Transferring money abroad – Transferwise

Let me start out by saying that, yes, this post has referral links and if you use them you’ll get your first transfer free! And yes, I will also get a little thank you for every 3 persons who sign up. But this is good – so continue reading!

 

transferwise logo
When I started my days as an international student in New York I used to transfer money from my Danish bank account to my American bank account every month. It was a little annoying because it would first of all take upwards 5 days, but most of all it was annoying because the fees were so stupid! Nordea, my Danish bank would charge me 50 DKK (equivalent to $7-9USD) and then Chase, my American bank would charge me a $15 international wire fee. On top of that, because I did not meet the minimum daily balance of $1500 or had qualifying monthly direct deposit of $500 I would be charged $12 service fee per month. Adding these numbers up that means I had an extra expense of just about $34-$36 per month.

I don’t like throwing money out of the window. But I did. For 2.5 years. Then I discovered Transferwise. What’s even cooler about not throwing money out the window is that Transferwise will give you an even better exchange rate that the banks will! So your savings will definitely stack up!

At first I was weary about sending money using this page but I had heard great stuff – and a friend of mine had used it. It also helped that the business was backed by a certain Sir Richard Branson and that one of the founders came from Skype.

The sign-up process is fairly easy. Prepare to show documentation for who you are. And, then find your correct account numbers. Once you’re ready to make a transfer – and after you’ve done it once – it’s as easy as scratching the back of your head.
You initiate the transfer utilizing Transferwise who will provide you with the account number in the country where you’re sending the money. In my case, that meant I was sending money from my danish bank account to their danish bank account = I wasn’t charged a foreign transfer fee. When you do this, you put in your unique customer code so that they know the money is coming from you. Once they receive it they make the currency exchange and then transfer the money to your foreign account. The transfer is registered by my American bank as a ‘Direct Deposit’, which means that as long as the transfer is over $500 (which is always is) I’m also saving the $12/monthly fee to have my account.
In the early days it did take 4-5 days but now it takes no more than 2 days.

I’ve done  just shy of 30 transfers since I started using Transferwise. All my transfers have been from Denmark to USA, no other countries or from the US to Denmark but I’ve had ZERO issues whatsoever! So yeah, I can vouch for and recommend using Transferwise when you’re transferring money abroad.

If you sign up, using my referral link you’ll get the first transfer for free (certain conditions apply, such as a limit on the amount you’re transferring. You’ll see them when you sign up): https://transferwise.com/u/b0366

 

Have you used Transferwise? What’s your experiences with them? Share in comment below.

 

UPDATE: 3/21/2017
Today I had to make a transfer of USD to an account in Denmark. At first, I thought I’d do it through my business account – but what was I thinking? They were going to charge me $45 from Bank of America. So, instead I turned to Transferwise. If I thought transferring from DKK to USD is easy – this is even easier. I entered the recipients details as I had them from my invoice, and I logged in to my BofA account via Transferwise and done! The money should be there tomorrow already.

Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

Wow! So today, July 1st 2016 – just about 35 weeks pregnant with a little baby boy; I’m sitting on my POÄNG chair from IKEA, in my new apartment in Elmhurst, Queens – thinking back…. Continue reading Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

I’m alive.

My little blog, how I’ve neglected you. Life is hard, you know? Life in New York is nothing like what you see in the TV. There’s blood, tears and hustling involved. Unless you have wealthy parents or have been extremely good at saving – moving to the Big City doesn’t guarantee more happiness in your life. It doesn’t even guarantee that you’ll find yourself, or your long lost dreams or purpose in your life. The only revelation that might hit you is that you shouldn’t have moved to New York to begin with.

Thankfully, the latter is not true for me. I’ve never for a split second regretted making the move. Throwing away a life in Denmark and all the security that came with it. I should have done it differently had I had different tools but “it is what it is” (a new saying that I picked up here in NYC)

I’m hustling. Paying my bills. My rent. My tuition. Keeping up with all the responsibility that comes when you live in a country where you don’t have any security or safety net protecting you – just in case something were to happen.

I love it.

