Financial Aid, TuitionStudy Abroad

6 Study Abroad Scholarships for Undergraduates

Searching for scholarships should be a priority for students who are serious about cutting down the out-of-pocket cost of studying abroad. Although universities typically have scholarships available to their students for studying abroad, they typically won’t cover the entire cost of tuition and living expenses overseas. Luckily there are some great study abroad scholarships for undergraduates available through various organizations online. Here’s a short list of some you might want to look into.bills

  1. Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $1000 (can be used on tuition, room and board, books, or travel)

Eligibility: Applicants must be full-time undergraduate student and have already been accepted to a study abroad program

Application essay requirements: Applicants must submit an approximately 500 word essay answering the questions “What do you hope to learn by experiencing another culture? How do you expect to apply these lessons when you return home?”

  1. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Scholarship amount: Up to $5000 (scholarship amounts vary based on length of study abroad program and student need); applicants who are studying a critical need language and plan to study in a country where that language is spoken will be considered for the Critical Need Language Award ($8000)

Eligibility: Applicants must currently be receiving a Federal Pell Grant or will be receiving this grant during the semester or quarter they plan to study overseas, have been accepted to a study abroad program of at least four weeks in one country (two weeks for community college students)

Application essay requirements: Applicants must submit a Statement of Purpose Essay as well as a Follow-on Service Project Proposal (maximum length approximately 1.5 pages each)

  1. CEA Scholarships

Scholarship amount: $400-$1000 for summer programs; $500-$3000 for semester, trimester, or academic year

Eligibility: There are merit-based scholarships based, need-based, and diversity scholarships available, each with varying eligibility guidelines; see the scholarship list for more details

Application essay requirements: merit-based and diversity scholarships require essays, typically 400-500 words in length regarding personal goals and what intended outcomes of studying abroad; need-based scholarships do not require an essay to apply

  1. The Critical Language Scholarship Program

Scholarship amount: fully funded program abroad (eight to ten weeks) to develop language skills in Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian

Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate program, and have completed at least one year of academic study at the undergraduate level; applicants applying to Arabic and Persian programs require at least one academic year of prior language study, and Chinese, Japanese, and Russian programs require at least two academic years of prior study (all other languages have no prior study requirements)

Application essay requirements: Applicants must complete one Statement of Purpose essay (500 words), and two Short Answer essays (350 words each) responding to questions (“What aspects of the CLS Program do you expect will be the most challenging for you? How will you meet these challenges?” and “What are your strategies for interacting with people who are different from you or situations that are unfamiliar? How do you approach new environments?”)

  1. Go Overseas Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $500

Eligibility: The Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship is open and available to students of all majors enrolled full-time in a U.S. college institution applying to any study/intern abroad program; applicants do not need to have already been accepted to a study/intern abroad program to apply for the scholarship

Application essay requirements: Applicants must submit a photo essay, a unique photo depicting the applicant’s interpretation of the prompt question “What interests you most about your potential host country?” along with a short essay (250 words) to compliment their photo submission

  1. Boren Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $8000 for a summer program, $10,00 for a semester program, $20,000 for a full academic year program

Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college institution and have applied to study abroad in regions critical to U.S. interests where less commonly taught languages are spoken, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle east (see full list of eligible countries here). Scholarship recipients also agree to work for the federal government for at least one year following graduation

Application essay requirements: Applicants must submit two essays, one discussing the significance of your host country and language to U.S. national security as well as personal career goals (800 words), and a second essay describing their proposed study abroad program (800 words)

Study abroad scholarship essay advice

In the recent article, “How to Write an Outstanding Study Abroad Application Essay” I outlined some suggestions on how to draft an outline and write a strong study abroad application essay. Though the advice here is geared toward writing a slightly longer statement of purpose, it can certainly be applied to shorter scholarship essays mentioned above!

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The Author

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman, SHRM-CP, has a background in human resources, anthropology, and international education. His experience teaching English abroad during a gap year as an undergraduate student in Spain ignited his passion and advocacy for student travel. As a human resources professional, Dave is interested in helping students prepare for future career growth, and for helping facilitate social & cultural inclusion in the workplace.

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