletics, music, dance, arts & drama, etc.

Extra-curricular activities not only expose students to a diverse range of interests but are also instrumental in developing their people skills, multi-tasking abilities and  resilience.

Eg : Athletics help in developing team spirit and condition one’s mind to remain calm even under pressing circumstances.

Rewards & Recognition

Awards and honorary certifications that endorse your capacity to excel amongst the competition.

It states that you have not limited yourself to participation, but have gone all the way to create an impact.

|Popular Scholarships By Type

Merit Scholarships

Considered to be the most competitive type of scholarships, they are awarded to candidates showing highest level of academic excellence.

Candidates must demonstrate excellence in a particular field of interest.

Examples:

Average Academic Scholarships

It is awarded on the premise that extra-ordinary grades are not the only yardstick for judging a candidate’s performance in the real world.

Such scholarships are awarded to students who may not have high grades but display their acumen in the form of unique talents, leadership activates, etc.

Examples:

1.AXA-Equitable Scholarship

2.Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

3.Collegiate Inventors Competition

Minority Scholarships

They are designed to encourage diversity by providing opportunities for the under-represented sections of the society.

It will be different for each country as the context of minority groups varies from region to region.

Examples

1.African American Scholarships (U.S.A, China)

2.Adelante! Fund Gilbert G. Pompa Memorial Scholarship

3.Reach Oxford Scholarships (UK)

Women Scholarships

This can be considered to be a sub-set of minority scholarships.

A result of the parity difference between men & women that still exists in almost every country, education institutions and work-places have been dominated by men since centuries.

Women scholarships are awarded to bridge the gender gap.

Examples

1.American Association of University Women offers 6 types of grants for women scholars

2.Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

3.Margret MacNamara Memorial Fund

Need-Based Scholarships

Here, a candidate’s financial need is taken into consideration along with his/her achievements.

Students often confuse need & merit based Scholarships.

Merit based Scholarships are awarded primarily on the basis of a candidate’s talent.

Assuming need is not a condition.

Examples

1.Unmet Need Scholarship Program

2.Gates Millennium Scholars

3.Abercrombie & Fitch Scholarship Program

Community Development Scholarships

It is awarded to candidates showcasing high aptitude for social responsibility & dedication community development initiatives.

1.Bonner Scholars Program

2.The Do Something Awards

3.National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)

Creative Scholarships

They are typically awarded in the areas arts, drama, and music.

1.Adobe Creativity Scholarship

2.Aerosmith Scholarship (Music)

3.Chase AHRC Studentship

Athletic Scholarship

It is a form of Scholarship awarded to students principally on the basis of excelling in a particular sport.

Athletes avail a full/ partial tuition waiver and are required to balance their training with their academics while attending university.

Examples:

1.Manchester University’s Focus Sport Scholarship

    2.National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

CHAPTER 3:

Graduate Assistantships


Managing finances and ever-rising pressure of being a student is one of the supreme challenges of student life which almost all the students face at some point of time in their career. Students look for grants, scholarships and some are even ready to do some part-time jobs in the limited time they have after completing their studies. However, there is a much better way to support yourself financially, to do something related to your own profession and to learn new things in course of earning money that we are going to discuss with you in this blog.

Graduate Assistantship

Graduate assistantship is a supportive role provided to the students to complement and support the teaching work of professors and universities. In other words, assistantship may be defined as form of funding in lieu of which a student works as an assistant to some professors or lecturers in a university. The financial aid can be full or partial exemption of the tuition fees and is a very good opportunity for the students to accumulate some valuable professional knowledge and to polish the teaching skills.

Now, the Graduate Assistantship can be of various types depending upon the role which has to be played by the student during assistantship. Let’s have a look at the types of Graduate Assistantship in detail.

 

Types of Graduate Assistantship


There are basically three types of Graduate Assistantship depending on the profile of the work which are to be discussed here. They are:

RESEARCH ASSISTANTSHIP (RA)

Research Assistantship is provided to the students to help in the research work which is going on under the leadership of a specific professor. A research assistant is supposed to help the professor and other research personnel in whatever way he can.

Usually, the work involves recording and collection of data related to the research project, analysis of recorded data to come with preliminary reports. Along with this, a research assistant is also supposed to attend seminars and present the findings of the research along with detailed analysis in the seminars. So, the RA gets the overall knowledge of almost all the work associated with research.

