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International college students must manage their money in the US.

Money management is essential when you study at an American college. You’ll be dealing with foreign currency and exchange rates, so making (and sticking to) a budget is even more important— and probably more difficult. Plan ahead how you will manage your money so you can have a priceless experience abroad.

Exchange Rates for Foreign Currency

Keep in mind that exchange rates between the US dollar and other forms of currency vary. Exchange rates fluctuate day to day, and even place to place. Exchange rates will be the worst at airports and other areas with tourists.

Also consider the cost of living in the location where you will be enrolled in college. You will probably spend more money in a city than in rural areas.

Getting Money in the US

Before you leave home, see if you can get a small amount of US currency from your bank so you won’t arrive at your US college empty-handed. You can find an ATM machine and exchange more money once you arrive in the US.

Ask the bank if it has overseas affiliates. You may be able to avoid some ATM or credit card fees by getting foreign currency at these locations.

If you will be in the US for several months (or several years), you may want to open a US bank account.

Working Abroad While in College

When you calculate the cost of studying at a US college, remember that you will lose income when you give up your job. Working while you study in the US may not be possible– ask the international student services office at your college.

In addition to the money issues you will face in the US, don’t forget to manage your money in your home country. Arrange for bills to be paid, or allow a trusted relative or friend to manage your money.

Students in other countries face additional incidental expenses, such as phone calls home, off-campus social activities and travel during school breaks. But with money management and a bit of savings, your experience can be a blast without breaking the bank.


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