International Student Cards Help to Save Money

Richard Moor - May 31, 2010
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When a German tourist lost his wallet in Beijing, the police managed to track down the owner by the only form of identification within an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), with an emergency help hotline printed on the back. Along with the ISIC in the wallet was a short note: please, write my paper for me.

As related on BTV's Law Online program, this occurred in Beijing during the Olympics, at a time when ISICs were carried by very few in China. In fact, it took police quite a while to figure out what the card was: an ID card offering discounts on the bus, train and air tickets, as well as for stores, hostels and restaurants.

International Teacher Identity Cards (ITIC) and International Youth Travel Cards (IYTC) are also part of the series under the International Student Identity Card Association.

"ISIC isn't as precious as your passport, so many people like carrying this convenient little card in their wallets as an identification card," said Erica Xue, director of ISIC China's Head Office in Beijing. For Chinese going abroad to study or young people who love overseas travel, getting an ISIC or IYTC seems quite necessary. "Many of the applicants are Chinese who are going abroad to study or travel in the US and Europe," Xue added.

Hou Yujia, now working for China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, is an enthusiastic tourist. "I have quite a few friends studying in Europe who advised me to get an IYTC before I traveled there," she said. "It saved me quite an amount when I was traveling by myself by train, about 20 percent off," she said.

Tian Lijuan got one when she returned to Beijing from Sweden during her summer break in 2008. "My first semester was pretty much spent in schools, but I was starting to take trips in Europe, and this card saved me quite a lot on accommodation and tourist sites," Tian said.

Xue told Lifestyle that they are trying to find more partners that can offer discounts for cardholders in Beijing, especially the areas frequented by expatriates, such as Sanlitun and Nanluoguxiang.


By Song Yuanyuan

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