The benefits of research assistantship are not limited to tuition fee waiver or monetary compensation in the form of stipend. The biggest benefit is getting first-hand knowledge of all the research work which may be used to positive effect for personal research work in future.

TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP (TA)

Teaching Assistantship is completely different from RA. A TA is entrusted with the job of assisting the teacher in lectures, by checking the home assignments and marking them, checking examination papers, interacting with students and taking classes if and when required. The Teaching Assistant may also be entrusted to take laboratory classes and helping the students to clear their concept and practical knowledge.

So, this type of assistantship is suitable for those who are willing to take up a career in lectureship or professorship. Along with fee waiver or stipend, it is good opportunity to garner some teaching experience.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTSHIP (AA)

Administrative Assistantship is on completely different lines with respect to the above two and includes the task of assisting the administrative staff of the university in managing various administrative works of the university.

Although work may differ according to the department or part of administration in which the Administrative Assistant is allotted duty, basic profile of work remains collection, organization and analysis of information.

AA may also be asked to make presentation or draft a report on the functioning of the university. Overall, this internship is suitable for those who are willing to take up an administrative job after completing their degree.

JOB DESCRIPTION


One of the major positives of the Graduate Assistantship is that the job criteria and requirements are such that you will get ample time to complete your studies. As Graduate Assistantship are offered by the Universities and other educational bodies, they are very well aware of the importance of student’s time and hence the demands are not very stern.

 

 STIPEND RANGE

The average stipend of a graduate assistant in United States is close to $20,000 currently. The stipend varies from one university to the other but most of the universities have their stipends within the 20k range. In Australia, the average stipend is close to 63,000 Australian Dollars. Some Canadian Universities choose to give stipend on hourly basis rather than a lump sum.

In some universities, the stipend is not given in form of monetary compensation but is rather given through fee waivers. Some universities offer 50% waiver for the Gas while the waiver can go up to 100% in some other universities.


 WORK HOURS

In most of the countries, maximum working time for an employee is 40 hours per week (8 hours for 5 days). So, a graduate assistant is usually allotted 50% of the full working hours that is 20 hours per week.  On the other hand, half assistantship demands 25% of the full working time that is 10 hours per week.  In some universities, there is also a provision of taking two half-assistantship which add up to make 50% of the full-working time.

However, if a student wishes to work for more than 20 hours in a week, some universities give their mentors or Head of Departments the right to grant permission for that. However, in some universities, foreign nationals are not allowed to work more than 20 hours either because of rules of the country or in order to keep the students focused on their degrees.

Apart from the 10 or 20 hours per week, the student is expected to devote rest of his time towards the completion of studies related to the degree he is pursuing.  Maintenance of good grades and high GPAs are important for getting a GA.


How to get Graduate Assistantship?


Like all jobs, internships and admissions, there is ample competition among the students to secure a Graduate Assistantship. So, you have to be superior to your peers in order to stand a good chance of securing a GA. Here are few tips which should be focused on while applying for it.

 

Avoid errors in application

Your resume and application has to be free of all grammatical, spelling and all other types of errors. Any error in those two documents will straight away send you to back foot.


Do a complete background check

Try to do complete background check of the posts you are willing to apply for and try to go for the relevant ones only. Applying for too many posts which are irrelevant does no good to your chances of securing a place.


Talk to people who have secured Graduate Assistantships before

It is always good to consult people who have already achieved something and in this case, you should try to talk to people who have already secured Graduate Assistantships in previous terms. You can ask how they prepared themselves, what they wrote in their application and many other important points related to it.

 


Follow up accordingly

As mentioned above, the procedures are same as job applications or internships. So, after applying, you cannot sit back and wait for a response from the other side. You have to follow up the application and contact the professors who are concerned with the allotments. However, contacting them very frequently might annoy them, so be wise with your choice.


Focus on studies

The primary criteria to be eligible for Graduate Assistantships are good grades, high GPAs and good knowledge of the field you are pursuing. In other words, you have to focus deeply on your studies before dreaming to secure a GA.

Studying well and performing well in the examinations not only enhances your reputation in front of your teachers and mentors, but also does a world of good to your chances of securing a GA. If you have the backing of the professors, then you are already a step or two ahead from rest of the field.

 


So, we have discussed in detail about Graduate Assistantship, its types and the job description. The final words from our side are that if you focus well and are determined, you will surely secure a GA.

CHAPTER 4:

Internships & Part-Time Jobs


Fancy working as a Translator?

