Part-1 How International Students from developing countries can save money while being at GCC by Zerin Firoze

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I was born and raised in a developing country, Bangladesh, and it was my dream from a very young age to study in the US. A lot of youths like me from developing countries also aspire to study in the US. It is extra challenging for poor students from developing countries to be able to afford to study in the US. Students from developing countries cannot remit money to a foreign country. The US government is also notorious for imposing sanctions in certain countries. Exchange rates plus foreign transaction fees by banks also add up. For example, 1 US dollar is 84 takas in my country Bangladesh. There is no legal way to remit money and corrupt middlemen charge high fees. I am a student from a developing country and here are the following things I have learned after coming in the US. I hope these tips will help you to save both time and money.

Choosing the right college

I would encourage all students to start at a community college first. You can literally save thousands of dollars and still get the same degree and classes at a cheaper price. Many community colleges like GCC do not even charge admission fees. It is completely free to apply for admission. You just need to apply online. So, apply to as many colleges as you want.

Learn to drive in your home country

Many cheaper colleges in the US are located in rural areas with little to no public transportation. You can save a lot of money by choosing a rural location. The cost of living in large cities is extremely expensive. It is not possible for students to pay out of state tuition fees and still afford thousands of dollars per month for rent, food, and other basic necessities. According to American Infrastructure Report Card, the US infrastructure is crumbling and has a rating of D+. Driving schools in America are very expensive. Private one-hour driving lessons are also very expensive and are not available in all rural US counties. So, try to get some driving time before coming to the US. Ask your family members or relatives in your home country to teach you driving for free.

Try to learn about car maintenance and repair before you come to the US. Then, attend a defensive driving course and Driver’s Education course in the US to get your license. You will be very busy being a full-time student once you come to the US. So, try to learn basic life skills while waiting for your acceptance letter from US colleges or for your visa interview.

Learn how to cook and preserve food before coming in the US

I lost thousands of dollars in wasted food. I had no idea how to preserve food. I had no experience in estimating the shelf life of certain food items. I cried when I had to throw away tons of fruits, frozen meat, and cartons of milk. I have been in the US for two and a half years now and I still did not find the time to read all the articles or watch all the videos that I always wanted to watch about food preservation. You can save a lot of money by learning to preserve food. Cooking skills are also important. Next time, hit the grocery store with your mom and learn about basic spices and ingredients if you are not a cooking pro.

Learn how to use coupons and rebate apps

I remember how overwhelmed I was when I first landed at JFK airport and very quickly I became busy with campus life. I had no time to read blogs about saving money in the US as a full-time student. I had no leisure reading time outside college textbooks. Hence, do yourself a favor. Read blogs and website articles about saving money in the US while you are waiting for a decision from US colleges or for your visa interview.

Coupons and rebate apps are not used in my country at all. I became familiar with coupons and rebate apps after coming in the US. It took me two years to learn to use coupons and rebate apps. Now, I am the ultimate coupon queen. I received $54 cashback from Ebates and $55 from Ibotta just for buying groceries and other necessary items. Groupon is also a great website to save money. Learn to use coupons and rebate apps before you even come in the US. Read articles about rebate apps and coupons on the Internet.

I will share more secrets and life hack in part-2 of the same article next week!

 

 

 

 

Read this before you register for a class!

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I have taken a lot of classes at GCC and I have learned a thing or two from my mistakes. I wish there are things I would have done before registering for a class, costing hundreds of dollars. Instead of, leaving important decisions and consequences of signing up for a class to fate!  Spring Registration begins October 1st.

  • Speak with your Academic Advisor and Success Coach

You might think it is a hassle and a waste of time to schedule an appointment to meet with your advisor and success coach but trust me it is important to meet with both the academic advisor and success coach. This is, especially true, for International students. You will be wasting a lot more time and banging your head in frustration when your advisor messages you that you did not sign up for the right class. Meet with your advisor even if you know your degree requirements because you can find a lot more information about your future classes, instructors who would be offering your classes and other academic activities. Your advisor and success coach also have a wealth of other resources that can help you. Message your advisors if you have any questions or if you are too busy to schedule an appointment to meet in person.