Now, I’m at my 5th and second to last semester as an international student. I have absolutely no clue how time passed by so extremely fast. I feel like it was yesterday that I wen through JFK’s doors with my visa freshly stamped .

When the semester is over in less than two months, I have another 3 months summer holiday and then my last semester. During the summer I hope to travel a little bit and I hope to start my search for a job during my OPT. I really hope that my education, my knowledge and my passion for the city will help me land the job that eventually can sponsor me for a work permit so that I can stay here.

I promise to talk a lot more about that later, because I’m not planning on neglecting the blog much longer. Until then, let me get back to this midterm about financing new ventures … (my entrepreneurship plan class, yay!)

Jobinterviewing in the city

I have never been interviewed for a job. Hold your horses! — It’s not entirely true. I was interviewed for a position at Bauhaus (an European pendant to The Home Depot) and for a office assistant at a start-up of a magazine that is no more. Not jobs I was really interested in, but I was young and desperate to “get something on my resume”

The other day I met with my DSO (Designated School Official) at City Tech. She’s the one that deals with anything “international-student” related. But let me just say: She’s mad cool! It’s so refreshing having someone at the school who knows you and will do their best to help you out. All I needed was a signature to keep my study grant from Denmark, but we ended up discussing the international student situation at City Tech. I told her I think it’s a shame that CUNY doesn’t get more recognition in Denmark. Anyways … The point I’m trying to make is; She asked me if I felt Americanized? – And I do. I’m a new yorker now.

So when this new yorker gets an email from a fancy hotel in the city, asking if I would be interested in meeting for an interview as a concierge, the girl says “Yes, why thank you!”

The interview was really nice, relaxed and I felt like I did a good job. He said that I would make a great addition to the team.
Situation is unfortunately so that I’m not legally allowed to work off-campus as F-1 student unless I get permission to do so. And even in that case, I can not work more than 20 hours a week. The position I was interviewing for was full-time. Sad face.

Nevertheless – I will always be able to contact him again, once I have the permision to work and I really look forward to it.
I would love to work as a concierge – see, I don’t dream of a long career at the top but I want a job that I have passion for, where I feel that I make a difference in the tourist’s life. I think it’s good to provide a service for others, and be able to go home and be the most important person to your friends and family.

So even though I did not get the job – I feel like a got a valuable lesson in job-interviewing and once again I was confirmed that I am in the right industry. The tourism industry. The-being-there-for-others-industry. Plus. Concierges get mad perks. Say Broadway tickets. Say invitations to events and restaurants. Say – tips!!

Next year when I graduate, I hope that I will find a position like that again and that time around I will be able to accept!

Seven years as a New Yorker by heart

They say it takes living 10 years in the City before you officially can call yourself a New Yorker. I say; “I’ve been a New Yorker since the day I sat foot on 42nd street!”.

Sure – What I fell in love with back then, is not what I love about the city today. Much like when you first fall in love with a person — 20 years later it’s not his six-pack or the way she walks down the street in her 6-inch heels. It’s something deeper, way less superficial.

When I came to New York I entered a fairy tale much like what I had seen on TV. I needed a break from my reality in Denmark and the new scenery welcomed me into a unrealistic bubble of joy. Today my life is very real and 90% of the time is super stressful, demanding and tough. It’s a roller-coaster emotionally, a ride I most likely shouldn’t have gotten on.
Am I regretting making the ‘big move’ to New York? Am I regretting following my dreams? Not at all.

I have an apartment that I recently re-signed for a third year. I picture myself staying in this apartment and be like my “old-lady-neighbor” 20 years from now. Most likely I will also have a cat (or three like her) even though the building doesn’t allow it.
I love that I have everything I need around me: The Subway (trains), a subway (sandwiches), Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Chinese Food, Healthy asian food, Peruvian food, Mexican food (like in the “the chinese-people-are-making-the-mexican-food” places) Italian food, pizza, Jewish restaurants (I don’t think I’m allowed to go in. They have no windows, or the windows they have are covered in heavy curtains) Pharmacies, CVS, Knish Knosh (look it up), several banks (not like any of them want to give me a loan or a no-fee account), Super markets and farmers green market. Oh, and my gym. I keep forgetting. Yes. All of that within 3 minutes walk. We also just got a 99cent store called Youtube.