Or maybe connecting with people as a Barrista in Paris is more of your thing?

Or taking some language classes at the local community center, making some friends along the way?

Or better yet working part time with an upcoming start up?

Internships and Part time jobs are somethings which almost every international student considers after starting their journey abroad, it can be one of the most fool proof ways to earn some pocket money and pick up some skills along the way.

In fact, you can even receive a pre-placement offer during the course of your internship!

According to Forbes, 60% of paid interns receive full-time job offers.
Consider this scenario : If you are pursuing a degree in finance, a financial internship will not only equip you with relevant market skills but also help you kick-start a full-fledged career in finance !

Considering that finance freshers are one of the highest paid people around, you should definitely think of pursuing a masters degree in Finance if the field intersts you.

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|Benefits

Monetary Benefits

A part time or an Internship job not only allows you to get some pocket money and lessen the financial pressure of college life

Skill Development

Helps you in building a requisite skill set which may give you that edge in the market, especially if you are working in a professional field.

Networking

It’s a great way to get introduced to the culture of the country and make some interesting connections, overall helping you integrate better

Learn New Language

Lastly it can be a great way to improve on your language skills, this is especially true if you are visiting one of the EU countries such as Spain, France or Germany, knowing the local language can instantly set you apart even while you are on a job hunt

So yes you are interested in working abroad, how would you go about the same?

First and foremost, make sure that your Visa allows you to work while studying abroad

Several countries have regulations regarding if you can study abroad or not or the no of hours you can work abroad

Here are a few examples

UK

If studying longer than 6 months on a Tier 4 student visa, 10-20 hours per week during study periods, 40 hours during vacation periods France Yes If you have a residency card and an institution with access to Social Security, up to ~20 hours per week, and you have to pay 20% of your salary in taxes.

France & Spain

With work permit, up to 20 hours per week in a job relevant to the field of study

Germany

With work permit, up to 20 hours per week in a job relevant to the field of study

Ireland

If you study for at least one academic year, up to 20 hours per week during the term, full-time during vacation

Singapore

If fully enrolled If your university is listed by the government and you are pursuing a full-time degree (not semester or year exchange), up to 16 hours per week.

Australia

Up to 40 hours every two weeks and full-time during vacation periods. 

TYPES OF PART TIME JOBS


What kind of part time jobs are available?

Well while in earlier days there were limited options for students, increasing technology and globalization has opened up several routes

|Types

On Campus Jobs

This is a great option for meeting other students outside of the international exchange circles and to improve your language skills, if you'd be working in the local language.

Check to see if your university has a center for work-study or simply ask local students about opportunities to find a job on campus.

Usually you can find positions in the Sports office, Library or even as a Student ambassador, which all pay decent hourly rates.

Restaurants and Bars

These are usually fun jobs that pay enough to offset some living costs and let you mingle with the locals. Working as a server or bartender can be a great way to practice the language, too.

Similarly working in a Restaurant or in a Super market can be easy jobs to bag.

Teaching English

In almost every country, there's a high demand for English teachers, you just need to put yourself out there and offer your services.

You can pursue formal or informal avenues for teaching, and a quick Google search or chat with your professors and other international classmates will yield many leads.

It can be anything from one on one tutoring classes to scoring a teaching job at the local language center.

Tutoring and Translation

Do you have any particular skills? Can you teach music? Cooking? Dance? Leverage your inner entrepreneur and create a job for yourself. With today’s world of social networking finding a paying customer can be as easy as just sharing a well-made post on your FB page.

Even GMAT tutoring is an upcoming field and you may find takers.

VIRTUAL INTERNSHIPS


Also known as E-Internship, Virtual internship is a program where an intern is not physically present in the office location.

He/she works from a remote location and all the communication is done through calls, e-mails & video-conferencing.

|BENEFITS

Wide Scope

It opens up a wider pool of projects to choose from and gives you the freedom to make a selection solely on the basis of the internship takeaways.

Savings

Not only do you save time & money on travel, you can allocate the internship timelines in sync with your academic & other extra-curricular activities.

Flexible Timings

Not only do you save time & money on travel, you can allocate the internship timelines in sync with your academic & other extra-curricular activities.

Examples Of Virtual Internship Profiles

  • Virtual Personal Assistants
  • Data Entry Operators
  • Customer Relation Managers
  • Content Writer

You can find virtual opportunities on the same platforms which you might use to search for part-time jobs

You will need to filter your requirements to “work from home”, “virtual internships” or “telecommunicating”.

