Interview with Patrick Evans from STA Travel
Patrick Evans is the Marketing Communications Coordinator for STA Travel, which is the exclusive distributor of the International Student Identification Card in the United States. If you're a student and you don't know what the ISIC is, you should. Here's why.
G2G: Why should someone get an ISIC?
PE: The main reason to have an ISIC is access to more than 33,000 discounts in 103 countries. Pretty much anywhere you are – including the U.S. – you have access to discounts that can save you money. For example, ISIC holders get 11 percent off of all JetBlue flights, 11 percent off at Macy’s and 10 percent off purchases from Target.com. Internationally, there are discounts at a number of museums, theatres and restaurants.
The ISIC is also the only internationally recognized student identification card, so you don’t have to worry about a local attraction in Siena, Italy, not offering you a student discount because they’ve never heard of your school. Your International Student Identification Card also comes with travel insurance in case of an emergency.
G2G: Who can apply for the ISIC?
PE: To qualify for the ISIC, you must be a full-time student of at least 12 years of age and be enrolled for the academic year at an accredited institution and matriculating towards a diploma or degree. If you are under 26, but not a student, you can enjoy the same discounts by purchasing an IYTC (International Youth Travel Card). The IYTC offers almost all of the same great discounts as the ISIC.
G2G:What are best perks of the ISIC in your opinion?
PE: The travel discounts with the International Student Identification Card are fantastic. Not only does the ISIC allow you to purchase discounted airfare, accommodations and tours from STA Travel, you also get 11 percent off of flights from JetBlue, as well as 15 percent off of the lowest available fare on Amtrak. The ISIC also entitles cardholders to up to 50 percent off at Park ‘n’ Fly and free currency exchange with Travelex.
G2G: Based on the number of applications you're receiving, do you think more college grads are choosing to travel rather than face such a competitive the job market?
PE: Since the ISIC is required to purchase travel from STA Travel and can be purchased by anyone who meets the requirements, we haven’t seen an increase due to the current economic climate. However, we are seeing an increase in students requesting information and applying for Work Visas for countries like Australia, where STA Travel offers job training and placements programs.
G2G: Are there any countries where the ISIC is not helpful?
PE: The ISIC is useful in any country due to its internationally recognized status as an identification card, as well as the included travel insurance and access to the travel emergency help hotline.
G2G: How long does it take?
PE: The length of time depends on a number of factors. After you purchase your card online, your student status or youth status is verified and then the card is processed. There are a number of shipping options to choose from to get your card in as soon as two business days after processing.
G2G: It's such a cool concept. Can you provide some history of how the ISIC came to be? How did it get started?
PE: The International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) is an international non-profit member association established in 1949 and is the governing body of ISIC. In the 1950s, student leaders in a post WWII era had envisioned a concept of a single internationally recognized student identity document to promote international understanding through international travel and educational exchange opportunities.
Introduced in 1968, ISIC was made a reality to facilitate this vision and designed to create opportunities and aid travel for students through access to information, support systems and discounts and benefits.
G2G: Are there any other services or programs related to the ISIC that our readers should know about?
PE: UNESCO shares a close relationship with ISTC, endorses ISIC and recognizes it as a unique document that is the official internationally recognized proof of student status. ISIC, ITIC (International Teachers Identification Card) and International Youth Travel Card also feature the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) logo. As mentioned, STA Travel is the exclusive licensing office for ISIC, IYTC and ITIC in United States and is required to purchase discounted travel from STA.
G2G:Anything you'd like to add? I forgot to ask about cost!
PE: The ISIC, IYTC and ITIC (for teachers) are all $22, plus shipping. New discounts are constantly being added, so the best way to keep up to date on the latest deals is to check MyISIC.com. For example, there is a ISIC-exclusive promo of two free days with the purchase of an 8-day Eurail Select Youth pass available through the end of July.
G2G: I think this is the most acronyms we've ever used in an interview. Whew! Thanks Patrick for the informative interview!