  • Meet with the Instructors in person before you sign up for a class

It is extremely important to meet with the instructors in person before you sign up for a class unless you want to be miserable for the rest of the semester and waste hundreds of dollars and your valuable time. You will get an idea how your instructor is when you meet with them in person to discuss their class requirements and expectations. A lot of students are excited to sign up for a new major or class. However, they are quickly disappointed and surprised when they do not like their instructors after they start a class and are half-way between the semester and it is too late to drop the class. Hence, they are stuck with an instructor and a study style they do not like. There are several instructors offering the same classes. Pick the instructor with whom you best get along. Ask your instructor how and why certain students perform poorly in their class. Your instructors can give you valuable advice to ensure your success.

  • Read the description of classes online before you sign up for a class

Carefully read the description of each class before you register for these classes. Check how much time you need to spend on each class before you sign up for additional classes. International students with no financial aid must purchase their books ahead of time during winter and summer break. Double-check what other additional materials you will need for a certain class. Try to use Schedule Planner to organize your time and classes.

  • Speak with students who have already taken those classes with a certain instructor

Students who have already taken classes that you are about to take are a bundle of resources that you must utilize. However, do not be persuaded by the opinion of just one student. Speak with multiple students, including students who have dropped the class. Learn from the mistakes other students have made.

  • Check if you accidentally qualify for another certificate

A lot of classes and degree requirements are very similar. For example, both the Nursing Program and Respiratory Care program have similar prerequisites. Health studies certificate and child care certificate have similar classes. You may have to take one or more additional classes to earn another certificate. Hence, carefully select your classes. Additional certificates can boost your resume.

May the force be with you!  Happy Spring Registration!

 

Fundraising for GCC Respiratory Care Club

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I am a sophomore at GCC and one of my majors is Respiratory Care. I am raising funds for the GCC Respiratory Care club by selling holiday chocolates, holiday gift tags and wrap. Healthcare majors are very expensive. Hence, GCC Respiratory Care club helps all respiratory care students to pay for some expenses like CPR certification, mock exam cost, three days’ review sessions, board preparation, trips for conferences, pinning ceremony and poster presentations.

All the money raised by GCC Respiratory club will be spent on the students. America needs more respiratory therapists. So, please help us to raise funds. I am sure most of you will buy chocolates and holiday goodies for your friends and family. I would highly appreciate if you buy some goodies from me as your valuable money will be used to help students. I am proud to announce that GCC Respiratory Club has partnered with “Niagara by Frey Premium Chocolates” to help students. “Niagara by Frey” is a leading fundraiser for countless schools and organizations in Western New York.  “Niagara by Frey” is an all American brand famous for making delicious chocolates and other goodies.

Some of the items that we are selling are:

  • Milk Chocolate Sponge candy $14.00
  • Orange Milk Chocolate Sponge Candy $14.00
  • Dark Chocolate Sponge Candy $14.00
  • Chocolate covered Pretzels $11.00
  • Pecan Caramel Clusters: $10.00
  • Cashew Caramel Clusters $10.00
  • Almond Butter Crunch $10.00
  • Peanut Brittle $15.00
  • Chocolate covered Oreo Cookies $14.00
  • Chocolate Raspberry cups $12.00
  • Peanut Butter cups $12.00
  • Chocolate Caramels $12.00
  • Chocolate Truffles $12.00
  • Chocolate Rounds $12.00
  • Milk Chocolate Miniatures $15.00
  • Holiday golden trees wrap $9.00
  • Red Stripe Wrap $9.00
  • Light bulbs wrap $9.00
  • Santa Claus is coming to Town wrap $9.00
  • Holiday gift tags $5.00

There are coconut clusters, raisin clusters, almond chocolates, chocolate Biscotti Prato, teddy bear, Santa, nutcracker, holiday foiled novelty assortment, chocolate sports car, ornaments, tool kits, dino eggs, various kinds of crème d’ Orange and chocolate locomotive, motorcycle and fire engine. If you want to see the holiday fundraising catalog, then please feel free to contact me. My email address is zfiroze@my.genesee.edu You must order by 26th October, 2018 if you are interested to help GCC Respiratory Club to raise fund for student expenses. Product delivery date is on 30th November, 2018.