3 Ways to Find Study Abroad Scholarship Funding

By Julia Dunn on March 1, 2017

By far, one of the largest logistical barriers that keep college students from studying abroad is not having enough money to afford the trip (and all it entails).

Paying for study abroad doesn’t just mean paying for the airfare to get to your destination — it means paying for food, lodging, possibly education abroad (such as tuition and fees for an international university), and of course, paying for the unexpected challenges that may arise while you’re abroad.


However, finances (in an ideal world) shouldn’t keep students from pursuing a life-changing opportunity to spend a quarter in New Zealand or an entire year in Norway. Here are three places to find scholarships and other funding for study abroad endeavors.

1. Studyabroad.com

On studyabroad.com, you can find a variety of different scholarship types — the website articulates five common types of scholarships to look out for:

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit strong “academic, artistic, athletic or other abilities” as well as to students who have engaged in extensive community service or extracurricular involvement. These qualifications shift depending on the scholarship. These are commonly competitive awards.

Student-specific scholarships are geared towards supporting applicants of certain demographics and other factors such as “gender, race, religion, family and medical history.” Once again, qualifications change based on the scholarship.

Destination-specific scholarships are “awarded by a country to students planning to pursue a study abroad program in that particular country.” These act as incentives to study in one country versus another. You’ll be able to find destination-specific scholarships on government-sponsored travel websites of the country you want to visit. 

Program-specific scholarships are “offered by individual study abroad programs and/or the colleges and universities where they may be associated to qualified applicants.” Similar to merit-based scholarships, these are granted based on student achievement (personal and academic). The study abroad program or university of your choice will likely list program-specific scholarships on its website.

Lastly, subject-specific scholarships are awarded “by study abroad programs or institutions to students based on their particular major or field of study.” The one catch involved with subject-specific scholarships is that they often “require recipients to enroll in subject-specific courses while abroad or conduct subject-specific research while abroad.” Nonetheless, this could be worth the scholarship!

2. Goabroad.com

Goabroad.com is a great resource for study abroad-related scholarships. Here, you may find funding opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students for study-abroad all over the world!

For instance, in their article “45 Scholarships for Study Abroad Around the World,” they list a number of scholarships with specific criteria such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program and the Generation Google scholarship.

“Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program offers grants to U.S. undergraduates with limited financial means, in order to diversify the population of students going abroad. This annual competitive award is given to a limited number of recipients interested in studying or interning abroad.”

“While continuing to break down barriers by inspiring and helping students to become the future of the technology industry, Google established the Generation Google scholarship in order to fund study abroad for American and Canadian students who aspire to become the best computer scientists of their generation. This award is open to all current high school seniors and university students from Canada and the U.S.”

The options are nearly endless — spend an hour or two making notes about which scholarships match your talents, identities, and goals in studying abroad!

3. Your university’s financial aid office

Many students don’t know that they can apply their campus financial aid package to a study abroad trip! Additionally, paying a visit to the office might lead you to chat with a financial aid adviser who may know of insider opportunities for scholarships that aren’t well-known. It never hurts to ask the folks at financial aid if they have any advice or resources that might be a good match for you. Of course, the extent to which your financial aid package can cover your study abroad costs may vary since students receive very different packages from one another.

Ultimately, a lot of the anxiety students have about financing study abroad may be relieved simply by gathering information and asking questions. The trip to Zurich you’ve wanted to take for years may be more in reach than you believe at the moment, and the more you search for opportunities, the more likely you’ll find a scholarship that feels like it was written just for you.

Oftentimes, certain scholarships go unclaimed because students either don’t know that the scholarship exists or don’t think they perfectly qualify to apply. Never hesitate to apply to as many as you can! Otherwise, scholarships sit around like pots of money waiting for students to snatch them up.

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
I am a graduate student in the Creative Writing MFA program at San Jose State University. I specialize in creative nonfiction writing and poetry, as well as composition studies.

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