Studying abroad? Four ways to save
Not don’t shop, eat less or live cheap. Concrete ways to save before leaving home. For example, did you know that Jet Airways will drop the basic fare by half if you are a student
If you’re looking to finance your own or your child’s education abroad, you’re probably angered by the weakening rupee. In the past seven months, every college you’ve looked at has probably increased in price for you by around 20%. You may even think it wise to postpone the master’s degree. If you’re still going, though, consider the following four ideas. They won’t make the trip that much cheaper, just bring some relief to the plunging bank balance. Here they are:
Get the card: The International Students Identity Card (ISIC), available at www.isic.co.in for Rs562, offers excellent discounts for all students. It doesn’t matter if you’re going abroad, but it’s perhaps most helpful if you are. Its website claims that it gives you access to around 41,000 benefits in 126 countries. All you need to submit is identity and address proof and official documentation from your school confirming that you are a full-time student. For Indian students, the benefits include 15% off on all products on Yebhi.com, discounted airfares, and discounts at Café Coffee Day and Domino’s. But the discounts in first-world countries seem better. The following table shows you discounts in London.
|ISIC Discount Provider (for London)||Benefit|
|Academy Logistics||Free moving/shipping of your luggage|
|Hostel World||Waiver of advance booking fee|
|Logitech||30% off on all products|
|Education First||Free online courses|
|Microsoft DreamSpark||Free admission to e-learning courses|
Look for an Indian association: Countries with a strong Indian student population (the US, especially) have student associations that help you settle into college. At www.garamchai.com, for example, you can find a comprehensive list of all such associations in the US. You may register or donate at some later point, but initially no payment is necessary. Student associations can be of tremendous help when you enter the city. Just give them your flight timing and a student will pick you up for free. Before you find a place to rent, which they’ll help you with, you have the option of rooming with some students for a couple of days at no charge. For example, have a look at University of Dayton’s association here.
Buy health insurance here: Many colleges include insurance in your total fees, but if you have the option buy health insurance here. Even if you’ve already purchased insurance from a foreign provider, you, too, can switch to an Indian insurer once it expires. This, of course, doesn’t apply to students in the UK, where you’re covered under National Health Service.
Indian policies are generally significantly cheaper. Even in New Zealand, which is significantly cheaper than the US for health cover, health insurance for two years with a company called Southern Cross, worked out to Rs26,502 ($600) per year for the basic plan. In India, basic plans with similar benefits start from Rs11,198 (with Reliance General).
In the US, at Boston University, you’ll pay a whopping Rs109,230 ($1986) for insurance. You may opt out of the health insurance programme, but can’t pick a foreign provider. If you were able to, you’d save a pile of money. At ICICI Lombard, the costliest insurance plan you can buy is called Gold Plus. For two years, at a risk cover of $100,000, the premium works out to just Rs39,534, close to Rs70,000 cheaper than the college-provided plan.
Here’s the cheapest premium plan we were able to find online, along with its benefits:
|TATA AIG Student Health Guard||Benefits|
|Health Cover||$250,000 ($100 deductible)|
|Loss of Passport||$250 ($30 deductible)|
|Premium (Rest of the World)||Rs10,710|
Fly cheap: Many airlines offer a student discount. Others will give you nothing at all. US carrier Continental Airlines, for example, gives no discount, whereas Jet Airways gives a 50% discount on the basic fare to students up to the age of 25, after you fill in the student concession form available online. Air India also offers a discount to students, but it’s only 10% of the basic fare for international travel (50% for domestic flights). Many foreign airlines, including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, also give student discounts. You also get an additional baggage allowance, but this is with any airline. It’s also worth hunting for cheap airfares with your ISIC card, which grants you membership to STA Travel, which offers lower fares for students and also negotiates with a few airlines for bulk discounts.