Looking for Study Abroad Scholarships? The COMPLETE Guide

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GoAbroad tackles how to fund study abroad

Commonly cited barrier to study abroad: Cost.

Solution: Study abroad funding.

BAM, problem solved. Now start applying and confidently pursue your globetrotting, soul searching dreams with full pockets.

Uncover the secrets of study abroad funding stretching as far as the eye can see, over the rainbow, and all the way over to your study abroad destination. Even if you already have your world adventure covered by personal funding or other international scholarships, picking up some additional study abroad scholarships here and there will help alleviate airfare costs and make up for a potentially pricier cost of living. A disadvantageous currency exchange rate, hidden study abroad program fees, and an inability to work abroad hike up costs higher than what you may budget back home.

girls running down the street towards the sun
Grab your wallet, your besties, & go — study abroad!

Just a bit of careful planning and a little extra effort invested into applying for the right study abroad scholarships can make the difference between pinching pesos and splurging on spontaneous weekend explorations. With mountains of specialized study abroad funding sitting around, crying out for financially savvy students to claim it, studying abroad has never been easier. 

In this guide on study abroad scholarships, you'll find info on...

  • Popular study abroad scholarships
  • International scholarships
  • Merit based study abroad scholarships
  • Foreign exchange student scholarships
  • Minority study abroad scholarships
  • Summer study abroad scholarships
  • As well as the 411 on study abroad loans, study abroad grants, study abroad fellowships, and study abroad fundraising ideas.

Let's get started! If you're looking for study abroad scholarships, this complete guide will make it rain rupees, pounds, dollars, and any other currency you’ll be needing abroad. Cha-Ching!

money clip with USD cash

You want to study abroad, but you don’t want to empty out your wallet? Same.

About study abroad scholarships

If you’re just starting your research journey, you’ll be surprised to find the sheer range in international scholarships available. There are awards amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to full-rides covering everything from airfare to a monthly stipend. With study abroad scholarships celebrating diversity abroad, merit, advocating underrepresented regions, and encouraging students of distinct majors (that’s scratching the surface), you’re guaranteed to find an award for which you qualify.

While the competition can be intimidating, especially for more generous international scholarships, planning ahead and putting your best foot forward will make you as competitive an applicant as anyone else. Deadlines can creep up much sooner than you think, sometimes even before you apply for a study abroad program, so we can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to do your research early! Genuine, well-thought out essays will make you shine as a unique person and highlight your personality and motivations for scholarship programs to study abroad. Judging committees can 100% tell when an application is carelessly slapped together.

[Get the full scoop with GoAbroad’s scholarship directory!]

Funding study abroad

Free money is a beautiful thing that most people generally appreciate, so instead of limiting yourself to one or two applications, we’ll dish out all the big goods. Here are just a few popular categories of scholarships for study abroad:

Popular Study Abroad Scholarships

The big names out there include a mix of prestigious government awards boasting long histories and well-known scholarship programs to study abroad funded by international education organizations. Apart from a plump monetary prize, you’ll also receive the fancy recognition associated with these programs.

hands typing on laptop

So, naturally you’ve hopped on the world wide web, and now you’re here.

1.   Fund for Education Abroad

This spiffy scholarship is suited for most study abroad participants of all backgrounds and majors, although the Fund for Education Abroad especially vibes well with traditionally underrepresented students in study abroad (this includes first-gen college students and community college students). Apart from the posted award sums, grantees are automatically considered for additional add-on scholarships, so you can cash in even more depending on your personal traits, study abroad destination, and home region.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • Up to $10,000 for academic year
  • $5,000 for semester
  • minimum of $1,250 for summer

* Deadline: January 10, 2018

* How to Apply

2.    Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The U.S. Department of State’s Gilman International Scholarship’s purpose is to dissolve the financial hurdle that many students face when considering study abroad. Thousands of students receive the Gilman award every year, so there is plenty of intern and study abroad funding to go around.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: $5,000

