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Managing Your Money > Study Abroad at Loyola University New Orleans

Managing your Money

Know what your program fee covers and prepare a preliminary budget of the funds that you are able to spend. These figures can change, but it is a good idea to have some sort of plan beforehand so that you don't run out of money too quickly.

AmsterdamATM Cards: Cities throughout the world have ATM cash card machines. Be aware that sometimes you may not be able to choose between withdrawals from checking or savings accounts on foreign ATMs. It is best to have funds in both accounts because you will not be able to tell from which account money was drawn. Transactions may take up to a month to appear on your bank statements, so keep close track of withdrawals. Keep all transaction receipts and note that some receipts may contain your full bank account number.  Daily withdrawals are usually limited to $200 and $300. Exchange rates at ATM machines are frequently very good. If you plan on using your ATM card, remember to check with your bank to see where it is useable. Many foreign countries don't accept cards at stores and restaurants, so always keep cash available to you. Remember to inform your bank that you will be out of the country, so they don't think your card has been stolen and freeze your account. 

Credit Cards: Credit cards may be very useful in emergencies or where traveler's checks are not accepted. Credit cards may be used to take out cash from ATM machines, but beware of very high interest charges that incur immediately. Be sure to bring your pin number (you may need to apply for one if you have never withdrawn cash before on the card). You should ask the bank that issues your card for details and procedures for overseas use of the card. There can be some variation in services that are available for each type of card. In various countries VISA and MasterCard are more useful for shopping and entertainment. American Express is not as widely accepted in local shops and restaurants. Remember to inform your bank that you will be out of the country so they don't think your card has been stolen and freeze your account.

Traveler's Checks: Traveler's checks are issued by major banks and travel agencies and can be used like cash or exchanged for foreign currency. They can be replaced if lost or stolen.

Foreign Currency and Changing Money: Purchase about $250 of your host country currency before leaving the US. You will find it very useful to have this cash on-hand as you may not have immediate access to a bank. Some of this currency should be in small denominations to be used for incidents, tipping and baggage handling. If you cannot exchange money before departure, you should exchange money at the airport or train station immediately upon arrival.

Changing money: Try to avoid changing money in hotels, restaurants, airports or train stations where the exchange rate is less favorable; and fees may be high. Banks usually give the best rates. Often a Bureau de Change (money exchange office) may appear to offer a better rate but may also charge a high service fee. Beware of changing money at change offices that are unofficial.

Sending and Receiving Money: Your parents/family can send you money by purchasing a cashier's check in the currency of your host country at their bank (made payable to the student) and sending it to you by Express Mail or FedEx.

  1. Your family can also wire you money through American Express to one of their offices overseas. This option can be expensive but is good for emergencies.

  2. Wiring money from an American account to a student's account overseas is possible. Your parents will need your bank account number, bank address and routing number from your overseas bank. Inquire at the bank about the arrival of the funds because banks do not usually notify you when money arrives. There may be a substantial fee for this service (~$40) for both sender and receiver of funds, and the transfer abroad may take anywhere from two days to several weeks.

  3. A certified check can be deposited into your account. In most cases you will have to wait for the check to clear (up to two weeks) before the money can be withdrawn. Try to plan your finances at least a month in advance if you are choosing this option.

  Photo by Taylor Murrow
Last modified 07/06/2009