My commute to school is on average an hour. I don’t mind. I have an iPad and I’m really good at being cool like the rest of the New Yorkers who commute hours daily. Like, I will form the words of the songs with my lips and try not to make a sound. Yes. And I will push you to the side when I need to get out if you don’t understand you have to. I don’t care. I still get up for the pregnant and the elderly though.

I can’t believe I’m at my 4th semester at CUNY. I’m still studying hospitality management but my heart is in tourism. I hope that when I graduate next year, I will get a job that can sponsor me so I don’t have to go back to Denmark. Yes, there I said it: I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back. I can’t possibly leave my home …

Read my 5th year anniversary blog: http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/09/26/five-year-anniversary/

7 years has passed by. I still [heart] New York 2006-2013!

 

MY first picture from 42nd street
MY first picture from 42nd street

3. semester start and update

Yes, you haven’t heard from me since last summer. Most of you probably thought I completely forgot about y’all! I didn’t. I can’t explain what happened, but all of a sudden 6 months went by without a single blogpost. Now, we’re in 2013 and I started my 3. semester at City Tech in Brooklyn. A few months ago I got my credits from Denmark transferred, and I now know that I’ll be graduating in Dec ’14 with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality management.
Eventhough there’s still almost 4 semesters to go, I know it’ll go by super fast and before I know it I’ll be looking for a job in the hospitality field here in NYC. As some of you know, after a F-1 visa holder finishes his/hers studies they’ll allowed to work full-time 12 months (so-called OPT) in the field of which they have been studying.
I don’t want to go back to Denmark, so I hope that the OPT will open some doors and give me some opportunities to apply for a work permit and eventually a Greencard.

Last semester was really, really tough. I went through some personal challenges and focusing on school was difficult. But I managed and with a little help from my professors (They’re the best, seriously) I got through. My GPA is now 3.2, and I think that’s pretty good considering all the facts …

This semester I’m taking 4 classes. I would love to take one more, but can’t afford it. International students pay per credit, one class is normally 3 credits. I need a minimum of 12 and that’s $6000 right there my friends. Still no scholarships .. Still carrying the load myself.
But, I’m taking one class in particular that I’m really excited about: “Urban Tourism” First of all, the professor (Phillip) is amazing. I took one of her classes last year too. Second, the subject is what I’m all about … So, hopefully I’ll gain a lot of knowledge and tools to use on my project “Turist i New York” (www.turistinewyork.dk) Lately there’s been a lot of support and the Facebook Page has gotten almost 400 likes!! I’m ecstatic and really hope that I can one day support myself financially while doing what I love; Helping people getting the best NYC-experience possible.

Until you hear from me again …

6 months later

The story of a transformed Dane

I’ve been a visa-holder in the USA for 6 months now. There’s nothing ‘big deal’ about it, because of all my previous travels I have already spend a tremendous amount of time in the States.
But I feel at home. Like I said I would. I don’t feel homesick, there’s nothing about living in Denmark that I miss. My family, yes! I miss my family a GREAT deal! I hate missing out on my sisters graduations and their lives. I hate that I can’t see my mom when I know she wants to see me. But, besides from that loss – I lost nothing by moving here.

I’m about to renew my lease on my apartment. It’s already been a year since I got it. Still don’t have enough money to completely furnish it, but my super keeps an eye out for me and that way I got a free (and well-maintained) IKEA couch.
I also finally got a real bed after about 9 months of sleeping on an air mattress. I got a good deal on it, from one of the Danish folks over here that had to go back to DK.

It’s been super tough the first six month but I’ve found a way to keep up the good mood and continue my school work. That’s why I’m here after all.

 

I’m continuing …. That’s the purpose. Keep fighting for your dreams…… even if people shake their heads and say: Naaah, little missy, you won’t make it!

License to … Drive, Tour.

I finished my 1. semester with a 3.7 something GPA and I’m happy.

With that said: I got 3 months of summer holidays before my next semester begins. What to do?