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) October 3, 2017
  • (Summer) March 6, 2018
  • (Fall) TBA

* How to Apply

3.    Boren Awards

Boren is a dream come true for any language junkie out there thirsting for the opportunity to venture off the beaten path and increase fluency in a less commonly taught language. Because Boren is backed by the National Security Education Program, the program has some pretty nifty ties with the government and recipients get to work with the federal government for a year after they graduate.  Nothing like some money and a gig with the government all in one deal.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $8,000 for summer programs
  • $10,000 for semester
  • $20,000 for 6-12 months

* Deadline: February 8, 2018

* How to Apply 

4.    IIE Generation Study Abroad Scholarship Program

This insanely cool initiative has raised over $55 million, yes MILLION, as of December 2015 to help students with backgrounds of all shapes and sizes achieve their goals overseas. Rather than offering a single scholarship, there are dozens are unique funding outlets through Generation Study Abroad’s various partners. Be sure to check out all the scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and qualifying factors on their website.

  • Award: Various - Check site for different scholarships, requirements, and deadlines

 5.    Golden Key

The Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship is facilitated by the Golden Key International Honour Society, a non-profit organization and the world’s largest collegiate honor society. Golden Key members have a shot at explaining how their experience abroad will impact their aspirations for a chance to win one of several awards.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate, Graduate, Post-Graduate
  • Award: $5,000
  • Deadline: TBA – Typically Mid-year
  • How to Apply

Take a Peek! 45 Scholarships for Study Abroad Around the World 

jar of change spilled out onto table

Here are a few better alternatives to scraping together car and couch change.

International Scholarships

You don’t have to be of a specific background, have discovered the cure to an obscure disease, or be studying abroad through a specific organization to rake in the cash. There are several international scholarships just looking for quirky candidates with no further strings attached. Show off your strengths and try your hand at these awesome study away scholarships!

1.    Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Either conduct individual research or be an English Teaching Assistant abroad after graduation through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Fulbright is one of the biggest and baddest names out there in international education, boasting worldwide recognition with its reciprocal program that hosts international students and scholars in the US. If you’re thinking about spending a fully funded year abroad after graduation, Fulbright’s got your back.

  • Degree Level: Recent graduates, Graduate, Young Professionals
  • Award: Varies by country
  • Deadline: October 6, 2017
  • How to Apply 

2.    Study Abroad Scholarships Essay Contest

Are you a poet and definitely know it? Take your best shot at cooking up a literary masterpiece about your utter passion for study abroad with StudyAbroad.com’s Essay Contest. Just a few sensational words can win you a chunky dollar prize to fund that espresso addiction you’re sure to develop while traveling in Italy with this scholarship for abroad. Studies (somewhere…) show the more espresso, the better! 

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: $1,000
  • Deadline: December 31, 2017
  • How to Apply 

3.    Room to Travel – Study Abroad Scholarship

This similar essay contest is directed by AllTheRooms, a massive accommodation search engine, that also empowers undergraduate students to chase a study abroad experience of any length. Take a minute to meditate on your inspiration for travel, brilliantly pen down your fresh ideas, and you’ll be on your way to an attractive stack of DOLLAS.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: $1,000
  • Deadline: TBA
  • How to Apply

4.    HI USA Explore the World Travel Scholarships

Hostels and youth travel go together like cookies and cream, which is why Hostelling International USA shows their deep appreciation for young people setting out around the world through a scholarship. Applicants who demonstrate financial need and live in a specific area can show off their awesomeness by applying. No study abroad required here, just a trip abroad is enough!

  • Eligibility: 18-30 years
  • Award: $2,000
  • Deadline: TBA
  • How to Apply

5.    ScholarTrips

Show or tell your deepest desire for experiential, learning focused travel through a video or words. As long as you’re a student and about to embark on a trip to study, volunteer, or spread your genius abroad, you can prove yourself through a ScholarTrips scholarship for abroad studies.

