Blog

Browse All Blog Topics

Because Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

How To Fund Study Abroad Opportunities

Jul 20, 2010

by Derrius Quarles

If only money grew on trees. This is a feeling that can be popular among college students. As I write this entry from Accra, Ghana, I have the aforementioned feeling, but I also realize how salient and life-changing traveling outside one’s country truly is. It is an experience everyone should be able to have at least once during their life. However, anyone who has ever done a study or volunteer abroad program during their undergraduate career will tell you how strenuous and tedious the entire process can be. Obtaining your Visa, getting the required immunizations and medication, and most of all, securing the money for the program tuition and fees. No matter where in the world you may be traveling, these fees can quickly add up and, on average, you will have to pay out at least $2,000 to participate in a volunteer abroad program, $5,000 for a summer study abroad program, and $10,000 for a semester abroad program. I think I speak for most college students when I say that college is expensive enough as it is, and $2,000-$10,000 is a substantial cost—a sum that cannot be casually given away. So, how can you get over the fact that money can’t be found on tree limbs in order to go about funding such potentially life-changing international experiences? Well, the first thing you need to do is have an understanding of your options.

Just as there are a variety of undergraduate international programs, there are a variety of ways to fund such experiences. Depending on the description of the program you are doing including: length and time of stay, location, if you are taking courses, if you are performing research, etc your financial-aid options will change. In order to better help you visualize your options I will use a list to break international programs up into three types: Semester Programs, Summer Programs, and Volunteer Programs.

Semester Programs

  • Governmental Aid (Federal Pell Grant)
  • Institutional Aid (Merit or Need-Based Scholarships and Grants)
  • Aid from academic departments
  • Aid from the study abroad organization/company*
  • Outside Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships*
  • Fund-raising*

Summer Programs

  • Aid from academic departments
  • Aid from the study abroad organization/company*
  • Outside Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships*
  • Fund-raising*

Volunteer Programs

  • Aid from the study abroad organization/company*
  • Outside Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships*
  • Fund-raising*

* Denotes aid that can be used for any program type

Semester programs have the largest amount of funding options. What makes them the most ideal type of program is the fact that you will be taking classes abroad at the same time you would be taking them at your home institution, which allows almost all of the financial aid that you have received from the government and from your school to be transferred over to the school located abroad. If you have been accepted into this type of program, you should contact your school's financial aid office in order to start the process to transfer both your governmental aid and institutional aid, including your Pell Grant and merit- or need-based scholarships and grants. Another fairly simple way to receive funds is to meet with the chair of your major’s department and the director of international affairs to give them a description of the program you have been accepted to and to make your case as to why you should receive funding.

Summer programs have fewer options than semester programs, but they are less expensive. You will not be able to use any governmental or institutional aid that has been designated for the academic year; however, this does not mean you cannot receive funds from your school. Like semester programs, you can schedule meetings with your major’s department chair and director of international affairs in attempts to receive funds. In addition to this, you can utilize the aid listed below in the *Aid that Can be Used for Any Program section.

Volunteer programs have the least amount of options for funding, but fortunately, they are also the cheapest type of international program. Options that can be utilized for these types of programs are listed below in the *Aid that Can be Used for Any Program section.

*Aid that Can be Used for Any Program

Most international programs are handled by some type of company that specializes in sending students abroad and providing needed services abroad such as insurance, transportation, housing, etc. These companies almost always have opportunities to apply for scholarships and grants. These opportunities will be very scarce so you must apply for them very early. In addition to these opportunities from the specific study abroad company, you can use outside scholarships you have received to fund your program. For instance, if you have received a scholarship from an organization in your hometown, you can ask the organization to allow you to use your funds for an international experience. Also, there are scholarships and fellowships that are specifically for students who want to study abroad, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Lastly, fund-raising can be the difference between having just enough to complete your international program and staying at home. You can raise funds by drafting a letter that describes your program and why it is important for you to go. This letter can be given to family members, professors, churches, businesses, etc., and should illustrate that you are passionate about going abroad. It should move people enough to give you a small or generous donation. Fund-raising can also be done via social networking sites.

Now that you are aware of your options, it's time to get your international experience funded. Even if you will not be going abroad in the near future it is best to plan early so that you will be able to take advantage of all your options. Though there may not be any money on the trees outside your dorm, you can still find money to see the world.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Most Shared Articles

Due to Oregon's $1.8 billion budget crisis, public university leaders want funding reallocated from the Promise program to the state's need-based grant, which is awarded to low-income students who attend Oregon's public universities. [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

The traditional college route isn't the best choice for everyone. There are ample scholarship opportunities for students who opt for a vocational career, whether it be in the plumbing, carpentry, electrical, firefighting or many others. If you want to learn or hone a specific skill as an alternative to attending a more traditional four-year college, take some time to consider these vocational scholarship opportunities: [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

Wheaton College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, has created a refugee scholarship following the POTUS' immigration order in an effort to preserve their "foreign-born community." Another scholarship called The Privilege Grant, was recently created and is exclusively for white men "pursuing college on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates." [...]

0 months ago 14 comments Read More

February is Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, and is annually spent celebrating the achievements and contributions of black Americans in U.S. history. MLK had a dream - what is yours? Ours is helping you go to college with as little debt as possible. If that's your dream, check out these Black History Month-inspired scholarships: [...]

0 months ago 1 comments Read More

Living the college life has gotten way more expensive since 1980, and not including just tuition and fees. While many types tuition freezes, government tuition-free programs, scholarships, and grants help foot the tuition bill, housing and food remain uncovered, according to MarketWatch. [...]

1 months ago 2 comments Read More

The NFL Super Bowl is right around the corner, and while you may be enjoying the highly entertaining commercials or half-time show, we’ve compiled a list of football scholarships for those of you who one day aspire to play in the Super Bowl. If you have a passion for the game and wish to play at the collegiate level and beyond, check out these award opportunities and get paid to play: [...]

1 months ago 0 comments Read More

At elite colleges, more students come from the top 1 percent than the entire bottom 60 percent, according to a new study. While roughly one in four of the wealthiest students attend elite schools, including five Ivy League schools, graduating college helps "level the playing field for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds," according to Inside Higher Ed. [...]

1 months ago 0 comments Read More

Not all scholarships are awarded to the best writers with the strongest essays. So whether you're too busy writing other essays for school or simply not the best at literary composition, there are scholarship providers that dole out funds for unique hobbies or skill sets; or even for simply entering a contest. Check out these no-essay (or essay-alternative) awards for a chance to fund your college education:: [...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

Prospective Rhode Island college students may score two years of free college with Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $30 million plan, Rhode Island's Promise. Beginning with the class of 2017, the plan would foot full tuition bills and mandatory fees, according to Inside Higher Ed. [...]

1 months ago 0 comments Read More