Last Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Studying abroad during winter or summer breaks, a semester, or a full year is an incredible opportunity for linguistic and cultural immersion and fostering a global mindset. Regardless of your career goals, expanding your life experience through international travel can broaden future internship and professional opportunities as well as deepen your understanding of the perspectives of your fellow students and future colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Students may not realize that there are many private scholarships to help reduce or fully fund study abroad opportunities that allow you to volunteer, learn a language, or immerse yourself in a culture. As with all scholarships, it’s recommended you look ahead to future requirements to plan, prepare, and present the best possible application to the scholarship committee. The following are several scholarship opportunities to jump-start your plans for traveling and learning about other cultures.
1. Boren Awards
The Boren Award scholarships are designed for both undergraduate and graduate students to travel and study abroad for research and language study in world regions critical to US interests, promoting linguistic and cultural immersion. Awards go up to $25,000, and the deadlines differ depending on if you’re a grad or undergrad. The deadline for graduate student travel fellowships is January 27, and the undergraduate deadline is February 3.
2. Fulbright US Student Program
The Fulbright US Student Program is an extremely generous and prestigious scholarship program. Recipients of this scholarship have their full travel and living expenses covered by the award. Opportunities exist for high school seniors as well as undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. There are additional awards for professionals with up to five years of study or experience in their professional fields. This scholarship program supports open study, research, serving as an English language teaching assistant, public health support, and cultural storytelling. As these awards act more like grants, students must submit a Statement of Grant Purpose to be eligible.
3. Go Overseas Scholarships
Go Overseas Scholarships are for college students or students designing a gap year plan. The scholarships support studying in Australia, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Sweden. Opportunities for volunteer travel trip awards also exist through this organization. You could receive up to $22,000, and the deadlines for opportunities vary.
4. ISA with World Strides Scholarships
Multiple opportunities are available for studying abroad or opting to take a gap year to travel through the ISA with World Stride Scholarships program. Students can travel and have an immersive experience in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Korea, or Spain. Awards go up to $5,000, and the deadlines for applications—depending on the location of travel—are October 30, February 28, and April 30.
5. Listen and Learn Language Travel Scholarship
The $3,000 Listen and Learn Language Scholarship is open to US and Canadian students over the age of 18 who, at the time of their travel, possess beginner-level Spanish or Portuguese language skills. This is an ideal opportunity for students who have a desire to explore Latin America and further their foreign language studies through an immersive experience. The deadline for applications in 2021 has yet to be announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Margaret McNamara Education Grants
Margaret McNamara Education Grants are awarded to women who intend to work in or with a developing country to improve the lives of women and children. Applicants must be at least 25 years old. With awards of up to $15,000, recipients can travel to Canada, Latin America, and South Africa. Deadlines for applications are September 14 or January 14, depending on your travel plans.
7. Spanish Studies Abroad Scholarships
The Spanish Studies Abroad Scholarships are specifically designed for students wanting to travel to Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Spain. Students have the option to apply for merit-based and diversity-based scholarships of up to $1,500. There are awards for students traveling for a semester, an academic year, or January or summer break. The deadline for applications is May 15.
If you enjoy exploring the world, studying abroad can open up new experiences that will impact you for a lifetime—but it can also be an experience with a large price tag. Do yourself a favor and start planning long before you intend to study abroad so you have ample time to research and win scholarship awards to help you pay for it. Happy travels!