  • Degree Level: High school, Trade school, University-level
  • Award: $2,500
  • Deadline: November 10, 2017
  • How to Apply
man backpacking through lush, green forest

This is the only green you should be worried about having enough of.

Merit Based Study Abroad Scholarships

Not just mom and dad care about your good grades. Many study abroad organizations offer generous monetary awards for outstanding academic performance to students participating on their programs. Your straight A report card will get you a bit more than $20 from the grandparents.

1.    CIEE Merit Scholarships

Earning one of six merit scholarships from CIEE just requires a squeaky clean transcript and compelling essay to convince the world you have big plans for your study abroad. While each scholarship has slightly different qualifying programs, they all provide the same award amount and entail the same application. Easy peasy!

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $2,500 for semester
  • $750 summer

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) October 1, 2017
  • (Summer and Fall) March 1, 2018

* How to Apply

2.    CEA Merit Based Scholarships

With several merit based study abroad scholarships offering awards ranging from $400 to $3,000, CEA rewards particularly academically gifted participants. Find the scholarship that most speaks to you, gather up those rec letters, and send away! To be eligible for these study abroad scholarships, students must enroll in CEA Study Abroad Programs.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: Various

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) November 15, 2017
  • (Fall) May 10, 2018
  • (Summer) April 10, 2018

* How to Apply 

3.    TEAN Merit Based Scholarship

TEAN’s all about top-notch applicants who not only shine in the classroom, but also spread their goodwill and leadership out in the community. If you’re an incredibly motivated go-getter with some pretty cool involvement experiences and applying to TEAN, the Merit Based Scholarship is a match made in money heaven.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) November 15, 2017
  • (Fall) May 15, 2018

* How to Apply

camels lying down, sand dunes in Australia

Don’t let scholarship applications bust your hump! You’ve got camel-riding to do.

Foreign Exchange Student Scholarships

While foreign exchange is always study abroad, study abroad isn’t always foreign exchange. Think squares and rectangles. As a foreign exchange student you’ll be plopped directly into a university classroom abroad and taking notes alongside your local peers. There’s typically no special study abroad treatment, which means a lot more independence and living the university life as the locals do.  Foreign exchange student scholarships fund your studies as you step into a different life for a semester or year.

1.    Killam Fellowships Program

Canada is normally off the radar for most students studying abroad, but the Killam Fellowship Program makes an offer almost too good to resist. This top-tier governmental partnership sets you up with some pretty sweet benefits and bragging rights for all Killam alumni. Study at one of Canada’s many prestigious universities and get paid for doing it!

* Degree Level:  Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $10,000 for year
  • $5,000 for semester

* Deadline: Depends on institution

* How to Apply

2.    DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship

Germany has been in the spotlight recently for its (nearly) free, quality higher education that’s attracted 100,000s of international students from around the world in the past few years. If that doesn’t sound drool-worthy enough, the DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship offers a stipend to cover your living costs so you can focus 100% on studying the art of sausage eating. The program is open to students interested in study abroad, interning, or conducting research in Germany.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: 650 Euro per month
  • Deadline: January 31, 2018
  • How to Apply 

3.    Japan Bridging Scholarship

Twice a year, the US-Japan Bridging Foundation grants a cushy sum to provide financial assistance to students studying abroad in (you guessed it) Japan. As long as you’re receiving credit for your at least 3 month study in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’re welcome to apply without even having to know a lick of Japanese.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $2,500 for semester
  • $4,000 for year

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) October 11, 2017
  • (Fall) TBA

* How to Apply 

4.    Freeman-ASIA Program

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Freeman-ASIA Program gives need-based assistance to adventurers studying abroad in East or Southeast Asia. This program is a perfect fit for newbies to their study abroad destination, meaning the more clueless you are about where you’re going, the better! Freeman-ASIA is looking to increase initial awareness of the region by blasting away financial barriers that keep some curious students away.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $3,000 for summer
  • $5,000 semester
  • $7,000 year

* Deadline: October 18, 2017

* How to Apply 

open air market lighting up at dusk

With that extra cash from your study abroad scholarship, you can really treat yo’self at those night markets.