I’ve been planning forever on getting my New York City Tour Guide License so that when I’m legally allowed, I can start giving tours. It’ll cost me $50, and a lot of prep. But I think it’s about time.

I have also been contemplating getting a driver’s license, since it’s way cheaper over here than in DK. Problem is, I’ve never driven a car and I’m afraid I need a bunch of lessons – which could add to the expenses since I don’t really know of any good friends with cars, that could teach me. Hmm.

So – my plans for this summer is: Get $$$ (I’ll be the one digging for treasures on Jones beach) and try and get my licenses. Get a good tan (and I’m not taking about the tan-line on my feet because of my sandals, please) Have delicious smoothies, meals, cold beers, great laughs (I didn’t buy those Comedy Club tickets from that guy at Times Sq for nothin’) and … Well, try and breath and let time slowly pass by.

My new dream

I’m so excited that I finished first semester with great outcome. I definitely showed more dedication – the whole ‘mandatory class attendance’ works really well for me (fyi, dk-college not so much)
Still missing one grade (I wonder what’s keeping him) but I got two A’s and one B+ (the professor is a tough grader and doesn’t easily give out A’s) Continue reading My new dream

Status on NY dream no. 5

I’ve been talking about the different attempts and the progress in the ‘reaching of my dream’ over the course of a few blogs, Status on NY dream vol. 1-4*. Now it’s time for an update.

I realized I had to get a Form I-20 from the university before even being able to apply for a visa. This caused med a bit of anxiety and stress, but finally I have the paper! Got it – along with a message that I need to get an Assessment test before being able to register for classes.

I took the Assessment test (CAT) this past Thursday. It’s a reading, writing and math test. I wasn’t too nervous about the reading and writing part (that I believe I did pretty well) but the math part really freaked me  out. What will happen if I fail it? I’m not even sure. And the stupidest thing is I got the best grades in math just a few years ago. Guess it has to do with the fact that I wasn’t allowed any help besides a calculator and some of the questions, I simply didn’t understand!

On Dec 21, I’m going to get the results and I’ll be able to register for classes as well. As a part of this, I have to give proof of having being immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (which I have, and my doctor in DK is working on a translated version of my documents) I also have to pay a $100 commitment fee (is that subtracted from my tuition? I hope so!)

After I got my Form I-20, I did my DS-160 visa application, along with paying the SEVIS fee of $200. Booked my interview at the embassy in Denmark for Jan 3. ’12. (When I return to DK there’s another fee for the interview of about $150 I have to pay)

At the moment I’m trying to figure out how many scholarships there are available in Denmark for us ‘free-movers’ who are planning/responsible for all parts of our education. Most of the scholarships I’ve found is only available for master/ph.d ‘student’s and not for bachelors like myself. Also, the fact that I’m not enrolled in any Danish colleges/universities causes problems. One would think that WE that plan our own education abroad would be ‘favored equally’ with any other danish students – but no!

But you know what, it’s taken a long time to get here and now I’m most likely going to be back in NYC with a VISA in under a month – so who cares about the little things! I’ll figure a way to make it work, like I always do!

To be continued ….

ALSO:
* read previous chapters here:

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/04/19/status-on-ny-dream/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/05/10/status-on-ny-dream-vol-2/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/06/17/status-on-ny-dream-vol-3/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/06/21/status-on-ny-dream-vol-4/


Still no visa.

This is getting on my nerves. If there’s anybody that deserves getting a visa I would be one of the first on the list. Have I not done everything the last 5 years in accordance to getting this dream fulfilled? Or am I fooling myself. Where did I go wrong?

I still need to prove I have about $14.000/year – right now, the only solution is someone willing to sponsor me, and understand that I wouldn’t really take their money because I have the money coming from scholarships in Denmark.

Anyone? *sigh*

This is stressing me out.

Also read: http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/10/08/application-for-the-immigration-certificate-of-eligibility-form-i-20/

Getting on top of my situation

So this whole ‘getting my student visa’ situation is really getting frustrating. I keep reading other people’s experiences and hearing how other people did it. People give me good advice but when I look at my papers it looks a lot more complicated.

