Study Abroad Scholarships

Study abroad scholarships are available to students hoping to travel while continuing their education. Whether students want to travel for a few weeks during their breaks or for a full academic term, scholarships can help them afford to do so.

While many scholarships for study abroad are offered to students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, some scholarships may be reserved for students who have recently graduated or plan to work in conjunction with a student program.

The following sections detail the types of study abroad scholarships, the benefits of each program and potential eligibility requirements that may apply to some scholarship programs. Even if scholarships cannot grant students free trips to foreign places, they should not be overlooked as viable means of paying for study abroad programs. Students can read the sections below to determine which scholarships may be suitable for their travel plans. Additionally, they can better learn if they may qualify for certain study abroad scholarships offered in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Types of Study Abroad Scholarships

Scholarships for study abroad opportunities are divided based on the organization that funds them, the location to which students are traveling and the frequency in which they are provided to students. For instance, some summer study abroad scholarships may be distributed to a specific number of students on a yearly basis. A list of the scholarship types offered to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students studying abroad is as follows:

  • The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
  • The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
  • Fulbright Student Program
  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program
  • The Boren Award for International Study
  • The Language Flagship
  • Project GO
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

Of course, countless other scholarship programs and organizations award financial aid to deserving students going abroad, but the list above represents some of the most common and nationally recognized scholarships available. While some study abroad scholarships merely provide financial aid to students traveling abroad, others offer accommodations and employment opportunities through the program or a partnering organization at the student’s destination. Students are advised to review the terms and conditions of all scholarship opportunities before accepting or rejecting offers to ensure they receive the type of assistance they require.

Where to Find Study Abroad Scholarships

Scholarships for study abroad trips can be found online, in reference works in libraries and from reliable professionals. Information on study abroad scholarships can be accessed on each program’s official website and from resources provided by students’ colleges. Foreign language professors and administrators may be familiar with scholarship programs to recommend to their students. At some post-secondary institutions, study abroad offices can help place students in programs that satisfy their educational requirements and offer competitive scholarship deals. When searching for information online, students should rely on study abroad organizations such as Go Overseas, SIT Study Abroad, CIEE and the American Institute for Foreign Study, as they are global organizations that have served thousands of students.

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Students should also consider researching programs and scholarships that may not be specifically designed for study abroad purposes. If students want to conduct research or study geographical areas or historical events, some scholarship programs may allow student to use their funds to travel abroad. In these cases, general scholarship resources from places such as financial aid offices and education departments may be able to supply students with useful information. However, study abroad scholarships should be prioritized.

Requirements for Study Abroad Scholarships

Unlike most other scholarships with clear regulations, study abroad scholarships vary greatly in terms of eligibility criteria and may be a combination of merit- and need-based. Students are advised to review program-specific guidelines for each study abroad scholarship application individually to ensure they are eligible to receive funds. However, the study abroad scholarship essay is a common requirement for students seeking financial aid for studying abroad. Students applying for financial aid should prepare to write an essay for each application. A list of helpful essay writing tips is as follows:

  • Be yourself. You should tell your personal story in your essay and explain what studying abroad would mean to you.
  • Be specific. General statements are dull, so try to add details about yourself and your experiences that are unique and truly original.
  • Be bold. You could contact the scholarship program to find out to whom you should address the essay and express your desire for traveling by telling the reader why you are the best candidate.

Why should you apply for study abroad scholarships?

Study abroad scholarships can be applied to other types of financial aid including, but not limited to, grants, loans and other scholarships. Primarily, scholarships for study abroad offer students great financial rewards. In addition to the financial benefits these scholarships provide, students may experience the following benefits:

  • Explore a new culture. Living in a foreign country with constant exposure to new opportunities and cultures can be gratifying and humbling. Understanding how others interact with the world is a great skill, and living in a country is the best way to get the full experience.
  • Make connections and friends from around the world. Study abroad scholarship programs often pair students with other students in the same disciplines, taking the same courses or visiting the same areas. Students should take advantage of this and the chance to communicate with the locals while abroad.
  • Become independent. For many students, studying abroad may be the first occasion for them to be away from home for an extended period and fully rely on themselves. Being independent in this type of environment can prepare students for their lives after graduation.
  • Expand your opinions. Talking with other students and locals may influence students’ opinions and participating in local events and activities may change students minds about controversial issues or enlighten them about their newfound political beliefs.
  • Prepare for the international workplace. Because workplaces are now diverse and may even be remote, being familiar with other cultures and perspectives is extremely beneficial. Not only will students learn to recognize diversity while abroad, but they will be able to appreciate it.
  • Improve your language skills. Students immersed in another language are more likely to develop their speaking abilities in that language. Students studying abroad should practice their language skills by conversing with locals whenever possible.
  • Visit locations you may not otherwise visit. Due to the funds study abroad scholarships offer, students may choose to visit places they may not have previously considered visiting due to financial limitations. Students are encouraged to travel while studying abroad and visit as many locations as possible during their studies.

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