Minority Study Abroad Scholarships

Show off your diversity loud and proud! We’re not just talking about racial diversity either.  Diversity abroad encompasses a whole spectrum of traditionally underrepresented students, including those demonstrating financial need, first-gen college students, students with disabilities, and students identifying as LGBTQ. Think you fit the bill? Browse through some of these minority study abroad scholarships to start applying.

1.    ISA Diversity Scholarship

Students of a “broader cultural make-up” participating in an ISA study abroad, internship, or service learning program can apply to the ISA Diversity Scholarship. Have a unique background or unusual story of your heritage tell? 

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $1,000 for summer
  • $2,000 fall/spring

* Deadline: 

  • (Summer) February 28, 2018
  • (Fall) April 30, 2018
  • (Spring) October 30, 2017

* How to Apply 

2.    Diversity Abroad & FIE Scholarship

If you’re jetting off to London or Dublin for the spring semester through a Foundation for International Education program, you might want to check out the Diversity Abroad scholarship. Anything that sets you apart from the general crowd is perfect reason to put your name in the hat.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: $3,000
  • Deadline: October 15, 2017
  • How to Apply 

3.    HACU IES Abroad Scholarship

Students set to participate on an IES Abroad program who also attend a Hispanic-Serving Institution (members of Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities can be found here), can compose an essay for a chance to win a study abroad scholarship. Although you don’t necessary have to be Hispanic yourself, be prepared to write about the positive impact of diversity abroad.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $2,500 for summer
  • $5,000 for semester

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring) November 1, 2017
  • (Fall/Summer) May 1, 2018

* How to Apply

4.    Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Grant

Yes, we know, this one is technically a grant. In any case, the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Grant deserves the recognition and shouldn’t be passed up. Any student attending an MSI would do well to make a beeline toward study abroad organizations like CIEE that hand out free money for attending a specific school. It’s also worth mentioning this grant is GUARANTEED, no strings attached.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate

* Award: 

  • $500 for summer
  • $2,000 semester

5.    API Diversity Scholarship

Academic Programs International (API) wants to hear from veterans, nontraditional students who are over 30, students with disabilities, LGBTQ and minority students to bestow a reward in celebration of diversity. Diversity has an ever-expanding definition and API has quite a few other diversity study abroad scholarships to embrace it.

* Degree Level: Undergraduate, Graduate

* Award: $250-$750

* Deadline: 

  • (Spring semester) October 15, 2017
  • (Spring Quarter) December 15, 2017
  • (Fall) June 10, 2018

* How to Apply

calendar app on tablet next to desktop computer

Make sure you’re watching deadlines!

Want even more minority scholarships for study abroad? If you identify as a specific ethnicity or race, let's keep the diversity abroad party pumping. Mousy on over to these additional resources for minority study abroad scholarships:

Summer Study Abroad Scholarships

Summer is a beautiful time of relaxation, pursuing hobbies, and making a bit of cash to kick off the next semester, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t milk every opportunity out of the hottest months of the year. Chill out with some summer study abroad scholarships that are guaranteed to fulfill your need for global escapades with a happy bank account.