          

IN-OFFICE JOBS & INTERNSHIPS


If you want a job that's more relevant to your degree, it's going to require major hustling and networking, but the end result may be very well worth it

Example:

Decide what specific kind of work you want -- only by being focused on what skills you have and what you'd like to learn and in what kind of organization can others help you find something suitable.

Good places to start are the university career center, your professors, other students in your classes, local networking groups in your field, meetup.com, LinkedIn, and Google. Simply paying a visit to organizations you'd like to work for and pitching yourself yields the best results.

HOW TO GET HIRED FOR JOBS & INTERNSHIPS?


First of all get a solid resume, and align it to the kind of job you are looking for, this is especially true if you are looking for part time corporate or startup jobs.

Don’t fill up your resume with fluff; mention your skills, details of your education, and prior experience details – if any. Outline all your goals and use language that is sharp, crisp, and to the point.

Don't forget to update your profile on LinkedIn to get access to more than 10 million work opportunities.
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Here are some extra tips to help you with your job hunting:

 

 Digital Presence

Use Social media, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter all can be great lead generation techniques, make a nice poster or post, and just put it out there, maybe someone in your circle can connect you to that next opportunity


 Offline Networking

Joining Interest clubs, University groups, Meet up sites can be an interesting ways to find jobs


College Placement Cells

Contact your Uni’s Careers Team and request for on-campus and off-campus part–time work options. That’s what they’re there for!


Classifieds

Run a regular check on newspapers’ job-listings.


Explore Start Ups

Hit start up fairs or company fairs and pitch yourself to companies you are interested in. Startups are usually very susceptible to this practice.


Job Sites

Try browsing popular part-time job websites such as:

  • Career Builder
  • Craigslist
  • Intern wise
  • Student Gems
  • Indeed.com
  • Anyintern

CHAPTER 5:

FREE-LANCING WHILE STUDYING ABROAD


Who is a free-lancer?

Referred to as an independent contractor, A freelancer is self-employed person offering services to business, and usually handles multiple clients at a time.

Free-lancing is a very popular option amongst students and professionals alike.

A research report by Gen Y and Freelancing  revealed that 87% of UK students with first or second class degrees consider freelancing as a lucrative career option and 21% of graduates with first class honors have already chosen to work as freelancers.  

In fact, according to Freelancers Union, the combined earnings of freelancers in America alone constitute about $1 Trillion a year!

Where most students go wrong as free-lancers

A cardinal mistake that most students make while starting their free-lancing carrier is that they look for projects without adequate skills & knowledge.

A free-lancer is someone who offers his skill in-exchange for a fee.

While working professionals have already developed a skill-set that they can use to freelance, it might be tougher for students.

But not to worry, we are about to explore options to become a free-lancer without experience.

HOW TO GET START OFF AS A FREELANCER?


The primary step in starting off as a free-lancer is develop a skill.

It can be a completely new skill that you were always interested in or you can hone your existing skill set to gain stronger expertise.

Here are a few strategic steps you can take to build your expertise:

 

Finalise A Price-Chart

Analyze the market rates of your skill set and have a service quote based on the length & the complexity of the project.


Select Your Skill Set

You must choose your craft on the basis of your interest and a careful analysis of the most sought-out skills in the market.

The Top Free-lancing Skills include:

  • Content Writing
  • Translation
  • Voice-overs
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Web development
  • Designing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • App development
  • Lead Generation/ Sales
  • Data Mining & Visualization

Gain Expertise

You can use MOOC (Mass Open Online Courses) to learn and hone your craft.

These platforms host variety of courses with extensive study material including explainer videos, case studies, discussions forums, Q&A sessions, assignments and exams to cover a topic.

The courses are self-paced and conducted by top universities across the world so you can be assured that you are learning from the best.

Most of these courses are available for free with a paid option in case you need a verified certificate.  

Popular MOOCs include

  • EdX
  • Coursera
  • Udemy
  • Yale Open Courses
  • Khan Academy
  • Harvard Open Courses

Brand Yourself

  • Build a portfolio showcasing your skill set.

-In case you have no experience, create a sample of what you have learned and include it in your portfolio.

-Eg: Original write-ups & articles, self-developed website/app,etc.

  • Blogging

Create a blog focusing on the industry of your interest & keep sharing updates, reviews and articles about that particular sector

  • Participate in discussion forums

Use sites like Quora to answer questions about your relevant industry.

