15 Study Abroad Scholarships for 2019 and Beyond


Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive. Plane tickets, room and board, passport fees, souvenirs, and unexpected expenses are just some of the costs you’ll need to be aware of. Studying abroad is a lot of things, but “cheap” usually isn’t one of them. Thankfully, there is a way to curb the high costs of studying abroad—study abroad scholarships.

There are hundreds of study abroad scholarships available, but this is our narrowed down list of the top 15 for your convenience. The list of our favorite scholarships for study abroad includes general descriptions for each scholarship and links to each scholarship application so you can jump right in and start applying. The funds are out there to be claimed, so put in the work to start completing those study abroad scholarship applications!

How Can I Get a Scholarship to Study Abroad?

To get a scholarship to study abroad, preparation is key. Keep these tips in mind to increase your chances of securing a study abroad scholarship.

  1. Get good grades
  2. Make a difference in your community
  3. Do your research
  4. Apply early and often
  5. Apply for several different scholarships
  6. Sell yourself well
  7. Be decisive and clear in your career plans

1. Get Good Grades

Many of the study abroad scholarships are merit-based. Working hard in school and maintaining a healthy GPA will certainly help your chances. Take courses that stretch and challenge you. Enroll in a variety of different classes to show you are willing to branch out and try new things. Showing that you can excel in new and difficult classes is evidence that you’ll embrace the experience to study abroad and thrive therein. Those awarding the scholarship want to know they are making a good investment in selecting you.

2. Make a Difference in Your Community

Grades are important, but what are you doing to make the world around you a better place? Scholarship awarders love to see students who do more than just excel in the classroom. Volunteer, start programs to help others, and be active in strengthening your community.

3. Do Your Research

Take time to uncover all your options. Keep a nice list of all the scholarships you’d like to apply for. Consider where you want to study, when, and for how long. Think about whether you want to apply for merit-based scholarships, enter essay contests, or find more niche options. Make a long list of scholarships that interest you. You might even consider making a spreadsheet to track your progress in applying for each scholarship.

Staying organized will keep you on track. There are so many scholarships available, and some of them don’t get a lot of applicants. With enough searching, you might find some less-competitive scholarships that are up for grabs with just a little bit of effort on your part. Rather than going all-in on one large scholarship, why not go for several smaller ones?

4. Apply Early and Often

You don’t want to be scrambling to find the funds to study abroad. If you wait too long, the scholarship options open to you will greatly diminish. Get ahead of the game and apply for several scholarships sooner rather than later. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, apply, apply, and apply some more.

While filling out several applications, writing essays, and pulling together resumes and transcripts doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, it could save you a lot of money in the long run. Think of applying for scholarships as work. In a certain way, you are working to pay for your study abroad experience. Treat the scholarship hunt like a full-time job and it may just end up paying you more than one.

5. Apply for Several Different Scholarships

There are so many scholarships available. Don’t limit yourself to merit-based scholarships just because you have stellar grades and test scores. Do some essay contests, or find some niche scholarships. Think about your ethnicity and background and see if you can find any scholarships custom-tailored to you. It may surprise you just how many unique scholarships are out there.

6. Sell Yourself Well

It doesn’t matter how amazing you are if it doesn’t shine through your application. This is why selling yourself is so important. You must be able to show why you should get the scholarship and people should feel your passion and conviction when they review your application. Be authentic, be real, and be bold. Tell them who you are, what you’re made of, and why you’re the ideal candidate for the scholarship. Be confident, but not cocky. Write several drafts of your application essay if necessary. Have others read your essay to ensure it’s emotionally compelling.

7. Be Decisive and Clear in Your Career Plans

Those who give out scholarships like to see ambition and vision. Show them where you’re going and how the scholarship will help you get there. Don’t sound desperate. Instead, sound convinced and certain that you’ll get where you want to go. Inspire confidence in the scholarship committee that you will make the world a better place if you get the scholarship. It should be seen as just another stepping stone on the road to wherever you’re going. Be bold, be clear, and be passionate.

How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad?

