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Students time and again cite the costs of study abroad programs as being the number one deterrent to signing up for a program, getting their butts on a plane, and having the most formidable learning experience of their life. In recent years, the average cost of studying abroad for one semester has ranged from $16,000 to $18,000. Yikes! No wonder students cringe in hesitation when it comes time to click the “Submit Application” button.
Despite the pending costs, we encourage students to look at their semester abroad as an investment. It’s not only beneficial to your academic record, but it allows you to gain a better sense of self and can help illuminate your goals. The sense of purpose students return from abroad with is, plainly, priceless.
That being said, good vibes don’t pay the bills. The good news is there is an increased effort in the field of international education to increase not only the number of opportunities for students to go abroad, but also add diversity to the types of students completing study abroad programs.
Read on for our shout out to five incredible organizations improving accessibility for students seeking powerful overseas experiences (and then hop over to their websites so you can fill out your scholarship application!):
What’s not to love about the phrase “full ride?” The Education Abroad Network, or TEAN, will be giving one lucky student a full ride program for next year – stay tuned for it's application announcement! The award covers tuition – a serious chunk of change. In short, your study abroad financial responsibilities won’t extend much further than extra Thai massages, bungee jumping in Queenstown, or second helpings of Pho.
Since the odds may not be quite in your favor, you can try your luck at the other scholarship offers being sponsored through this awesome study-abroad-party. Universities across Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are all contributing!
Some things are good upfront, like honesty. Other things aren’t so good upfront, like extra costs. When you’re balling on a student budget, extensive upfront costs can deter you from signing up for a study abroad program. With this in mind, IFSA-Butler created the UpFront scholarship program, which allows students to tack their study abroad program deposits and flight costs onto their student accounts. What’s the pay off? Students can make incremental payments over time, and carry their financial aid over to help cover the costs.
What do you, affordable costs, and one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities on the planet have in common? May 2016, that’s what. IES Abroad and the University of Texas at Austin have teamed up to offer this unique scholarship program for minority students to study abroad. While in Cape Town, you will be given the opportunity to survey South Africa’s “history and urban economic development landscape and explores the similarities and differences between South Africa and the United States.” Explore post-apartheid South Africa to get a taste for civil rights through a different lens.
Pro tip: Don’t just stop there! You can check out more of IES Abroad’s extensive scholarship offerings on their website.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors don’t have to look down at the ground when those venerable words “study abroad” are discussed. In fact, not only are there multiple study abroad programs worth checking out for STEM majors, there are even a few designed specifically FOR STEM majors. Each summer, Cultural Vistas sponsors 16 students and four faculty members from Morehouse and Spelman colleges in Atlanta with the opportunity to travel to Germany for two weeks to learn firsthand of global careers in STEM related fields. Experience a new culture while gaining an international perspective on your major!
Athena Study Abroad is celebrating their 10 year anniversary, and has allocated $50,000 to distribute amongst students seeking educational travel experiences. Fifty scholarships are available, valued at $1,000 apiece, and the deadline to apply is August 15, 2016 (get to it!).
If you’re wondering if you are under-represented or not, turn to the people behind Athena themselves:
What we have found is that ‘underrepresented’ means very different things at different schools; the list can include African Americans, males, athletes, Latinos, LGBT, first-generation students, or even STEM students (to name a few). We decided not to define ‘underrepresented’ for you, but to instead have you define it for us!
As Confucius once oh-so-wisely said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both usually right.” Preparing to study abroad will take a bit of work. Applying for a scholarship to help finance your study abroad will take a bit more work. But in the end, if you decide to make it happen, you will make it happen.