Your Personal Finances

Here are some basic tips and guidelines on how to responsibly handle your finances abroad.

Updated over a week ago

You'll likely arrive with some spending cash for your time in the USA. We encourage students to arrive with a debit card or credit card to pay for necessary personal expenses.

Here are some basic tips and guidelines regarding your finances abroad:

  • There can be no exchange of money between you and your host family or their family.

    • You cannot be charged extra by your host family for transportation, utilities, etc.

  • Your host family should not commit to any contracts on your behalf. This includes cell phone services, gym memberships or bank accounts.

  • You should have spending money for personal items and a discretionary fund for unexpected expenses. Students under the age of 18 should not make purchases of large or expensive items without prior approval, or at least some advice, from their host families.

  • It is difficult for a younger student to open a bank account in the United States.

    • Students age 17 and over may be able to open a bank account to have access to a debit card at some US banks.

  • Host families are not permitted to sign or cosign for students to open a bank account in the United States.

  • You may arrive with large sums of cash and be accustomed to carrying large sums of cash with you to school, to go shopping, etc.

    • For your safety, we strongly advise you not to take expensive items or large sums of money into public places.

  • Your host family should help you to find a safe place to keep your money and encourage you not to bring large sums of money out with them (especially if you are under the age of 18).

  • We encourage you to bring a debit or credit card from your home country in case of emergencies.

  • Resist the urge to make expensive purchases of luxury items or large items that would be difficult to move back home.

    • Unfortunately, expensive items may make you a target to people who may try to take advantage of you.

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