Seeing the world when you’re young is an amazing experience. It can open your eyes to new perspectives, find new ways to learn and help you develop your personality by exposing you to new experiences and allowing you to meet people from all different backgrounds.
One of the best ways to travel is to really immerse yourself in the culture—it’s almost impossible to really experience another country without living among the locals.
Unfortunately, study abroad programs can be quite expensive. Many students simply can’t afford these programs and miss out on the experience as a result.
The good news is that there are some scholarships available for students who want to study abroad and broaden their horizons, but don’t have the cash to make it happen. Student loans are also an option to look into if needed. Here are some of the top scholarships students can apply for in 2019 to make the dream of studying abroad a reality.
The Boren Scholarship is part of the National Security Education Program. It was established to encourage the study of less popular languages and countries. Recipients are students who are interested in working in federal national security, where languages skills of less commonly-taught languages are important.
United States Students receiving the Boren Scholarship cannot use the funds to study abroad in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
In addition to these stipulations, students who receive the scholarship must work in the federal government for a minimum of one year after they graduate. Students can receive up to $20,000, depending on the length of the study period.
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
A scholarship given by the U.S. Department of State, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship assists students who cannot afford traditional study abroad programs on their own to attend these programs. The scholarship is intended to help students gain language and cultural skills that will help them excel in their future careers.
Grants of up to $5000 are standard. Additional funds are sometimes awarded to students who are studying a “critical need” language, adding up to $3000 to the grant. Alumni of the program have a 12 month noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) hiring status within the federal government, helping these graduates to gain employment in a relevant field.
Sol Education Abroad Scholarships
Students who are enrolled at an accredited university or college can apply for one of many small Sol Education Abroad Scholarships. These scholarships are applied to a Sol Education Spanish language immersion and study abroad programs.
More than 50 scholarships are awarded each year, and range from $100 to $750 apiece. Students must keep a current blog throughout the program and meet a GPA requirement of 2.5 in good standing.
Critical Language Scholarship
Like many study abroad scholarships the Critical Language Scholarship was established to increase the number of students studying and becoming proficient in critical foreign languages.
The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is intended to fund intensive language study and cultural enrichment. Some of the language options include Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian.
Tips for Studying Abroad
Whether you get a scholarship or you’re paying for a study abroad program out of pocket, it can be an intimidating and exciting prospect. There are a lot of details to keep track of and things to do before you leave, especially if you’ll be away from home for several months.
Get the Paperwork and Preparations Squared Away
First, make sure you have all your paperwork in order. That means making sure you have your insurance and travel documents squared away and visit your doctor to get any vaccines before you go. You may need to get supplemental insurance if your insurer doesn’t cover overseas expenses. Many programs have specific requirements.
Money and Budgeting
When it comes to money, you should prepare carefully so you don’t end up overspending or finding yourself unable to pay for something. Bring a couple of cards in case some ATMs won’t accept your primary card, and understand the exchange rate and average costs of the country you’re visiting before you go. Make a budget prior to your departure so that you don’t rack up tons of additional costs that add on to the cost of the program.
Ask for Advice—and Have Fun!
Studying abroad is the most rewarding experience when you embrace it fully. Ask your hosts for advice, make new friends, and commit to immersing yourself in a new culture. Have fun, and remember: studying abroad is about getting out of your comfort zone and learning more about the world and yourself.