8 things you can get for free as an int’l student in the US

free things
Here are some free things you can get as as an international student in the US to ease your transition into your new environment. Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Your first week as an international student can be incredibly hectic. There are people to meet, things to do, and places to explore. Most importantly, you’ll be sourcing for a list of essential items that will help kickstart your study abroad experience. One way universities facilitate an international student’s transition to a new environment is by offering a list of free things.

If you are heading to study abroad in the US soon, here’s a list of things you can get for free as an international student:

Where international students in the US can get free things

1. Amazon Prime Student

Need a convenient way to purchase items for your dorm? Amazon Prime Student can be a lifesaver. Some benefits of this membership include free same-day delivery, two-hour grocery delivery, and access to Prime Video and Amazon Music Prime.

You can enjoy a six-month trial. Once this period is over, it’ll cost you 7.49 US dollars for a subscription. 

2. Free food on campus

As you settle down during your first week on campus, you might not have the supplies, materials, or time to whip up a hearty meal.

Luckily, there are many ways to get free food on your college campus. You can use Free food on Campus to search for any on-campus events that provide free food.

Clubs and societies also frequently give out free food and drinks during orientation week or at specific times of the year.

free things

The Museum of Modern Art offers admission for college students in New York City year-round. Source: Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

3. Free museum admission

Museums around the country offer free or discounted admissions on certain days of the week. Sometimes, these museums are free to visit if you’re a student. For example, the Museum of Modern Art offers free admission for college students in New York City all year round.

When you’re free, check out your local museums to see if you are eligible for free admission. Alternatively, they may offer great discounts instead that substantially reduces the cost.

4. Free Microsoft Office

Did you know that your student ID allows you to subscribe to specific software for free? You should apply to access Office 365 Education once you have your valid school address.

The perks include access to a line of Microsoft software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, One Drive and Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools, as stated on Microsoft’s website.

free things

Most universities and colleges allow their students to use all the facilities for free, including the creation centre. Source: Issac Lawrence/AFP

5. Mental health services

One of the free things that you can take advantage of on campus is access to short-term counselling and mental health services.

Many universities offer students free counselling at their counselling centre, while others may also offer free mental health workshops conducted by certified therapists.

6. Save on banking fees

Most international students in the US would opt to open a checking account as it allows them to deposit and withdraw money as often as they’d like. They usually charge a fee when an overdraft occurs (i.e. when you spend more money than what you have in your account).

The great thing is that there are banks that waive that fee for students.

For example, the US Bank notes that if your available balance at the end of the business day is overdrawn by 50 US dollars or less, you will not be charged an overdraft fee.

If your available balance is overdrawn by US$50.01 or more, you could get your overdraft fee forgiven, provided you meet their terms and conditions.

So, keep an eye out for bank promotions and pay attention to the terms and conditions. Contact the bank if you need clarification. 

7. Free tutoring services

Last on our list of free things you can get at university are tutoring services. 

Most universities and colleges offer free tutoring services to guide and help students navigate their academic struggles. Since you have already invested in international education, these institutions pay it forward by ensuring you are well-equipped to succeed in and out of the classroom.

For example, the Sanger Learning Center provides free academic support for all University of Texas—Austin students. Their services include:

  • A one-on-one or drop-in tutoring
  • Access to a learning specialist
  • Weekly meetings with a peer academic coach
  • Resources to improve on public speaking
  • An internal platform for a customised support service experience

8. Free smartphone

You can get a free smartphone when you activate your T-Mobile or Verizon sim package. All you need to do is pay the activation fee and sales tax.