College Connect: Adjusting to a new currency

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By Alex Missick

Countries around the world have a wide variety of exchange rates that can affect any industry. However, as a student, it is always advised to be aware of changing currency and exchange rates — especially for international students.

When I first came to the U.S. for university, I already knew that I would only have to change the type of money in my hand to the American dollar without much expense. The Bahamas and the United states currency is on equal levels as 1 BSD to 1 USD.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for many other students traveling to the U.S. for an education. For example, a student from Russia has to be able to afford a currency exchange of 1 USD to 31 RUB (Russia Rubles) according to XE.com, a provider of Internet foreign exchange tools and services.

Students have to take into consideration how the exchange rate in their country compares to the U.S. dollar and keep in mind that it is constantly changing.

Some students may have created an entire, detailed budget and financial plan for their time in the U.S. only to realize that exchange rates change and economies can become unstable over time.

To avoid having to constantly change their budget plan, students should think about making their personal financial plan flexible. Students should consider including a low and high total spending amount to cover any possible changes in currency value. Also, students should frequently check exchange rates to be able to better predict any large fluctuations.
Bettina Remmele, a freshman from Germany attending the University of Missouri, said she knows all too well about having to deal with changing currency rates. “It is $1 to €1.35 at the moment. But it is changing all the time recently, like last week, it was almost €1.42,” said Remmele.

Remmele said what helped her the most before coming to the U.S. were Traveler’s Cheques.

“The Traveler Cheques were for free because I got $300 worth of them back in Germany and changed another 200 Euros into Dollars while I was still in Germany,” Remmele said. “I think normally you pay a certain percentage of the money you need though. And the € 200 cash were free as well because I did it at my own home bank.”

Being away from home, it is always difficult to focus on studies and constantly be thinking about how much money your parents can afford to send you because of the changes in exchange rates. However, Remmele advises that although it is easy to get lost with the constant rate change, it is always good to check your bank account frequently to assure no financial surprises at the end of the year.

“I have the current Euro exchange rate on my laptop so that I know every day how the Euro stands and whenever it is especially good for me, I run to the bank to get some money from the ATM.”

As a student, remember to always treat currency exchange rate like the weather- always be prepared for unexpected changes.

Alex Missick is a junior majoring in journalism at the University of Missouri. She’s an international student from the Bahamas.

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