It’s a popular misperception that Studying abroad is expensive, but guess what? There are literally thousands of grants and scholarships available for study abroad, all waiting for you to apply! Who doesn’t enjoy getting free money? Just thinking about that makes us all emoji our hearts with an eye and a heart.
Here are 10 tried-and-true methods for getting the greatest study abroad scholarships (but don’t believe they’re simple methods!). We understand that you want to visit wonderful destinations, but given how busy you are with your obligations to family, friends, work, and school, we didn’t want to waste YOUR time by giving you outmoded advice on how to win those honors. We wanted to get right to the point. Thus, without further ado, read our concise instructions on how to study abroad with a scholarship. Choose a location (preferably one of the best).
Step 1. Get assistance
First and foremost, don’t be reluctant to ask those close to you for assistance. Ask your teachers, the financial aid office at your university, your academic advisors, and the study abroad office about any scholarships or grants they may be aware of.
If at all feasible, phone or visit these offices in person to seek guidance on how to obtain a scholarship to study abroad. This will not only make it simpler for your lecturers or the study abroad office to assist you, but they will also be pleased by your obvious resolve and initiative on account of your arrival to speak about financial aid in person. Ask the experts if they know of any study abroad scholarships—finding them is the hardest part of acquiring one!
Step 2. Continually do research
Do your research, we cannot stress this enough! You’ll receive more financial aid if you apply for more scholarships. Start by looking through the GoAbroad Scholarships Directory! There are other additional sources, such as NAFSA, that produce lists of scholarships for students who wish to study abroad, but this list is not comprehensive, so you should also look into other options, such as the following:
- Location-Specific Grants and Scholarships for Study Abroad: These grants and scholarships are designed to encourage students to pursue studies in particular nations or even specific places, such as scholarships designed especially for those who want to pursue studies in Japan. These scholarships may be offered by your university, the government of the nation in which you want to pursue your studies, or even the government of your own nation, which seeks to promote cross-border interchange of study abroad students.
- Scholarships or grants for studying abroad that are specific: to a particular program are frequently provided to students who choose to do so. Only students who intend to study through that program are eligible to apply, whether it be through an independent study abroad provider or a specific program created by your university.
- Subject-Specific Grants and Scholarships for Study Abroad: Many grants and scholarships are given to students who intend to pursue a specific field of study or major while studying abroad, such as Foreign Language Scholarships. This financial aid can be very specialized, focusing not only on the field of study but also on a specific field to be studied in a particular nation.
- Scholarships/Grants Awarded to Individual Students: Certain scholarships are given to individuals based on their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. For high school students, there are, for instance, particular study abroad scholarships! Programs like the Diversity Abroad Scholarships or the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship are particularly beneficial for students looking for financial aid because there is a demand for more diverse study abroad students. Minority study abroad scholarships are available; you simply need to look for them.
- Scholarships and grants for study abroad offered by colleges: Many universities offer merit-based scholarships and grants that are open to all students interested in studying abroad. Don’t limit your investigation to the financial help offered by your native university, though! Depending on your associations, several institutions may provide undergraduate study abroad grants. Also, research the university you plan to attend while studying abroad. In order to attract a more varied student body, many higher education institutions across the world provide scholarships to international students.
- Scholarships and grants offered by organizations: Make sure to conduct in-depth research on nonprofit, chapter, or heritage organizations that might award scholarships or grants to worthy students who meet their requirements. Scholarships for LGBT students or students of Italian or Hispanic origin are excellent examples. There are countless options!
- Government-Funded Grants and Scholarships for Study Abroad: In addition to guaranteeing that your FAFSA financial assistance will transfer over for your study abroad semester, there are a variety of government-funded grants and scholarships that support students who choose to study or work overseas. The Fulbright Program and Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships, which the UK government funds expressly for international student leaders wanting to study in the UK, are two excellent examples of this.
Step 3. Make Direct Contact With the Scholarship/Grant Funder
Contacting the funder directly is the greatest method to learn all the specifics of the scholarships you will be applying for, as well as the most recent application requirements, as they essentially wrote the book on how to acquire a scholarship to study abroad! The scholarship or grant funder/provider will see that you are not scared to take the initiative and actively pursue the scholarship you are applying for and that you have all the pertinent information.
Step 4. Improve Your Resume
Once you’ve made a list of the study abroad scholarships you intend to apply for, it’s time to focus on getting the scholarships. The résumé you have is a big component of this! Don’t go over one page, update all of your latest college activities, and don’t forget to highlight any overseas experience you may have had. It’s crucial to write clearly.
