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Studying abroad is a unique experience that many don’t have access to.
Most colleges are looking to expand their study abroad opportunities for students of all backgrounds. However, people might not get the opportunity to study abroad due to finances. This is generally the biggest obstacle for those looking to study abroad. But, what if money wasn't an issue?
Some people might raise money, find a second job, or spend years saving up. Each year, almost 11% of all undergraduates study abroad with that number steadily increasing. With more students studying abroad, scholarships and resources have become increasingly available for students who are low-income and looking to itch their travel bug.
The pandemic put a halt to many’s study abroad plans. Whether students were already in their country of study or preparing to study during 2020, travel was restricted internationally for many with good reason. Now with the rise of vaccines, however, includes the optimistic re-engagement of international travel. Many U.S. institutions anticipated a 50% increase in study abroad numbers for the 2021 to 2022 school year, including international students coming to the States. Study abroad programs have made adjustments That include quarantining upon arrival, vaccine requirements, socially distanced classrooms, and hybrid work environments. By following these precautions students can still study abroad carefully and safely.
Navigating Your University’s Financial Aid
Every institution in the U.S. has a different way of going about study abroad procedures. When visiting your university's study abroad office, foreign language department, and financial aid office, it’s good to ask directly for what you need. Opportunities can vary based on your major, income, country of choice, semester, program, and more.
Despite high costs, study abroad is a very popular choice for many college students. Many students study abroad during different times of the year. Summer terms are very popular, with 38% of students deciding this route. They tend to be the most expensive though without the offset of financial aid that generally comes with the calendar year. 60% of students who study abroad only do programs that are less than eight weeks long. Sometimes, staying for longer is enticing: 32% of students study abroad for a full semester, and 3% of students study abroad for an entire academic or calendar year.
For some students, depending on how much their tuition is, studying abroad can actually be cheaper than staying at home. When financing for your study abroad trip, keep in mind the cost of travel, food, books, tuition, and other related expenses, as they can tend to build up. If you’re looking to study in Europe, China, Africa, Japan, or anywhere else across the globe, we’ve got some tips for you.
Different Websites to Find Programs with Scholarship Opportunities
There are many websites and search engines that specialize in grants and scholarships to students from underrepresented communities looking to study abroad. Many of these websites are easy to navigate and search for programs that fit your major and by extension, your interests when pursuing a program. By searching through some of these options, you're sure to find a good fit.
CIEE Study Abroad Programs
CIEE’s study abroad programs aim to build bridges between individuals and their dreams of studying abroad. The nonprofit is an organization that gets students in touch with resources to study internationally. They offer their own scholarships, including a GAIN Travel Grant, Gilman Go Global Grant, Merit Scholarships, their Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, Minority-Serving Institutions Grant, and their free Passport Caravan, which travels to different colleges to fund students' passports. By weeding through these options and their program search engine, which expands to anywhere you can think of, CIEE has your back.
A program spearheaded by Arcadia University, also known as the College of Global Studies, Arcadia Abroad is dedicated to the development of international educational services. They provide undergraduate students across the globe access to 100 programs abroad in Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Wales, and the United States. They have partnerships with more than 200 colleges and universities. Their Find A Program Portal, Student Blog posts, tips on Before & After You Go abroad, and faculty/advisor resources help ensure students have an easy transition into their abroad experience.
College Board’s Search Engine
College Board's study abroad search engine connects students with universities and scholarship programs across the globe. They offer free online scholarship databases, tips on how to plan ahead for studying abroad, including how to connect to colleges or universities and take the right courses that will lead you to the program. They can also assist you in how to assemble your applications and submit, make financial plans, and research any admission requirements.
Diversity Abroad Scholarships & Grants
This free database of scholarships targets minority, low-income and first-generation students is called Diversity Abroad. Clear Vision is to inspire the next generation of young people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds by offering them skills, experience and the networking experiences to thrive. They have secured over $1million in scholarship funds, and provided education with professional learning opportunities for study abroad. Their Inclusive Learning Institute, Passport Tour, Strategic Leadership Forum, and annual Diversity Abroad Conference are only some of the many resources they offer to students.
Federal Student Aid, Grants, and Loans
Many students can get financial aid from the Federal Government to help pay for study at international schools for undergraduate or graduate school. When you plan to study abroad, what type of aid you can get in the process depends on the type of program that you plan to enter. They offer tips on their website on how to reach schools and their requirements. Different Partnerships and participating schools may require several application materials. Government grants and loans may be used towards study abroad. You can fill out the FAFSA to determine your financial eligibility.
A Few General Scholarships for Study Abroad
If none of the above options work for you, here are some more competitive scholarship programs and opportunities that are offered internationally and nationally to undergraduate, graduate, and recent grads.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
The scholarship program supports United States undergraduate students to study or intern abroad. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program has granted over 33,000 scholarships to students in various study abroad programs around the world. Gilman Scholars studied or entered 106 countries, 57% were first-generation college students, 56% studied a language when they were studying abroad and 80% acquired skills related to their potential job fields. View their application qualifications here.
John McCain International Scholarship for Children of Military Families
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is open to all the students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities who receive any type of federal financial aid. It's meant to fund undergraduate child dependents of active-duty service members to study or intern abroad on credit programs. View application deadlines, eligibility, award amounts, and the selection and verification process for more information.
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
A summer study abroad opportunity, the Critical Language Scholarship Program encourages students to learn languages that are essential to international engagement. Students are also highly encouraged and expected to continue their language study after their study abroad experience is over. The program offers instruction in fifteen languages with a rigorous program structure.
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
The Fulbright is a grant for individually designed study and research projects, or English teaching assistant programs across the globe. Fulbrighters live and learn with people of their host countries. The program promotes cultural exchange and engagement for recent graduates looking to get more experience. Each year, 8,000 people are funded to visit and live in 160 different countries.
With the provided resources available, we hope to inspire students, recent grads, and young professionals to pursue study abroad programs and other international opportunities. By putting in the required effort, it can be achieved at little to no cost for students to study abroad. These unique experiences can live on in people’s minds for the rest of their lives, and hopefully, encourage people to travel more later.