Saturday, November 22, 2014

Study abroad scholarships

As an undergraduate student, one of the biggest obstacles for my dream of studying abroad was money.  I was managing to fund my studies via a full tuition scholarship, various smaller scholarships, Pell grants, and work study. I didn't think I could manage to cough up enough money to finance a semester-long study abroad program, but my boyfriend (now my husband) encouraged me to at least check it out, so I did. As it turned out, I was able to apply the dollar value of my full tuition scholarship towards the total cost of the program, and fund the remaining portion with a study abroad scholarship and student loans (which were worth every penny that I'm repaying!).  But if I hadn't had the full tuition scholarship, I never would have had the opportunity, because I couldn't have managed to come up with the money on my own.

That's why I love these two scholarship programs.

  1.   This program has scholarships for undergraduates and fellowships for graduate students.  These awards are extremely competitive, because they fully fund the study abroad program, and it funds study in areas that are of interest to national security (Western Europe is off the list, in other words).  This scholarship does come with some strings attached, as recipients have to agree to work for the federal government
  2.  This program is for undergraduates who receive Pell grants. Participants can study anywhere except Cuba and countries on the State Department's Travel Warning List.  The award can be up to $5,000, with $4,000 listed as the current average. In addition, if you're studying a critical language, you can apply for an additional award of $8,000 to support your study abroad program.  If I were an undergraduate now, I would be learning Mandarin.  (I'm still going to keep trying, but my old brain doesn't retain the characters.)

If you're interested in study abroad, speak Spanish, and would like to know more about my study abroad experience, I've written about it here.