Along with resumes, cover letters are often essential components of applications since they provide you the opportunity to explain why you should be given a scholarship. You cannot, however, simply submit a cover letter proclaiming what a fantastic student you are. Concentrate on how you intend to apply the lessons you learned while studying abroad to your life at home and on campus.
If you are submitting an application for a scholarship to study abroad offered by a foreign university, be sure to research the format used by that nation for resumes and cover letters. If you feel confident enough in your language abilities, you might even want to try writing them in the language of the nation you will be attending!
Step 5. Look up your references.
Not your bibliography, mind you. Personal references—people you’ve worked with in a professional or academic setting—are required for the majority of study abroad scholarship essays and applications. For the majority of students, this entails contacting their lecturers and requesting for assistance. Always ask your professors well in advance so they can ready when you need a reference or a recommendation letter from them.
Also, you should pick teachers or companies with whom you have had contact so that they are familiar enough with you to recommend you. In other words, unless you have a solid relationship with your professor from two years ago’s Spanish 101 class, don’t ask them to write your reference letter.
Make contact with people in positions of authority who you know would be pleased to suggest you for an international study scholarship and are also relevant to the scholarship itself. Reach out to the academic adviser of the campus group you are a member of, for instance, if you are applying for a leadership scholarship overseas. Contact your political science professor if you are interested in applying for an international relations scholarship. Nonetheless, no matter who you contact, always be kind and keep in mind that you are requesting that they take time out of their busy schedules to assist you (and a follow-up, written thank you note never hurts either).
Step 6. Put it on the Calendar
It can be challenging to remember all the many deadlines and application requirements if you are applying for multiple scholarships or grants in addition to the study abroad program itself. Although it might seem apparent, create a calendar just for your scholarship applications for study abroad, with each deadline prominently marked. When submitting applications for multiple scholarships (or even just one! ), staying organized is essential.
Step 7. Apply now, Apply Now!
Although it might seem exhausting, apply for study abroad scholarships as soon as you can. It WILL take a lot of time and patience to complete this task, but every little bit helps. Since you’ve already put in a lot of preparation, your procedure ought to go without a hitch. Even the smallest awards add up, making your summer, semester, or entire year abroad much more manageable and less expensive.
Moreover, wherever possible, make sure to customize your applications and resist the urge to just copy and paste data from one program to another. Scholarship sponsors are aware when you have read up on the principles of their organization or the specifics of a given scholarship. You will have a lot better luck learning how to get scholarships to study abroad if you personalize each application.
Step 8. Take it seriously and give it some time
It might be simple to feel pressured to complete applications quickly, especially if you are submitting multiple applications. Yet much like the applications you submitted to get into your university, you should take study abroad applications seriously. Let yourself enough time to finish all of your applications without feeling pressured by a tight deadline. Read and follow the instructions carefully. If you do not feel pressured, you will produce higher-quality work, and better work increases your chances of receiving more financial aid.
Step 9. possess good grades
Although it may seem obvious, you frequently need to have outstanding marks in order to qualify for a scholarship to study abroad. Although not all scholarships or grants do, many of them do, many of them require excellent grades or grade point averages. This is for no other reason than that the scholarship sponsors want to ensure that the recipient is committed to their study abroad program. To demonstrate to scholarship providers that you intend to take your study abroad experience seriously as a chance to not only travel but also to broaden your academic horizons, it is crucial to put in the work and earn good marks prior to your time abroad.
Step 10. The Passion Is the Evidence
A personal essay is required for the majority, if not all, scholarship applications for study abroad. You might start experiencing intense recollections of the stress you felt while writing your college applications essays, but don’t worry! This is your chance to excel in these apps. In your application essay, make sure to demonstrate your enthusiasm for studying abroad and the nation you’ll be visiting.
The people who fund and offer scholarships want to know that their money is being put to good use, and that the students who apply for them value the chance they are being given. Don’t be scared to express yourself; share your background and provide evidence for your deserving of the scholarship that will fund your international studies.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind while applying for study abroad scholarships is to put in the same amount of time and effort as you would for any other academic scholarship. If you do this, you will undoubtedly see the benefits. Even if you do not obtain as many scholarships for your study abroad trip as you had planned, there are still ways to pay for it, including crowdfunding platforms like FundMyTravel and jobs like teaching and babysitting while you are there (a great opportunity to get to know the local culture!).