A common misconception about studying abroad is that it’s unaffordable. Guess what? There are literally several scholarships out there, just waiting for you to apply for them if you are interested in studying abroad. How do you get such scholarships? If you need help on how to get a scholarship to study abroad, then this article is perfect for you. Simply pay attention to the tips below:
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Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help. Reach out to certain people such as your university’s study abroad office, the financial aid office, your professors, and your academic advisors to ask them about scholarships that they think you should consider.
If possible, you may go in-person to these offices to seek advice on how to get a scholarship to study abroad, instead of just emailing or calling. Not only will this make it easier for them to help you, but they’ll be impressed with your determination and initiative in arriving to discuss financial aid in person. Also, ask the professionals if they know of any scholarship you should consider.
Do your Research
It is important to do your research. The internet has made it easy to do this. So check online. You should find certain categories of scholarships to study abroad that you can explore, including the following:
- Location-Specific Scholarships: These scholarships or grants are created to encourage students to study in specific countries or even cities, such as scholarships specifically for students looking to study in Canada. You might find such scholarships provided by your university, the government of the country you plan to study in, or even the government of your home country, which hopes to foster international relations through student exchange programs.
- Program-Specific Scholarships: These scholarships are often offered to students who decide to study a particular program abroad. This could be from the independent study abroad provider or through a specific program by your university, and only students who plan to study that program qualify to apply.
- Subject-Specific Scholarships: Many scholarships are awarded to students who plan to pursue a particular field of study or major while abroad. An example is Foreign Language Scholarships. This can be incredibly specific, zeroing in on not just the subject, but also a specific subject to be studied in a particular university in a specific country.
- Student-Specific Scholarships: Some scholarships are awarded based on the students themselves, due to factors such as gender, religion, race, disabilities, or sexual orientation. For instance, you may find specific study abroad scholarships for Masters students.
- University-Provided Scholarships: Many universities provide scholarships on a merit-basis to any students looking to study abroad. However, don’t just research on scholarships provided by your home university. Scholarships can be available from different institutions depending on your affiliations. Many universities throughout the world offer scholarships for international students to encourage a more diverse student body in the university.
- Organization-Provided Scholarships: Do thorough research of non-profit or heritage organizations that may provide scholarships to deserving students who match their criteria. Some examples include scholarships for LGBT students or students of Italian or Hispanic descent.
- Government-Funded Scholarships: Several government-funded scholarships encourage students to study abroad. Examples include the Fulbright Program, or Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships, funded by the UK government for international student leaders looking to study in the UK. Research on scholarships upfront to make your application easier.
Contact the Scholarship Funder Directly
To know all the nitty-gritty details of the scholarships you’ll be applying for, as well as up-to-date application requirements, you may consider contacting the funder directly. Not only will this ensure that you have all the correct information, but you’ll also be showing the scholarship funder/provider that you are not afraid to take the initiative and actively pursue the scholarship you are applying for.
Tweak Your Resume
Once you’ve compiled your list of preferred study abroad scholarships, you now have to work on actually being awarded the scholarships. A considerable part of this is your resume. Highlight any international experience you’ve had, update all your recent campus activities, but try not to go over one page. Writing concisely is crucial.
Cover letters go hand-in-hand with resumes, and are, sometimes, a vital part of an application process. They can be your best chance to make an argument for why you deserve to be awarded a scholarship. This is why you can’t just send in a generic cover letter about how excellent a student you are. Instead, focus on how you plan to translate your lessons into your life on campus and at home.
If you’re applying for a scholarship to study abroad provided by an international university, research to find out how that country typically organizes their resumes or cover letters. If you’re confident enough in your language skills, you may write to them in the language of the country you will be.
Check Your References
We are not referring to your bibliography here. Most scholarship essays and applications require personal references. By references, we mean someone you’ve worked with either in a professional or academic setting. This then means reaching out to professors and asking for their assistance. When requesting a professor to be your reference, or to write you a recommendation letter, always ask them far in advance so that they may be prepared.
It is crucial to choose professors or employers who you’ve interacted with, so that they know you well enough to recommend you.
Reach out to any authority figure who you know not only would be happy to recommend you, but is also pertinent to the scholarship itself. For instance, if you’re applying for a leadership scholarship abroad, reach out to the academic advisor of the campus club you belong to. If you’re applying to an international relations scholarship, reach out to your political science professor.
Nevertheless, regardless of who you reach out to, always be respectful and realize that you’re asking them to take time out of their busy schedules to help you (and a follow-up, written thank you note is not a bad idea).
Mark Your Calendar
If you’re applying for different scholarships, as well as applying for a study program, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different deadlines and application requirements. Therefore, make a calendar specific to your scholarship applications, with each deadline clearly marked. Staying organized is crucial.
Have the Grades
This may seem rudimentary. To get a scholarship, you often have to have good grades. Not all scholarships require stellar grades or grade point averages, but many of them do. This is simply because the providers want to know that the student receiving the scholarship is serious about their study experience.
So put in the work and get good grades before applying to study abroad to show scholarship providers that you plan to take your study experience seriously as not just a chance to travel, but also an opportunity to expand your academic horizons.
It may seem tiring but apply for scholarships as quickly and thoroughly as you can. This will require considerable amounts of time and patience, but every little action counts. Since you’ve already done a lot of research and preparation, your process should run smoothly. Even smaller awards all add up and will allow you to have a much more affordable and less stressful semester or year abroad.
Also, customize your applications whenever possible, and avoid the temptation to simply copy and paste from one application to another. Scholarship providers may know when you’ve done your research on the values of their foundation or the focus of a particular scholarship. Customizing each application will give you a better chance of getting their attention.
Take your Time and Take it Seriously
You can feel the need to rush through applications, especially if you’re applying to a number of them. However, you should treat applications just as seriously as the applications you completed to be accepted into your university.
Read and follow the directions, and give yourself enough time to complete all of your applications without feeling like you’re under any pressure to meet up with deadlines. You’ll likely turn out better-quality work if you don’t feel rushed, and better-quality work means a better chance for getting a scholarship.
The Proof is in the Passion
Most, if not all, scholarship applications require a personal essay. You might start having clear flashbacks to your university application essays and the stress they caused, but don’t be afraid. In these applications, it’s your chance to shine. Let your passion for studying abroad and the country you’ll want to go to come through in your application essay.
Scholarship funders and providers want to know that their money will be used for a good purpose. Also, they want to know that the student applying appreciates the opportunity being given. So don’t be afraid to express yourself; tell your story, explaining why you deserve the scholarship.
In all, it is important to put in the necessary time and effort, if you want to see good results. Staying organized, working hard, and following the tips here will likely help you to get a scholarship to study abroad.