7 Scholarships That Will Give You Money to Study Abroad

study abroad scholarships

Paris. Tokyo. Lima.

Just imagine living and studying in one of those cities: sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sampling sushi, or speaking Spanish.

It might sound like a dream. But it could become reality if you choose to study abroad.

If you’d like to do so but imagine it’d be completely out of your budget, then you should consider a study abroad scholarship.

7 study abroad scholarships you should know about

When it comes to studying abroad, navigating financial aid can be tough.

Although your aid might apply if you enroll in a university-affiliated study abroad program, it probably won’t cover all 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

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

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

2. Boren Awards

If you’re interested in working for the federal government, you need to give Boren Scholarships a look.

They offer a whopping $10,000 per semester 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:

study abroad scholarships

Image credit: Boren Awards

In exchange for the scholarship money, you’ll commit to serving in the government for at least one year upon graduation.

3. Fund for Education Abroad

The Fund for Education Abroad (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 enrolled in an undergraduate institution. Preference is given to those with demonstrated financial need — especially first-generation, minority, or community college students.

4. Tortuga

Tortuga’s biannual study abroad scholarship offers one lucky winner $1,000 and a Tortuga backpack. The winnings can be used for tuition, room and board, books, or travel and will be sent directly to your program or university.

Applicants must be studying at a four-year university in the U.S. and, to be considered, must submit a 500-word essay.

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

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 because of financial circumstances. It awards more than 2,900 annual scholarships of up to $5,000.

To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen and Pell Grant recipient 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 gap years. There also are biannual scholarships for studying and volunteering abroad in the amount of $500 each.

Any student enrolled full time at a U.S. institution can apply for the $500 study abroad scholarship by submitting a creative photo and 300-word essay.

7. Hostelling International

When you travel abroad, you’ll probably stay at hostels. And before you go, you probably should apply for a scholarship from Hostelling International (HI). In 2017, the company awarded 98 scholarships of $2,000 each.

Unlike many other programs, HI doesn’t require that you study 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 communities where HI has a presence. You also must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 30 and must demonstrate financial need by being a Pell Grant recipient or having an income that doesn’t exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. (This year, that’s $36,180 for a single person in the contiguous U.S. or Washington, D.C.)

The wide world of study abroad scholarships

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

Depending on factors such as where you’re traveling and what you’re studying, you can find many more. There are, for example, scholarships for studying abroad in Japan or Eastern Europe, for Girl Scouts, and for kids of Chevron employees.

If you’re a person of color, a first-generation college student, or from a low-income family, you also should check out Diversity Abroad’s searchable database for a range of study abroad scholarships.

Lastly, 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.

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

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