Student Resources from our Partners at

by MPOWER Financing | In Financial Empowerment, Guides and Tools | 6 September 2022 | Updated on: April 17th, 2023

Preparing for international study isn’t just about financing and applications. You also need to make sure you’re ready for life in a whole new country (or continent!). Everyone knows the importance of studying and getting good grades. But what about the basics — like health insurance, mobile phones, housing, and credit cards? 

Even though these are essential to student life, it isn’t easy knowing where to start when you’re arriving in North America for the first time. That’s where MPOWER and can help

We’re excited to bring international students like you this list of back-to-school resources from It’s important to compare providers and find the best fit for you, but these are a good place to start: 

Health Insurance

Medical costs in the U.S. are expensive, and while not every school will require students to purchase a health insurance plan, it’s still useful to have in case of unexpected illnesses or injuries.

International Student’s Insurance Search provides a great search tool made specifically for international students. Their tool lets students compare a variety of health insurance providers — depending on your needs and situation. 

Why is a great choice for international students searching for insurance?

  • Decades of experience. Trust in more than 20 years of experience matching international students with health insurance providers. 
  • Plans that fit your budget. Explore affordable health insurance plans beyond school-provided options.
  • Just for you. Plans within their search tool are designed with coverage that international students need — like repatriation of remains and emergency medical evacuation coverage. 

Mobile Phone SIM Card

A student’s phone is their best friend, and is an irreplaceable tool for communication, safety, and internet access. Still, not every company within the U.S. or Canadian will offer plans that fit the international student’s life. 

campusSIMS works with Mint Mobile to provide contract-free SIM cards at affordable rates. You can also sign up before you leave your home country to receive a free SIM card and acquire a U.S. phone number.

Why should international students choose campusSIMS?

  • No U.S. SSN or bank account needed. Set up your phone plan without needing U.S. documents. 
  • Seamless wireless service. Access service and data as soon as you arrive in North America. 
  • Get a U.S. phone number. Make domestic calls easily while in your country of study.

Bank Accounts

When you’re studying overseas, being able to access your money hassle-free is important. Carrying cash is one option when you’re paying in-person, but students will need a way of storing and transferring money digitally. 

Sable provides U.S. bank accounts for international travelers, with perks like guaranteed best currency transfer rates, multi-lingual support, and the ability to open an account even before arriving in the U.S.

What are some unique benefits that Sable offers to international students?

  • Open your account in advance. Sign up for an account with only your passport and visa.
  • Great currency exchange rates. Get the best possible exchange rates when exchanging money from 55+ countries.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are needed in many situations when studying in the U.S. — especially when traveling. For example, you’ll need this form of payment in order to reserve a hotel room. Credit cards are necessary in many situations, but qualifying for a card can be difficult for international students without a credit history. 

Deserve provides international students with access to credit cards even without a credit history or social security number, and comes with perks like 1% cash back. 

Why is a Deserve credit card a great choice for international students?

  • Build U.S. credit. Start building your credit history through use and repayment, which could increase your access to lending options when financing larger purchases more easily in the future.
  • No social security card required. Apply early and have your credit card ready to use as soon as you’re in your country of study. 

Student Homestay

Students in the U.S. and Canada often live in on-campus housing, but there are actually many options for student lodging. One lesser-explored option for international students is homestay, which means you’ll live with an American or Canadian family host.

StudentRoomStay helps match international students with their ideal host families and can even provide meal packages and airport transportation services.

Why many international students count on StudentRoomStay:

  • 25 years of experience. Find a host family with confidence by leaning on StudentRoomStay’s many years of experience.
  • Every host is certified. 100% CSEIT certification means your safety is guaranteed with training, in-home interviews, and background checks. 
  • Your choice of add-ons. Customize your homestay experience with options like airport transportation and meal plans. 


Step one of the international student journey is getting to your destination country. And yet, the high cost of airfare presents a real challenge for many international students. 

StudentUniverse has partnered with to provide discounted airfare for students looking for low cost flights to their country of study.

Why should international students book their tickets through StudentUniverse?

  • Student-only savings. Search for affordably priced tickets from over 200+ airlines.
  • Additional discounts. Save money when you use your account to book a flight. 

Textbook Rental

Tuition isn’t the only cost students will need to plan for when attending a U.S. or Canadian school. Textbooks can be expensive — often as much as hundreds of dollars per semester.

PerLego is an online library with access to more than 900,000 textbooks. Their textbook subscription saves students money by allowing them to digitally download their books instead of buying. 

Why do we recommend PerLego for international students over competitors?

  • Fully digital textbooks. Study from your smartphone or laptop and ditch the heavy backpack. 
  • Rent, don’t buy. Save money and space by not holding on to old textbooks you don’t need.

Tax Returns

International students in the U.S. are required to file a tax return. Even if income was not received, Form 8843 must still be submitted each year. Tax returns are typically due in April, but the deadline can come up fast! Bookmark the following tax return guide for information on filing a tax return so you’re ready when returns are due.  

Sprintax provides the expert services you need around filing your tax returns. Check out the tax guide and explore Sprintax for personalized tax help if you have more complicated returns.

Why should international students use Sprintax over other services?

  • Guaranteed compliant tax returns. Submit your tax returns with confidence without having to learn a new tax code.
  • Fully digital filing. Don’t worry about sending or receiving physical mail. You’ll get your tax return electronically. 
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