Inflation causes financial difficulties for exchange students and prevents them from visiting home


Gas prices over the summer caused an increase in travel costs (U.S. News)

Ross Tipton, Writer

Summer is traditionally the perfect time for travel for many UMKC students. This summer was something of an exception because of the skyrocketing cost of airfare, gasoline and travel in general. 

The result? Many students had to forego those trips in order to save money to cover the basics like rent, food and gasoline. For some international students, that meant skipping long-awaited overseas trips to visit family.  

Mani Shankar Kambham, an international student from India, who is working on his master’s in computer science at UMKC, is not going home for the summer to be with family because of inflation and weaker exchange rates.  

“The groceries that I help to buy for my family have gone from 1,400 rupees up to 4,000 rupees because of inflation,” Mani said. “I usually order groceries for my family online, because it saves a lot of money versus offline. It takes a few days to receive them, but at considerable price savings,” Mani said.  

Many international students are competing for jobs on campus just to keep up with the costs of transportation and food. The jobs that international students can work are limited because they are only permitted by law to work 15-20 hours a week.  

Abhinav Gajula, a sophomore at UMKC, who is an international student from India, and studies computer science said, “Flights home are unaffordable and costs are so high right now, saving money to travel is impossible.” 

Gajula hasn’t been home since he started attending UMKC, because of rising costs in the last two years. 

“We are not allowed to work off-campus, so that makes the job market very competitive on campus,”  Mani said.  

“A raise in wages or extra hours of work would help out a lot with rising expenses,” Gajula said.  

Mani hasn’t been home in two years because of the rising cost of flights and because he doesn’t want to put the financial burden on his family.  

Mani lives off campus because of the costs, so he stays with friends who are also international students to collaborate and offset the price of living. This helps to save a little bit each month.  

“Sometimes I use my car and sometimes I take an Uber, and other times I ride the bus. My roommates and I trade off and do whatever makes the most sense as far as costs to travel around town.” Mani said. “I split the money with my roommates to buy an older car, because we could not afford a newer car.”

“Sharing the car helps us to save money so that we can do something fun once in a while,” Mani said.  

Vinay Donda, a senior in computer science, who also works on campus said, ”I really love my job at UMKC, although I wish we made a bit more money to help out with the inflation of rent and groceries.”

Mani’s family is working harder and longer hours to send him more money to afford school, and are relying on him to make the extra money that is needed to meet the higher costs of inflation.  

His job working in the computer lab has eased the burden on his family and has helped him to stay in school long enough to finish his masters degree that he will receive in December.  

Mani is looking forward to returning home because the job market is very good for people with his education and level of experience. His family is also looking forward to having him back.  

Even with the cost of inflation, hard-working families are going the extra mile to survive and succeed, and the opportunities here at UMKC are providing most of what they need.  

All three students said that an increase in hours or wages would greatly help out and give them what they need to continue their success here at UMKC. 

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