  • Pro-bono projects

You can undertake a couple of short unpaid assignments in the initial stages to build your experience, develop a network and test your skills.

  • Social Presence:

Make sure to have profiles on all professional networking sites like Linkedin.


|BENEFITS OF STUDENT FREELANCING

Income Source

The most obvious benefit is that you can earn supplementary money while studying and save your own expenses of travel.

Becoming Market Ready

Since you will gain strong expertise in a set of the most in-demand job skills, you will be completely market-ready by the time you complete your degree.

Develop a professional network

Since you will be dealing with multiple clients, you will have an extensive professional network ready by your graduation.
Who knows, you might even end up joining one of them full-time!
Too many distractions may lead to missing a deadline which is a huge credibility issue for free-lancers.

CHAPTER 6:

New & Upcoming Ways To Finance Your Studies


If you go by the words of some of the best finance consultants in the world, investing in higher education is one of the most profitable investments if done wisely. With the fees of some of the top business schools ranging from $40k to $60k, finding a suitable way for funding higher education has become a challenge for modern day students. However, as they say ‘Necessity is mother of inventions’, in the same way, demands of student funding has led to financial institutions coming up with new, innovative and profitable ways of funding the students. In this blog post, we will look at various new schemes of the companies in the ever-profitable field of student funding.

However, as they say ‘Necessity is mother of inventions’, in the same way, demands of student funding has led to financial institutions coming up with new, innovative and profitable ways of funding the students. In this blog post, we will look at various new schemes of the companies in the ever-profitable field of student funding.

As we know, education loans and scholarships have been the only options for the students for decades now. However, a lot has been already discussed about these and we would not like to go into detail of these. Here, we will look forward to some new ways such as –

  1. Prodigy Funding
  2. Employee Benefits in repayment of student loans

Let’s have a look at these ways in detail.

Prodigy Funding

Prodigy funding has been one of the most revolutionary methods in the ways of student funding. Prodigy Finance is a financial institution which offers loans to postgraduate students from around 200 countries across the globe.

The institution is different from banks and other money-lending organizations in a way that it is community-based funding. Being a community-based organization, the rules are more student-friendly in comparison to other financial institutions.

The company was born as a peer to peer funding measure, which is commonly known as crowdfunding. The interested alumni of the INSEAD business school who were willing to support the needy students in the higher studies were given a platform in the form of prodigy finance to help their peers.

Three INSEAD post-graduate students came up with this idea of alumni to student funding to help the potential and meritorious students from the developing countries to find a way to finance their education.

 

How Prodigy Finance Works?

Prodigy Finance has a unique method of working. The students need to select their business school and the program they are admitted in.

If the business school and program are present in the list, the student can apply for a loan. In next 5 working days, the management of Prodigy Finance tries to find out the alumni of that business school and some other private investors who are willing to fund the education. The biggest reason behind the interest of the investors lies in the fact that they get some lucrative profit in return of the financing.

After finding the potential investors, prodigy finance comes up with a detailed plan along with the loan installments, interest rates and all other important in formations. After this comes the most crucial step, when the application of the student is verified by the institution.

Once the application is verified, the student needs to sign the loan agreement and the otherwise rigorous process of funding ends successfully.

|Benefits

There are certain very attractive benefits associated with Prodigy Finance which makes it a great hit among the students pursuing education loan. Some of the advantages of Prodigy Finance over other institutions are:

No cosigner, guarantor or collateral is required

 


Method of application is simple


Provisional loan offer is made between 2 to 5 days


Students from close to 150 countries are eligible.


No up-front fee has to be paid.


The repayment period begins six months after completion of degree for full-time students and after three-months for a part-time student.


No fine or penalty is levied for early repayment


Interest rates are competitive


So, with easy application process, friendly terms and competitive interest rates, Prodigy finance is one of the best ways to get the funding required for higher education. So, in case you are an international student and not many institutions willing to take risk of lending money to international student, prodigy finance is one of the most sought-after options among students at present. The revolutionary funding leads the way among students at present.

Employee Benefits in repayment of student loans

The pressure of funding higher education had been taking a toll on some of the very good students. As a result of this, the concept of student funding came into being. Now with the market going through one of the most competitive phases, the companies are trying various new ways to allure the best talents available in the market.

