How to Pay for Study Abroad in High School
Studying abroad in high school is without doubt one of the coolest things a teenager can do. From taking your studies outside of the classroom (and more importantly, your comfort zone) to physically living in a foreign place where you probably don’t speak the local language fluently, participating in this type of adventure speaks wonders about the student, and we all know that the younger you are, the more impressive and meaningful it is.
Your youth is both a major advantage and a major challenge: you are a teenager, and most teenagers make minimum wage or close to it (that 15 cent raise you just got is not as big of a deal as you might think it is, unfortunately). So, how can teenagers afford something like a high school study abroad program when just filling the tank of your beater car is a challenge?
Allow us to introduce you to some of the top high school study abroad scholarships, which are aimed at students just like you who are wondering how to pay for study abroad with a limited teenage budget. Your allowance and movie theatre paychecks will only go so far...
LIT High School Study Abroad Scholarships
These six awesome study abroad scholarships for high school students will make all your travel dreams come true.
1. Reach Cambridge University Scholarship
Designed for current high school students between the ages of 14 and 18, Reach Cambridge offers scholarships to any of its two to three week summer programs in historic Cambridge, England. It might sound too good to be true, but all you have to do to win this (virtually) free three weeks in jolly old England is write a killer essay. Seriously, that’s it. When someone wants to throw money at you for doing literally the same thing you already have to do for school, trust us, you do it.
This prize can be applied to any one of their wide variety of programs, including journalism and media, the performing arts, law, biotechnology, medicine, or even physics and engineering. But really though, who wouldn’t want to study any of these topics in one of the best academic regions in the world? This scholarship covers the entire program fee, including tuition, accommodations, all excursions and lectures, and half of your meals. Be sure to read the prize details carefully, as it does not include some things like transportation to the UK. Time to channel your inner Shakespeare and get pen to paper!
2. Andeo International Homestays Scholarship
Planning on studying abroad soon? Weighing your accommodation options still? Let us throw a wrench in to help you decide: you could win some cold hard cash just by staying in a homestay while abroad. We thought total immersion was a cool enough reason to pick a homestay rather than a dorm, but throwing in some extra dough never hurt either!
The Andeo Summer Abroad Scholarship is open to all students applying for one of Andeo’s individual homestay programs, and ranges from $100-$1000. All you have to do is ask your language teacher to nominate you, and then fill out a short application. Pretty easy, so there’s no excuse not to try! Then, all you have left to do is pack your bags for one of Andeo’s awesome locations, such as Germany, Japan, or Mexico! Andeo is perfect for the student who wants to go somewhere without breaking the bank, but doesn’t have a strong preference about the location or duration— all you have to do is live with a local family. Soooo hard, right?
3. Two Worlds Youth Travel Programs Scholarship
If you are determined to study abroad in high school, but don’t have specific parameters or are a bit more open about your high school study abroad program options, one of the Two Worlds United Scholarships is probably right up your alley. With programs in over 32 different countries and lasting from just a summer to an entire year, students really have a lot of options here. Open to all high school students age 15-18, the scholarship awards range from $250 up to $1800.
Two Worlds United actually has several high school study abroad scholarships available, so applicants aren’t bound by specific criteria. Scholarships are usually awarded based on financial need, academic merit, class rank, and level of courses attempted in high school, but each award is different, so be sure to consult one of their counselors for more specific information. Whether you’re planning on spending a summer taking marine conservation classes in the Galapagos Islands or an entire year studying archeology in Greece, there are financing options available!
4. American Foreign Service Association Scholarship
Potentially one of the most life-changing and overall bada$$ high school study abroad scholarships available, the AFSA offers a National High School Essay Contest every year. The winner of the best essay receives not just $2,500 of straight dolla dolla bills, but also a trip to Washington D.C. to meet the Secretary of State, and a full scholarship for a Semester at Sea excursion. Ay ay, captain!
This prestigious award might sound too good to be true, but it’s actually not that hard to attain! Open to any 9th through 12th grader in any type of school in the U.S. (including home-schooled students!), all you have to do to live aboard the Black Pearl for a semester is write a better essay than all the other applicants. So, no sweat!
Seriously though, if you win, you will make one of the best connections an American can make (short of the President...but the Secretary of State is no slouch, either), will win a lot of spending money, and will get to sail around the world fo’ free while all of your friends are learning the Pythagorean Theorem in a 10’x20’ foot sheetrock box back home. Is there any competition?
5. Sons of Norway Scholarship
Have you been looking for an excuse to celebrate your Nordic heritage? Are you excited to finally have a chance to live up to your Viking ancestry? If you or a parent/grandparent are members of the Sons of Norway, you are eligible to receive some serious moolah. Enter: the Helen Tronvold Norwegian Folk High School Scholarship. (Say that five times fast.)
This scholarship (worth $2,000) can be applied toward the cost of attending any Norwegian Folk High School (check out AFS Intercultural Program!). In case you didn’t put two and two together, this means you’ll be getting paid to frolic with reindeer and catch the Northern Lights in one of the most beautiful countries when you’re not in class...or maybe while you’re in class, if you really play your cards right. Nordics, rejoice!
6. Congress-Bundestag Scholarship
Are you sadly not Norwegian, but looking for some type of similar cultural exchange scholarship? Luckily, Germany’s got you covered! One of the most prestigious high school study abroad scholarships, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program is open to any high school student (with or without cultural ties to Deutschland) to study in Germany for 10 months for free. Yes, you heard us right.
In addition to admission and tuition to a top-notch German high school, the scholarship also covers placement with a host family, pre-departure training in the U.S., orientation on site in Germany, language classes upon arrival in your host community, and cultural excursions throughout the year to the German Bundestag and several cities around Germany. Prost!
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This program is ideal for any high schooler who wants to get a major jump-start on their language skills and networking before college. Because this is a government program, participants will make all kinds of great connections with leaders and academics from around the world, and be exposed to all aspects of German culture at the same time. As if that weren’t good enough, don’t forget that this is an exchange program, so you have the option to host a German high school student for a year as well. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!
Don’t Just Stop At High School Scholarships
These scholarships for high school study abroad are just the beginning, so don’t be afraid to dig deeper! There’s something about young students wanting to take their education to an international level that just makes people want to open their checkbooks, so get creative!
Start a fundraising campaign with FundMyTravel and make Christmas, Hanukkah, and your birthday easy on friends and family, and ultimately unforgettable for you! Don’t forget to check for scholarships through your program provider and/or high school, as many have endowments and grants set aside specifically for students like you. You’re doing something awesome, and there are a lot of funds out there aimed to help adventurers just like you!