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One of the most common questions we get is, “what about money?” Of course, that question can be interpreted many ways, but in this case we will address banking issues. How will I access money? Will my cards work? How do I exchange money? Am I going to be able to make my money stretch?

Most students use their ATM cards to access the funds in the US bank accounts. We encourage you to contact your bank and your credit card companies to notify them that you will be abroad, so they will not freeze your accounts when you first use your card(s) abroad. You should also ask them if they have any partner institutions in your host country, as they often have more favorable withdrawal fees or rates. Some credit cards charge a percentage based fee for each transaction abroad. Travelers checks are not usually easy or convenient to use, so you should consider just having a small amount as your last resort in case you have problems with your cards. We encourage students to have enough money in the local currency to get you from the airport to your program location in case your transportation plans fall through (see your site-specific pre-departure information for arrival details and transportation costs).

Last but not least, it is vital that you create a budget for your personal spending while abroad. We encourage you to set up online banking if you do not already have this feature with your bank. This will help you track your expenses and the rates of exchange you are getting. Fluctuating exchange rates can make a big difference in your daily or weekly spending allocation.

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