The newest addition in the list of employee benefits has been the benefits in repayment of student loans. Such has been the popularity of the benefit among the pass-out students about to turn employees that this is set to become the hottest employee benefit of 2017, brushing aside other lucrative benefits like health insurances and pension schemes.

 

How does it work?

The first question which comes up anyone’s mind when they hear about something new is how that thing happens. Answering this common query, the student loan repayment benefit is an employee benefit almost similar to all other employee benefits with the exception that it is taxable. However, considerations are being made and there are possibilities that it may be exempted from your tax bill in coming years.

In order to allure the young graduates to their firm, companies are offering the students benefits as a fixed sum towards the debt repayment account of the student.

The sum can be paid in terms of monthly installments by the employer or it may be given as a lump sum at the end of every year. There are certain upper and lower-limits related to the amount sanctioned per year or total amount sanctioned by the company.

However, if you have already paid off your student loans, it is not applicable to you.

|Benefits

The employee benefit for repayment of student loans is beneficial among the current graduates and postgraduates. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits.

The fixed sum at the end of every year decreases the financial pressure, as they no longer feel such great load of the never-ending student loan.

The fixed sum at the end of every year changes the repayment structure, making it more flexible for the student.

The extra sum at the end of the year means the employee has more cash in his hand to spend on his livelihood, giving him more flexibility on his expenditures.

A considerable benefit is obtained in the repayment if the employer helps in repayment of loans.

|Which companies are offering this benefit?

Fidelity, Chegg and Aetna were some of the companies which are pioneers in the field of this employee benefits. Off late, the likes of PwC and tech-giant Nvidia have also joined the trend. At present, 4% of the employers in the world are offering this benefit but the numbers are expected to rise steadily in the coming years. Let’s have a look at benefits of some of the companies.

  1. Fidelity Investments are offering a sum of $2000 at the end of every year for five years to the employees who work for more than six months.
  2. Price Water Coopers is paying $10000 to employees over the course of six years.
  3. Chegg disburses $1000 at the end of every year for student debt repayment to all the employees.
  4. Natixis, the global asset management company offers $5000 to employees working for more than five years, along with annual amount of $1000 every year for the next five years.
  5. Aetna offers $2000 to its employees every year up to the maximum mark of $10000.

So, these are some of the upcoming methods in student funding and are gaining immense popularity day-by-day. So, if you have an option of getting these two benefits, close your eyes and go for them.

CHAPTER 7:

Money Saving Techniques While Studying Abroad


Why Savings Are A Source Of Income

Heard of the ancient saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned?”
If you don’t implement this already, now is the time to do so.
Study abroad is not exactly a pocket-friendly program, & with the increasing exchange rate difference, managing your day-to-day expenses is the most challenging part of the experience.
The cost structure of studying abroad can vary on the basis of the country as well the university tuition fee.
On an approximate average,

The tuition fee in U.S. ranges from $6000-$40,000 and the living costs go up to $10,000-$15,000

Whereas in U.K.tuition fee in varies between   £4,000 – £21,000 and the living costs go up to £9,000 – $12,000.

Major Sources Of Expenses While Studying Abroad


University Tuition FeeTravel & Conveyance
AccommodationStudy & Project Material
FoodLeisure

Get an ISIC !

The first thing on your checklist is getting your International Student Identity Card.

ISIC card is the only internationally-recognized student ID and it has been in existence for more than 50 years.

Over 55 million students across 133 countries use ISIC to access over 150,000 student discounts and offer worldwide including travel, accommodation, food & beverages and study resources.

Examples of discounts:

  • 20% off on your bill in Hard Rock Cafe, Paris
  • 60% off on Stand Up NY Tickets, U.S.

 

To get your card made online or through a local issuer ,visit  https://www.isic.org/get-your-card/.

Eliminate additional ATM charges

You are probably aware that ATMs charge a transaction fee for non-members of the bank.

But did you know that the surcharge can actually go upto $50 a week? You could probably buy a week’s groceries with that money!

Since you will be staying abroad for minimum a year, it is a good idea to get a local bank account for better access to ATMs.

After credit cards & banking, E-wallets are considered to be the most popular payment methods globally. You can set up accounts on paypal and android pay to avoid recurring withdrawals.

Affordable Accommodation Opt

The most common options for study abroad accommodation are university residence, homestays, apartments ,student hostels and hotels.

 

Hotel is  probably the most expensive option on the list and it is suited basically to people with an open budget.

