Tuition-Free Education for International Students

August 12th, 2014

There’s been a lot of news lately about the cost and value of college educations in the United States. The College Board and American Student Assistance have some chilling facts about postsecondary education in America:

 

  • Total outstanding debt for U.S. student loans is between $902 billion and $1 trillion.
  • 14 percent of borrowers are struggling to pay back their debt with at least one payment past due.
  • If you’ve saved for college, you’re going to fork over a lot of money. The cost of tuition for just one school year (2013-2014) ranged anywhere from $8,893 for state residents at public schools and $30,094 for students at private schools.

 

You’d think the cost and debt brought on by a college education would be worth it as long as that degree puts you in a job that earns more, right? But that’s not exactly guaranteed. While the unemployment rate for recent college graduates (aged 22 to 27) fell to just 5.6 percent in 2013, not all of those former students are working in a position that requires a degree—or pays for one. According to The Economist, about 42 percent of recent graduates are in positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and 260,000 of these former students are making minimum wage, according to CNN.com.

 

A New Approach to College Education

 

Even with all these negative statistics, a college education is still vital. College graduates have a better chance at finding employment in a tough job market and while a degree doesn’t guarantee high pay, it offers a better chance at it than not having a degree.

 

But students and parents have to begin thinking differently about the process of choosing a school and a major in order to increase the value the student gets from the education while reducing the debt they carry. An alternative that many are now exploring are tuition-free education programs abroad.

 

Tuition-Free Opportunities

 

There are tuition-free and low-tuition opportunities all over the globe including in Sweden, Norway and Germany. Some of the most popular programs right now are found at Finland’s University of Helsinki. U.S. News estimates that students can live and travel comfortably on just $1,000 a month while they attend the university.

 

Why Study Abroad?

 

The college years have always been an important time for young adults. In college, teens are given more freedom and independence than they’re generally used to, which is important in getting them ready for adulthood.

 

An education abroad offers even more than simple independence. International students learn about other cultures. They discover how a global economy functions and they gain an intricate knowledge of another culture’s subtleties as well as extensive foreign language skills.

 

One Requirement to Watch: International Student Health Insurance

 

As you would with any college, you have to apply and get accepted to the various international schools offering tuition-free education. Once you qualify, you’ll need to get your passport and obtain a residence permit before you can begin studying. Each school in each country has its own requirements for international student health insurance that you must meet in order to get your permit. The coverage required can include:

 

  • A limited deductible
  • Medical expense limits of 30,000 euros or more
  • Insurance that lasts for your entire stay (not just a temporary travel plan)

 

In addition to making sure your insurance meets the school or country’s requirements, you also want to consider coverage options that will protect you from the many risks you face. You may want to think about coverage for organized sports, repatriation benefits so that you can come back to the U.S. if medically necessary, and prescription coverage. Other benefits to consider include dental coverage and international life insurance protection.

 

College educations are still valuable but if you want to stand out from the crowd of students graduating in your year, then you need to increase the value of the degree you get. By studying abroad, you compound the value of the education both on a personal and professional level. Even better, you allow yourself the benefit of getting started in your career without the crushing obligation of student loan debt hamstringing your future and limiting the risks you can allow yourself to take.

 

 

Should You Ship Your Luggage?

August 27th, 2013

When going overseas, it’s easy to over pack. After all, you might not know exactly what to expect of your trip in terms of events, dress codes, weather or daily activity, and that means you need many different options for dress. When travelling for business, you may need to bring presentation materials and other supplies. Either way, a lot of luggage can be good for your trip, but a nightmare at the airport especially with all the extra fees airlines are adding on these days.

 

If you want t avoid hassle and unexpected fees, you might consider shipping some or all your luggage ahead of time. But if you do, will your travel insurance cover any losses? Read the rest of this entry »

Al Qaeda Targeting Europe’s High-Speed Rail: What You Need to Know

August 22nd, 2013

This summer, travel has been stressful as Egypt has dealt with ongoing and escalating violence and Al Qaeda has been ramping up its presence and threats. Most recently, it was announced that Al Qaeda was planning to attack Europe’s high-speed rail network. While news media isn’t certain about the details of the attack, many experts have stated that it is likely center on placing explosives in tunnels and the trains. While some European countries are meeting this threat with additional security measures, including plain-clothed police, others are already operating at high alert and, therefore, are simply maintaining their prior measures.

 

It’s difficult for travelers to decide how to react to this news when they’ve already invested in securing their travel arrangements. With international travel insurance you can protect yourself whether you decide to go abroad despite new warnings or you decide to cancel your trip once the terror alert climbs too high or the threat hits too close to home. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for Your First International Trip

August 20th, 2013

Helpful Tips Post It NoteIf you’re preparing for your first international trip, you’re probably feeling both nervous and excited. While you should enjoy these anticipatory emotions, it’s important that you don’t get so caught up in them that you forget to prepare for the journey. A trip abroad is different than anything else you’ve ever experienced and, as such, requires some special preparation. Here are 5 tips to help get you started.

