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Finding Funding for Your Study Abroad Program

One of the biggest reasons college students rule out a study abroad program off the bat is the idea that they won’t be able to afford the time overseas. But there are funding opportunities out there for those willing to look, and as more importance is placed on the value of learning about other cultures and how matters abroad affect our lives here, more funding has become available for those interested in study abroad programs. Many awards will be need-based, as organizations want to expand educational opportunities to low-income students looking to study abroad, but many others will ask you to describe why the experience will be a valuable one for you. If you feel passionate about the experience you could have while studying abroad, don’t rule it out because you think you can’t afford it. (Same goes for paying for college in general. There are always options out there to fund your college education out there, so make a decision to go!)

Check out some examples below of where you can find scholarships and free money to study abroad. Also remember to contact your financial aid administrator about any assistance to go abroad, as many schools will have college-based awards available for those interested in supplementing their on-campus experiences with some time overseas. For more information on any of the scholarship opportunities described above, conduct a free scholarship search. If you’re eligible for any of these, we’ll match you with them. You’ll also be able to find awards based on other criteria, which may be a good way to lower your overall college costs so that you’re able to save money for your trip abroad.

Scholarships for Undergraduates

There are many scholarship opportunities out there for undergraduate students looking for ways to pay for their study abroad experiences. One of the more prestigious is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which is funded by a $1.5 million annual grant. Students must be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant to be eligible for this award, as the provider, the Institute of International Education, hopes to diversify the pool of students who traditionally study abroad. (More than 80 percent of American students who study abroad are white.)

Local Scholarships

Many scholarships will target those students who attend a particular college or reside in a certain part of the country. For example, the World Affairs Forum has a study abroad scholarship open only to those students in Connecticut’s Fairfield and Westchester counties. The scholarship administrators for this one also want their award recipients to be interested in pursuing international careers. Juniata College offers a number of scholarships to students interested in studying abroad. The school’s Bliss-Karns-Schwemmlein Scholarship for Study Abroad is open to students who are planning a full year in France, Germany, Russia or Spain. Juniata’s Nyse Scholarship for Study in Latin America is self-explanatory. Make sure you look to your college and local organizations for scholarships, as you may not even know of the opportunities in your own backyard if you don’t at least try.

Major-Specific Scholarships

There are a number of organizations out there that want to give your resume a boost with some international experience in your chosen field of study. For example, the McDermott Travelling Fellowship from The Dallas Foundation offers funding to architecture students or recent architecture graduates. Winners are able to fund trips, which they create as part of the application process, to broaden their knowledge in the field of architecture. With so much competition in the job market and an enhanced focus on the world economy, these scholarship opportunities may become even more plentiful as time goes on.

Program-Specific Scholarships

Some of the scholarships you come across may target certain destinations or study abroad programs, so if you’re not sold on studying in a particular country or region of the world, these may be the way to go. For example, the Scholar at Sea scholarship from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars is earmarked for those students interested in the organization’s Semester at Sea program. The Semester at Sea program takes students on a voyage around the world, with the opportunity to earn quite a few transferable credits from the University of Virginia. If you’re flexible on where you want to study abroad and the kind of program you’d like to pursue, do your research. Destinations that are a bit more “off the beaten path” may have more funding opportunities to offer you.

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