International Student Edition
Interview Topic: Financial Challenges
image: Single Sisters in University
Sisters! Meet Sue, a college graduate with a degree in Administrative Studies. As a former international student in the U.S., Sue shares her experience facing financial challenges.
Tell us a bit about your situation in college: Did you work as an international student? How did you support yourself financially?
As a freshman, I worked in my school’s daycare then later on, I took a job as a laboratory assistant. My parents supported my tuition and rent fees.
What were some of the financial challenges you went through as an international student?
My parents just gave me the minimum to cover my tuition and rent and the rest I had to hustle. WIthout having a decent pay, I couldn’t always cover my grocery expenses, afford to go out with friends, or purchase things I wanted; it was stressful. As an international student in the States, you can’t work outside school so this doesn’t give one the option to get a good job like resident students, so it’s tough.
How did you manage to solve these issues?
I don’t think I managed to solve these issues because there were no other options for me as an international student. I couldn’t work off-campus so I just had to deal with the low pay I received from my campus job.
What financial tip or money saving trick did you acquire during your experience?
I learnt to balance between my wants and needs. I can’t get everything my friends have, I have to prioritize the things to buy and not to buy.
How did your faith help you deal with your financial struggles?
To be honest my faith didn’t play a big role in dealing with my financial struggles because at the time my relationship with God wasn’t that strong. I prayed to God for my studies and to provide for my needs but when it came to handling money I did it my own way.
Looking back, what lesson do you take from this journey?
I understand now that God wanted me to go through that financial crisis in order to rely on Him. I came to understand the difference between needs and wants, save and manage money.
What advice do you have for international students going through these financial struggles?
I’ll advise international students not to give up. They should understand that they are not alone in this situation, many students, international or resident, go through this path. They should take this time as an opportunity to rely on God for their provision. Don’t fix your eyes on money, God is the One who possesses silver and gold, consequently, trust in Him is paramount. Also, be a cheerful giver, it’s true international students have little but giving, either to the poor or the church, will allow God to bless them even more.