  • Know what to expect at the airport. Yahoo.com suggests that first-time travelers take a close look at airline and security procedures for both the airport they’re departing from and the one they’ll be flying into. It’s likely that you’ll need your ID, passport and boarding pass in order to get on the plane so you want to make sure you have those items accessible. In addition, you should research each airport’s security measures in order to determine what not to wear and what not to pack in your carry-on. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Insurance Overview

August 15th, 2013

Travel in ItalyOne of the most well-rounded types of insurance to secure before your next trip abroad is travel insurance. Whether you’re going overseas for business, school or fun, this policy can give you exactly the protection you need to make sure that you don’t accrue massive, unexpected bills due to delays, cancelled trips or stolen property.

 

Many people assume that travel insurance for international trips covers only the cost of a cancellation, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are five additional facts about this valuable protection.

 

One: Travel Delays and Missed Connections

 

There are many events that can conspire to delay your trip, through no fault of your own. Lost and stolen passports, a natural disaster, an injury or illness suffered by a travel companion, even your travel company can be at fault for a delay. Delays don’t just throw off your travel schedule, they can result in costly fees if you need to rebook, lose a night in your reserved hotel or reserve a night in a new hotel, and find alternate arrangements to get to your final destination. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap Trips: Where NOT to Cut Corners

August 13th, 2013

Cost CuttingWho doesn’t want to find a way to save money on their vacation? After all, the less you spend on each trip, the more trips you can take every year.  While it’s good to save money on things like transportation around your destination, attraction tickets and food—there are some expenses you must be very careful cutting corners on.

 

Don’t Cut Insurance

 

There are many different types of insurance you can secure for your trip abroad, and cutting corners here can be a very bad idea. International health insurance is top priority for any traveler because it ensures that you can get affordable treatment if you become ill or injured while travelling. Without it you could very well face a pile of medical bills that turn your affordable vacation into a debt-inducing nightmare. Even worse, you may not be able to afford specialized, but necessary, services such as emergency remote transportation and repatriation expenses for treatment back in the U.S. When designing your policy, be sure to check out some of the additional coverage options for activities you may be participating in such as adventure sports and organized or competitive sports so that you are fully covered. If you think health insurance on your vacation is unnecessary, you might want to consider that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the number one cause of death among travelers—and with 20 to 50 million injured worldwide in non-fatal accidents each year, your risks of injury may be higher than you think. Read the rest of this entry »

Terrorism and Travel

August 8th, 2013

Newspaper Headlines TerrorismDuring the first week of August, the State Department issued a global travel warning relating to the potential for al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. The warning was vague, stating that terrorist attacks had been planned in various locations throughout the month.

 

When an international traveler has already paid deposits to secure travel abroad and a warning like this is given, it can be both scary and frustrating. If the individual decides to cancel or reschedule the trip, they could be out thousands of dollars. If, in order to avoid this loss, they travel despite the warning, they could be putting themselves in harm’s way. Both concerns, however, can be alleviated with the purchase of travel insurance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative Insurance Options for Missionaries

August 6th, 2013

Missionaries understand the risks they take on when they go abroad. While they often secure missionary medical insurance in order to ensure proper, affordable treatment should they become ill or injured, they may not realize that there are other types of insurance protecting that they should consider.

 

Kidnap and Ransom Insurance

 

The risks you face when going on a mission abroad will vary depending on the location you travel to. In some, the climate or terrain could present your biggest risks. In others, the wildlife and insect world might be the source of your concerns. In others, the risk could be caused by humans taking part in illegal activities, including kidnapping. If you’re travelling to a country for which the State Department has identified a kidnapping risk, you should consider adding kidnap and ransom insurance to your arsenal. Read the rest of this entry »

Why US Citizens Are Turning in Their Passports

August 1st, 2013

If you want to renounce your U.S. citizenship, you must turn in your passport. In May of 2013, CNN.com reported that the number of expats surrendering their passports in the first quarter was almost 75 percent of the total number who did during all of 2012. So why the sudden and startling shift to give up citizenship?

 

In a word: taxes.

 

According to Bloomberg, in 2008 only 235 citizens gave up their citizenship. In 2011, the number rose to 1,780. And in just the first quarter of 2013 there were a total of 670 U.S. passports surrendered permanently.  While every tax holder has his or her own reasons for surrendering citizenship, many of them political, the top reason cited generally involves the U.S. tax code. Read the rest of this entry »

What You Need to Know About Glamping Abroad

July 26th, 2013

camping teepeesRemember the first camping trip you ever took? The tent that leaked, the bugs, the mosquito spray, the ground that looked clear but felt covered in rocks as soon as you tried to sleep? What about that gauntlet of zippers that you had to get through in order to leave the tent at night? And don’t forget the grimy, dirty feeling you get after a full day and night outside without a shower.

 

But then, there are the positive sides to camping; enjoying the great outdoors, eating S’mores, getting away from society, seeing nature at its best, and gaining a sense of calm that only time away from technology and noise can give you. If you’re planning a trip abroad, camping can be an innovative and touching way to experience your time in a foreign country. If you want all the benefits of camping without its annoyances, maybe you should consider glamping. Read the rest of this entry »

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