Truly, there are no good reasons not to pursue meaningful travel, and financial restraints should definitely not be one of them. After all, it's not a bad idea to consider financial aid for your travels—especially now, with academic and higher education program costs increasing every year. That's where travel scholarships abroad come in! It might be a little overwhelming to sift through all of the options available (though this guide to all things travel scholarships should help), but it's worth TOTALLY the effort, and we're here to help you every step of the way. After all, the more money you save, the more you'll have to spend on enjoying your wonderful life of travel.
Just like college degrees and interests differ, so do scholarships abroad types. That means that there's bound to be something for you, whether you are a studious book nerd or an all-star football player. Regardless of the type, almost all scholarships are merit-based, so you'll need to stand out and make yourself shine!
- Academic: These scholarships are the most report card-oriented. Grades, GPA's, and standardized test scores are the main deciding factors for academic scholarships.
- Demographic: These are travel scholarships given solely based on ethnicity, gender, or a variety of minority characteristics.
- Destination-Based: Whether you are looking at programs in your home country or abroad, check out scholarship and financial aid organizations specific to the destination of your travels for some great finds!
- Industry: Specific industries or career tracks offer scholarships for those seeking study within the field abroad. These may be offered through big businesses, local companies, memorial funds, or government-sponsored associations.
- Need-Based: These are scholarships awarded to students based on demonstrated financial need, so they usually require bank statements and W2's from family units. University: Whether public or private, universities offer travel scholarships linked with financial aid programs to assist international and local students interested in completing courses or degree programs abroad.
Be sure to explore all of your options thoroughly. The more specific you get, the less candidates there are, and the higher your chances of being awarded are! More scholarship application tips here.
Unfortunately, many scholarships abroad cannot be awarded until you have been accepted into a specific program. However, that doesn't mean that you can't start doing some extra homework ahead of time. Here are some of the best ways you can plan ahead for your scholarship applications
1. Bring out your best. We all know that travel scholarships abroad are highly competitive. Use this as motivation to broaden your scope of activities and improve your game. Focus on grades, but also get active in extracurricular activities.
2. Start the search early. Whatever type of program you want to do abroad, start researching travel scholarships abroad options at least a couple of semesters before. The application window between getting accepted into a program and applying for financial aid is not very large, so it helps to already have options lined up at this point. That way, all you have to worry about then are the actual applications.
3. Stay organized. There's nothing worse than missing a deadline when applying for scholarships abroad, so grab a calendar and start color-coding your days. This way, as soon as you get accepted, you know where to send applications off first.
4. Read eligibility requirements thoroughly. There's no point in wasting time and writing the year's best essay if you don't actually qualify for the scholarship. Read the fine print, and, if you have any questions, contact the scholarship provider.
There's no magic formula that'll match you with a scholarship that doesn't require an essay and will pay for your travels. In fact, the search for a relevant scholarship is sometimes the toughest step!
First, you need to understand academic financial terminology. Scholarship lingo might seem foreign, so it helps to get familiar with specific financial aid terms. Once you have a more clear concept of what you're applying for, searches will be easier to narrow down.
Here's where to look for travel scholarships:
- Online resources. GoAbroad helps you filter for applicable scholarships based on the type of travel you're pursuing (high school, intern, study, etc!).
- Campus Financial Aid Offices. Using your university's resources is not a bad idea. Bonus: They can answer your questions and point you in the right direction for additional resources.
- Nonprofit Associations. The benevolent nature of nonprofits means they might be willing to help you out. Focus on the betterment of the self and community when talking to these guys.
- Local Organizations. Small businesses, especially those that are relevant to the field of study you are interested in, are great possible providers of scholarships.
Apply to as many scholarships as possible! Statistically, the chances of winning smaller scholarships are bigger, so it's not a bad idea to snag a lot of these, instead of investing all of your time and energy into a single scholarship.
Stay organized and put your best foot forward! The chances of being considered if you forgot to include a page of the application or the postmark date is past the deadline are slim, so follow these steps to avoid wasting your time on scholarship applications:
- Research Scholarship Providers. It is important to appeal to the scholarship committees reviewing your application. Invest some time in reading about the founders and/or mission. It will be easier to sell yourself if you are aware what they're looking for!
- Read All the Instructions. Be sure to include all indicated information, supplementary materials, and understand what the directions are asking of you.
- Write a Winning Essay. Consider the essay as an interview: add personality, passions, and a little razzle-dazzle. Make an outline, focus on vivid experiences, stay authentic, proofread, and get input from a (grammar-smart) friend.
- Shine Bright. It's not attractive to come across as bragging, but it's important to be confident. Acknowledge your strengths (and recognize your weaknesses), and don't be afraid to talk about your qualifications.
- Include a Letter of Recommendation. Some scholarships ask for these, some don't. Either way, it's not a bad thing to include. Select a relevant, respected professional to vouch for your accomplishments, remind them of all of your wonderful qualities and winning moments, and then follow up with a thank you note.
If at first you don't succeed, apply to another scholarship. Don't get discouraged, and don't give up!