A Look at Study Abroad Scholarships
If you have been considering studying abroad for a summer, a semester, or even a year, your biggest concern has probably been whether or not you can pay for it. The answer is yes, you absolutely can afford to explore the world as a student. And, it is the opinion of many, that it is an opportunity that you simply cannot afford to miss. In fact, traveling abroad while in college can be the cheapest way to roam the globe, if you take advantage of study abroad scholarships. These funds are widely available and generally broken into the same categories as traditional student aid.
Merit-based options are nearly unlimited, but they are all offered based on students’ abilities. These abilities may be academic, artistic, or athletic. If you excel in any of these categories and have a demonstrated record in school, community and social life, you can expect to be eligible to apply for a number of programs. You may not have to look any further than your own school to find many of these. Schools with dedicated travel program offices often provide opportunities to currently enrolled students.
Foundations that offer academic awards to specific groups of students may also offer products for study abroad. In general, these groups include specific genders, religions, or races. Although minority grants are the better known of this category, there are as many focused on students of either gender, various religions, and even certain families. If you have already qualified for student-specific funds during your college career, contact the organization who provided the money to determine whether they offer travel-oriented options.
In an effort to promote travel to their country, governments will offer scholarships to students considering studying there. Your school’s program office or the private program you have chosen to coordinate your studies can inform you of whether the countries you are interested in may offer these. Surprisingly, travel agencies, based here or in your destination country, can also be very informative about possible funding opportunities provided by the host country.
In understanding program-specific scholarships, it is important to note that program means the travel study program, not your academic program. As such, these monies are granted by the institution or agency who has designed your travel program. Typically, your eligibility will be based on your academic record. Many institutions will have more specific criterion to determine qualified candidates, such as work history or volunteerism.
Based on your area of study, particularly what subject you plan to study while abroad, subject-specific grants can help you to determine which programs are a best fit for you. Some are general, requiring a specific major, while others are more specific, requiring research on a requested topic. All are offered by the programs, institutional or private, that coordinate your educational travel. You should inquire about the availability of these funds as soon as you begin planning your trip. If changing your focus could mean spending less, then be prepared to re-think your course.
World travel is an invaluable opportunity. You should consider every option you may have for study abroad scholarships. Your research time will be well worth it. In the end you will have gained life experience and, possibly, not lost a dime.