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Here is the dichotomy of an Indian student in Canada. Read along and you will find yourself somewhere in these categories:

  1. You come from a wealthy family. Hence, you don’t have to worry about money in general.
  2. You have a stellar academic background. Basically – the university is paying you to attend the program.
  3. You are gritty and creative. But you have a ton of student debt on your head.

I was between the second and third categories. The University of Toronto had offered me a partial scholarship. But I had also taken a ton of student debt to cover the rest. So, when it came to thinking about taking care of my expenses I was kind of out of options even before I began.

Initially, I took up research assistantships, internships, weekend jobs and even contract jobs online as a freelancer. All of this work caused fatigue and eventually reflected in my first semester grades. This had put me in a tricky spot since my scholarship was conditional to my grades being in a certain range. That was when my roommate who was from Guangzhou, told me about the International Student Identity Card.

For two days, I did not pay any attention to what he had said. I told him I already possess an international credit, forex card, university card, library card, and my passport.. Why would I need yet another ID card and that too, one that I would have to buy? He smiled and said – so that you don’t have to work as a cattle animal.

In that one statement, he got all my attention. Then he educated me on this one thing that every smart international student like him was carrying – the International Student Identity Card.

What is the ISIC Card?

Here’s what an ISIC is.

It’s simply a standardized card that shows who are you, how old are you and what university you are studying in. Why is this important? At pretty much every location globally these are the three data-points that will prove you are a student. Being a student in itself will not give you additional benefits. But this will act as a globally recognized identity proof whenever you need it.

Why I still got an ISIC?

I already had an identity proof. Here’s why I still got an ISIC.

The simple reason why students prefer getting an ISIC is this – it saves a lot of money. The ISIC is available in India for as little as ₹500 plus the GST. Thanks to this one card, I got access to over 150,000 discount locations across the globe.

I got discounts everywhere – from Papa Johns to Disneyland. From air tickets to medicine stores. I now had unique discounts that I was getting because I had an ISIC.

Benefits of ISIC

Wait – there’s more to it.

But there is so much more to it. I got the biggest benefit thanks to ISIC being a part of The Global Study Awards program. This program offers a scholarship of up to GBP 10,000 to students who have given IELTS, hold an ISIC and have written a review on ISIC’s recommended student portal. I was able to get the scholarship and it helped me bring down my cost of attendance significantly.

Not just this, I got to network with a ton of ISIC holders globally. ISIC also went out of its way to arrange summer exchange programs for a ton of its students.

In Conclusion

Thanks to my roommate’s kindness, I got to know about ISIC. I was able to control my expenses and did not have to run for jobs. I was able to focus on my studies and was able to retain my university scholarship as well. If you have the smarts to get into a global university, you also have the smarts to get the ISIC!

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