7 Scholarships That Will Give You Money to Study Abroad

 July 20, 2020
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study abroad scholarships

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When it comes to studying abroad, navigating financial aid can be tough. Though your aid might apply if you enroll in a university-affiliated study abroad program, it probably won’t cover all of your living expenses. And it definitely won’t cover extra baguettes or spontaneous weekend trips.

That’s where study abroad scholarships can help. Although some are big and some are small, every dollar (or euro) will help you have a more financially secure experience.

Here are seven scholarships for studying abroad.

1. Scott’s Cheap Flights
2. Boren Awards
3. Fund for Education Abroad (FEA)
4. Tortuga
5. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
6. Go Overseas
7. Hostelling International (HI)

Plus: Where to find more study abroad scholarships

1. Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott’s Cheap Flights is an email newsletter that alerts travelers about airline deals. And, wanting to help young travelers see the world, it awards one $1,000 scholarship each fall and spring.

Applicants must be U.S. permanent residents enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program. To throw your hat in the ring, you’ll submit a 500- to 1,000-word essay based on a prompt; the most recent one was “Why is travel important to you?”

Important note on the ways to pay for college study abroad programs
Remember that scholarships almost always don’t need to be repaid. That’s what makes them such a great alternative to study abroad loans that need to be repaid with interest.

2. Boren Awards

If you’re interested in working for the federal government, it’s worth giving the Boren Scholarship a look.

It offers a whopping $10,000 for 12 to 24 weeks or $20,000 over 25 to 52 weeks to students who study less commonly taught languages in underrepresented regions “critical to U.S. interests.”

Students can apply to study in any country outside Western Europe, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Preference is given to those who stay for six months or more, and those who study one of the following languages:


3. Fund for Education Abroad (FEA)

The nonprofit FEA offers a range of scholarships for students who want to broaden their travel horizons.

Scholarships are available for a full year ($10,000), semester ($5,000) or summer (a minimum of $1,250, prorated by the number of weeks).

To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who’s enrolled at an undergraduate institution. Preference is given to those with demonstrated financial need — especially to community college, minority and first-generation students.

4. Tortuga

Tortuga’s biannual study abroad scholarship was suspended in 2020 to account for the international coronavirus pandemic. When it’s up and running, though, it offers one lucky winner $1,000 and a Tortuga travel backpack. The winnings are sent directly to your program or university and can be used for tuition, room and board, books or travel.

Applicants must be studying at a four-year university in the U.S.

Once you apply, however, note your submission becomes the property of Tortuga — and could get posted on its blog or social media accounts. Winners should expect to be featured.

How to win a scholarship to study abroad
Click the link above to learn about how Gabby Beckford won $41,027 worth of study abroad scholarships, including $20,000 via the Boren Scholarship.

5. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Funded by the State Department, the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship program is targeted at students who might not study abroad due to financial circumstances. It awards upwards of 3,000 annual scholarships of up to $5,000.

To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen and Pell-grant recipient who’s studying at an accredited undergraduate institution. Awards are based on academic records, diversity of background, program and destination and community impact. You could receive additional funding if you study a critical-need language.

Best of all, the scholarship comes with a year of noncompetitive eligibility hiring status with the U.S. government — which gives you an advantage when applying for government jobs.

6. Go Overseas

It makes sense that the popular study abroad website Go Overseas would offer its own scholarships.

They range from full-tuition scholarships for studying abroad in Ireland and New Zealand to partial funding for taking a gap year. There are also biannual scholarships for studying and volunteering abroad starting at $500.

Have a specific country in mind?
Japan study abroad scholarships
Scholarships for U.S. citizens studying in Canada

7. Hostelling International (HI)

When you travel abroad, you’ll probably stay at hostels — and before you go, you should probably apply for HI’s Explore the World Scholarship. In 2019, the company awarded 115 scholarships of $2,000 each.

Unlike many of the other programs, you don’t need to be studying abroad in an official credit-earning capacity; your trip simply must incorporate education or volunteering.

To be eligible, you must live in one of the metro areas where HI has a presence:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Sacramento, Calif.
  3. San Diego
  4. San Francisco
  5. Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Md. and Va.
  6. Chicago
  7. New Orleans
  8. Boston
  9. Minneapolis
  10. New York City
  11. Portland, Ore.
  12. Austin, Texas
  13. Houston
  14. Richmond, Va.

You must also be:

  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Between the ages of 18 and 30
  • Have demonstrated a need for financial assistance

You can sign up for HI’s study abroad scholarship alerts here.

The wide world of study abroad scholarships: where to find more

The study abroad scholarships above are general, and applicable to a wide breadth of students. But they’re just a small sampling of what’s available.

Depending on factors like where you’re traveling and what you’re studying, you can find many more. Consider seeking out scholarships for studying abroad from:

  • Schools: Don’t forget to see what scholarships your university or study abroad provider might offer; for instance, CIEE, IES Abroad and USAC all have scholarships for students who study abroad through their programs.
  • Countries: Even if you’re hoping to attend school in one of the countries that offer college at no cost, see what their governments offer to foreign students seeking financial aid.
  • Companies: Ask your employer to see if it has a resource like The Chevron International REACH Scholarship Program, or survey other organizations for opportunities.
  • Online databases: For example, if you’re a person of color, first-generation college student or from a low-income family, you should also check the searchable tool via Diversity Abroad for a range of study abroad scholarships.

While this list is a good starting point, ask around and research all your options. Not only could it mean more money when you study abroad, but it’s also a skill that will serve you well on your travels, too.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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