 

Apart from on-campus residence, many universities have partnerships with student dorms and hostel so it is a good idea to first check with your school for such possible alliances.

 

Here are a few platforms that you can use to find housing options that you can filter according to your budget:

 

A]  Beroomers

Beroomers offers students a safe platform for finding a variety of different accommodations around the world, with a great selection in most large European cities.

 

B] Homestay.com

With a worldwide presence, Homestay.com helps people book their homestay with a local host family. It caters to students as well as non-students.

 

C] Hostel World

Student hostel is the most affordable accommodation for a study abroad program.

HostelWorld has around 33,000 properties across 170 countries.

 

D] Airbnb

Globally the most popular marketplace or renting/ leasing accommodation, Airbnb has over 3,000,000 lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.

Travel & Conveyance

Your daily commute coupled with long-distance trips can turns out to be the costliest aspect of college life. But thankfully, there are options through which you can subsidize your travel budget.

 

Daily Commute

 

Be sure to master public transport for your day-to-day conveyance. Do not Uber your way out for daily travel.

For shorter distances, you have the option to either walk or cycle.

In fact, a lot of cities like London & Paris have a cycle-hiring network through which you can rent or return a bike literally anytime, anywhere.

It not only saves you big bucks, but it is eco-friendly as well.

 

It is almost a chief responsibility for an international student to master the art of grabbing cheap airfare.

Apart from using your ISIC card to avail flight discounts, you can also explore airlines that provide airfare subsidies for students.

Here are some of the airlines that offer student discounts:

American Airlines
Lufthansa
GoAir
AirTranU
Vistara
Jet Airways

Additionally, below are some of the widely popular platforms designed specially for student travellling concessions:

Student Universe
CheapOAir
STA Travel.com

Hack #1: Airfares are cheaper on certain timelines. While booking tickets, make sure that you are doing it at the right day & time .

Here are some commonly accepted theories about economical time zones :

Friday is the most expensive day for flight booking
Tuesday Afternoon give you the best bargains

According to the latest study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation,

The best day to buy airline tickets is Sunday, especially if you're booking more than 21 days in advance.
This could more than 30 percent to Europe and 17 percent on domestic travel

Hack#2: Search for flight tickets on an incognito browser.

By doing so, the airline website will not be able to use cookies to track your history. It is a common theory that airlines hike prices when they sense a demand for a particular deal.

Live like a local, not a tourist

It is true that exploring a new culture is one of the best takeaways of studying abroad.

But if you go dining to exotic places every weekend or keep buying souvenirs at every nook & corner, you will be scrapped out of cash even before your mid-term break.

You always have a choice to explore the culture by chilling at the neighbourhood hangouts , learning to cook the local cuisine instead of eating out everyday.  

You could also visit your local friends instead of planning an exotic trip.

Adopting such small practices will ensure that exploring a new country will not wipe out your bank balance.

Must-Have Apps For Study Abroad Students

1..XE currency converter:

It is independent of a wifi/3G connection and has the lastest conversion rates to give you an accurate figure on your money matters.

2.Skype & Watsapp:

This one is a no-brainer.

Skype & watsapp are the most popular apps that help you connect with friends & family in the most economical way possible.

3.GoEuro

Aimed for the European Market,GoEuro compares air, bus & train routes to figure out the cheapest & the fastest route to reach your destination.

4.Wi-Fi Finder

With more than 280,000 Wi-Fi access points 140 countries worldwide, Wifi Finder Enables to you to find free & paid wifi hotspots near you. This will prevent burining a hole in your pocket with international data roaming charges.

Remember that cost-effectiveness is an asset for life. Your study-abroad program can lay the foundation of your resourcefulness.  

It need not take out any fun out of the experience either. With a little control over impulse buying and thoughtful implementation of these money saving techniques will ensure the smooth functioning of your budget.

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and full of opportunities to discover your latent talents.

Although pursuing an international degree is a cost-intensive decision, the economic and career-progression pay-off is huge.

On an average, MiM graduates who studied abroad could recover their investment with in an year and half.

If you are interested to know more about the career progression and salary hikes after MiM, you can check out our post here: https://www.mim-essay.com/masters-in-management-career-progression

This guidebook contains tried-and-tested techniques to help you fund your study abroad experience right from your university tuition fees to the day-to-day living costs.

We hope that you have enjoyed our comprehensive guide to funding your study abroad program. We have put considerable effort into this guidebook, and would love it if you can tell us how you like it in the comment section below!