It makes me really sad, because I really want to continue my education in New York. I think it will be an awesome opportunity to study hospitality and tourism in the greatest travel destination on earth! Also, I don’t feel that I put my best foot forward while studying in Denmark and I do want to enhance my understanding of the industry. Plus, I think it will benefit not just me on a personal level but also the business I want to build once back in Denmark.

Anyways, I’ve not given up the last 5 years and it’s absolutely not the time to do so now. Not only is it a perfect choice for me to study in New York it will also be of my own personal interest. I have a lot of friends in New York that I can’t wait to get to know better and I wanna ‘be a part’ of the group! I’m not ready to say goodbye to any of them now.

So in my fight to keep this dream going I went to get my picture taken yesterday, and I filled out my application for the green card lottery. I did it a few years ago, not knowing that you’re not suppose to pay for it. This time I did it the right way and it was so easy! Now, obviously there’s no guarantees that I’ll win it but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Today I was also looking into other hospitality management programs in New York. There’s definitely others but the cost is still the same or more. I wish I didn’t have to show documentation that I have $32.000 … When in fact, I do have them .. coming!

Ay, this very second I’m just going to enjoy that the sun is shining and I have a view that gives me butterflies …
The Truth!

At least I’m alive.

I’m going through more than I want to admit right now. It’s really really hard! Not only am I dealing with personal issues that I should have dealt with years ago, I also have to face the fact that I’m actually in a bad state – financially!

As I mentioned in my last blog I accidentally misunderstood how I need to provide the financial documentation that I will be able to pay the expenses involved with studying in the US.

That meant that I’ll have to come up with a whole bunch of money. My bank, with a little help from my grandfather seems willing to help out with a loan. My financial situation in general isn’t that bad, so they’ve normally been really helpful and this time it sounded like we’d be able to work something out, even though it’s a whole lot more than what a normal 26-year old would borrow when it’s not for a house or a car.

Next Thursday I have my final exam where I have to defend my dissertation. I should have started preparing but I’ve been so focused on my financial situation. Actually, I’ve been worrying a lot…. I wanna do what’s RIGHT!

Ayayayay

Application for the Immigration Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20)

Well isn’t this just lovely?

I didn’t do my work good enough, I hadn’t read my papers thorougly enough – the ones I got when I was accepted to CUNY.

I thought I didn’t have to prove I had the financial funds Continue reading Application for the Immigration Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20)

Status on NY dream vol. 4

Only a few days after my last blogpost I went to my mailbox and the only thing awaiting me was this beautiful envelope:

cuny acceptance letter

The letter was thick and heavy and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to open it. When I finally did, my heart sank when reading the first word: ‘Congratulations…’

Really didn’t read the rest of the letter until a few hours later. First, I had to phone my mom and let her in on the good news. She was of course so happy for me, but I think I also sensed her being a little bit sad. After all, this is going to mean that I will be out of Denmark for quite some time. But as I told her, I will be back!

Then I texted a few good friends in New York. And finally I posted the news on facebook! Normally my status updates doesn’t get a lot of ‘Likes’ but this one cleared the table!

Finally I read the whole letter but especially the first paragraph felt so unreal:
“Congratulations on your acceptance as an advanced standing student into the Hospitality mgmt program at New York City College of Technology for fall 2011 semester. I am pleased to welcome you to the City Tech family”

Me, chubby little Dane, a part of the the City Tech family. ME!!!!

Even writing this now, makes me so emotional. It’s not like I have doubts in myself ’cause I know my own value.

It’s just, when I realized I wanted live in New York back in ’06, I didn’t even have my high school diploma. I was a drop-out, a quitter, a wreck in many ways.

I pulled myself together and did what I had to do. And NOW – It paid off!

Well, there’s not enough time to apply and get the F-1 visa (student visa) so I will have to talk with the school to postpone my start until spring semester ’12. But no worries, this will only allow more time to finish all necessary paperwork, applying for scholarships, finding proper housing, work/save money etc. Plus, I do have unfinished business (like a dissertation) in Denmark.

You know what, cross that part  – Not that important right now …

I DID IT!