1.    Critical Language Scholarship

Ever wish you could have learned lesser taught languages in high school instead of Spanish? The Critical Language Scholarship, under the U.S. Department of State, will fully fund you to immerse yourself abroad for a summer and learn a critical language such as Persian, Indonesian, or Russian (14 total). Not only are your living costs and 20+ hours a week of intensive language courses covered, participants of this swanky scholarship walk away with a year’s worth of college credit.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
  • Deadline: TBA
  • How to Apply 

2.    Diversity Network Summer Scholarship

Just when you didn’t think international scholarships could get more specific, we’d like to introduce summer study abroad scholarships for minorities. Students studying at a member institution of the Diversity Abroad Network who are planning to study abroad for at least 4 weeks in the summer can apply for the Diversity Network Summer Scholarship. In return for the award you get the opportunity to spread your voice through various channels by writing about your experiences as a person of a diverse student abroad.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: $1,000
  • Deadline: TBA
  • How to Apply

 3.    Fulbright UK Summer Institutes

Yet another marvelous program under the Fulbright umbrella, The Fulbright UK Summer Institutes provides an all-inclusive immersive experience in the United Kingdom. For 3-4 weeks participants study at prestigious universities, visit significant cultural sites, and participate in other cross-cultural activities.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Deadline: February, 2018 (Exact date TBA)
  • How to Apply

4.    Start the Adventure Scholarship

Brought to you by the student travel company, STA Travel, and the Fund for Education Abroad, the Start the Adventure Scholarship grants students funding to study during the summer term. So long as your study abroad program transfers back credit to your home university, you qualify to apply.

  • Degree Level: Undergraduate
  • Award: $2,500
  • Deadline: January 10, 2018
  • How to Apply

Still hunting for more juicy summer study abroad scholarships for 2018? Start your planning early this cheat sheet for 2017’s hot summer scholarships! (Hint: Most programs are repeated each year).

jumping on austrian hillside looking down at valley with lake

You’ll be jumping for joy once all that free money starts rolling in— so hop to it!

Other avenues for funding study abroad

Study Abroad Loans 

Whether your major requires study abroad or you can’t go without the life-changing rite of passage, sometimes your pooled together funds still don’t add up. Federal, state, local, private and university financial aid programs offer opportunities for students to take out loans to finance the education abroad. Study abroad loans can be repaid with interest later.  Like scholarships, loans also have application deadlines so stay on your toes and pop into your university’s financial aid office to plan early. Keep reading to get the full 411 on student loans for study abroad

Save yourself the headache of navigating the complex world of loans and take a peek at our directory for study abroad loans. We’ve broken down the process to make it as pain free as possible. 

Study Abroad Grants

If you’ve been spending some time figuring out study abroad grants and how they’re any different from study abroad scholarships, the time has finally come for closure. The two terms are frequently used interchangeably and both provide “free money” for study abroad purposes. The technical difference comes down to where the money comes from. Official government agencies and established organizations usually manage grant programs, while scholarships are less structured and distributed by companies and non-profits.

Study Abroad Fellowships 

The fancier sounding “study abroad fellowship” can be best described as a beefed up grant or scholarship to support study at the graduate level. They can fund research projects or coursework abroad.

These are absolutely worth considering you'd like to do a full-on masters degree abroad or PhD abroad.

Study Abroad Fundraising Ideas 

Harness your creative juices to come up with the wildest study abroad fundraising ideas to help pay for airfare, program costs, and living costs. Be sure to word a compelling argument and motivation for going abroad as your cause, such as to supplement research or academic growth. Because everyone and their mother would love a free trip abroad, travel fundraising is often a delicate, tricky process.

Highlight what about your program can contribute to the greater good or your own growth. “Support me in researching the migrant crisis in Europe as I study abroad next semester” is tremendously more convincing than “Free money for my trip abroad, please”! Websites like FundMyTravel can be a great place to start virtually in addition to community initiatives.

Make it rain with study abroad scholarships

Piling up all those scholarships, grants, fellowships, and funds from creative fundraising is like the cherry on top to any international experience sundae. Leave the financial stress behind, lay out your funding options early, and start cashing in on some serious international scholarships to live out your study abroad to its full potential. The application process isn’t always easy, but it’s guaranteed to quite literally pay off in the end if you play your cards right.

Browse All Our Study Abroad Scholarships Now