If you are a student and planning to study in the USA or anywhere else in the world, at some point, you will run into this calculation:
Okay, so my bank will give me $XYZ. My semester fees are $ABC. My internship stipend will be $QWE. My rent and groceries will be $AB. My savings will be ($XYZ + $QWE – $ABC – $AB – Some extra money).
Don’t worry. You don’t have to solve that equation. Simply because it is just a matter of additions and subtractions that every international student is making in his/her head, as they plan for their American education. When I first ran this calculation in my head – I was taken by surprise. The end result was practically peanuts. My end savings were less than the stipend I was getting in India!
Eventually, I started researching on how I could save more money in the USA during my studies. That was when I got to know about the international student card. The international student card is a very unique ID proof that is given by an independent organization. Organizations that offer an international student card usually have tie-ups with a ton of service providers. Hence, you can expect to get a good discount when you use the card abroad. I ended up saving a ton of money during my studies in the USA. Now, I think it’s my time to help others out.
This is the core benefit of having an international student ID card. I was a graduate student and already working as a teaching assistant, along with attending my classes in the day. Hence, the university was already giving me a ton of resources at steep discounts.
That said, there are quite a few places where the university does not have any control. The three key areas where you will need more savings are airfares, grocery stores and pharmacies. Unlike India, pharmacies are not that pocket-friendly in the USA. Apart from my student insurance, my international student ID card helped me get good discounts on medicines when I needed them the most. At the same time, I was able to use my card for getting cheaper flight tickets as well as groceries from mega-stores.
This one time, I was travelling late. I had missed the last bus that would’ve taken me to my apartment. So I took a cab. Since the road was empty, the driver was running a bit fast and that was when a cop car pulled us over. For a minute, I was scared. I thought I was in trouble. The cop asked me to step outside the car. The driver was asked for his ID. Then, the cop looked at me and asked me for my ID. I ran my hand through all my pockets and remembered I had left my passport at my friend’s place. All I had in my wallet was my international student ID card. The officer looked at it and asked me about my university, Oklahoma State University. Once I told him about my program he seemed satisfied.
The cab driver’s car was seized and I was left on the road by myself. That was when the officer offered me a ride to my apartment. He too was from Oklahoma State University!
I remember I had to visit Central Europe for a student trip along with my classmates. Many of my colleagues were carrying their passport and immigration documents like ID proof. While I had these with me, I was confident that my student ID card would be just fine. Hence, when we were asked to show our IDs before entering an industrial visit premise, I showed my international student card. The security guy knew about it and allowed me in no time. My friends had to wait for a while since they were carrying these long and tedious ID proofs.
Once you land in the USA, you will not get much time to think about savings. Plus, your earnings will be capped since you are only allowed to work for a certain amount of hours in a week. For graduate students from India, the international student ID card is nothing less than a boon, thanks to its umpteen benefits!