It really depends on where you go. A broad estimate puts the average cost of studying abroad at $18,000 per semester. That said, the farther you travel and the higher the cost of living in the country in which you study abroad, the more you can expect to pay. While there may be some substantially more affordable study abroad destinations, others may even eclipse the $18,000 mark. All in all, just know that you’ll likely need a significant sum of money to fund an entire study abroad experience.

What Are the Best Study Abroad Scholarships?


There are literally hundreds of travel grants and scholarships available for studying abroad. Here are 15 to get you started:

Volunteer Forever Travel Scholarship

Description: Since 2014, we’ve awarded two scholarships each quarter to those who want to teach, intern, volunteer, work, or study abroad. Those who receive the scholarship may use the funds for anything from airfare and travel expenses to program fees. It’s best that applicants already be accepted to a program before they apply for the scholarship.

Awards Amount: $500 to $1,000

Scholarship Application Link: Volunteer Forever Travel Scholarship Application

Critical Language Scholarships

Description: Critical language scholarships (CLS) are offered by the U.S. Department of State. They provide immersive language institutes each summer in an impressive 13 different foreign languages, including intermediate and advanced programs in Japanese, Chinese, and Russian, and beginning to intermediate programs in Persian and Arabic. Courses in Korean, Turkish, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, and even Azerbaijani are available at all levels from beginner to advanced. The scholarship covers visa fees, room and board, language instruction fees, and travel within the country, sponsored by the program.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: Critical Language Scholarships Application

AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships

Description: Whether it’s just a summer or an entire semester abroad, the American Institute for Foreign Study gives out more than $800,000 in scholarships each year. There are several scholarships available on their website.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships Applications

Rotary Foundation Scholarships

Description: The Rotary Foundation aims to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, save mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies. Study abroad scholarships are made possible by grants from generous donors. The Rotary Foundation is somewhat flexible in the types of scholarships they offer, as they serve undergraduates, graduate students, and even some secondary students. It’s best to locate your local rotary club for the most up to date information.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: Rotary Foundation Scholarship Application

Gilman International Scholarship Program

Description: If you have received a Federal Pell Grant, you may be in luck. The Gilman International Scholarship Program helps under-representeted students fund their study abroad programs. They award up to $5,000 for one academic year to qualified applicants who have also received a Pell Grant.

Awards Amount: Up to $5,000

Scholarship Application Link: Gilman International Scholarship Application

The Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship

Description: If you want a flexible scholarship you can use wherever you want, the Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad scholarship is a great option. The scholarship offers money towards any study abroad program you choose. The application deadline varies depending on whether you are applying for Fall or Spring semesters.

Awards Amount: $1,000

Scholarship Application Link: Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship Application

School for International Training (SIT) Scholarships

Description: SIT Study Abroad Scholarships can come in amounts ranging from $500 all the way to $5,000. They have numerous funds, grants, and scholarships across a wide range of focus areas.

Awards Amount: $500 to $5,000

Scholarship Application Link: SIT Scholarship Application

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia

Description: The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) are for students with specific financial needs. As such, in order to apply, you must be endorsed by your study abroad advisor and also a financial aid advisor. To apply, you must be an undergraduate at a U.S. institution. The funds cover expenses ranging from airfire and program costs to books, local transportation, and basic living costs. For a summer program, the awards offer $3,000. A semester or quarter gives $5,000, and an academic year program can garner $7,000.

Awards Amount: $3,000 to $7,000

Scholarship Application Link: Freeman Awards for Study in Asia Scholarship Application

Golden Key Scholarships

Description: Academic prowess, leadership experience, and a history of serving your community may qualify you for a Golden Key Scholarship through the Golden Key International Honor Society. They give away one million dollars in scholarship awards to graduate and undergraduate students.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: Golden Key Scholarships Applications

David L. Boren Scholarship

Description: Boren Scholarships are specifically for those wishing to work in the federal government and they’re funded by the National Security Education Program. In fact, to accept a Boren Scholarship, you must commit to work in the federal government for at least one year upon graduation. The Boren Scholarship is meant to give students unique opportunities to learn languages abroad by providing study abroad funds for many locations around the world including Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East, and many parts of Europe.

In order to secure the Boren Scholarship, it’s recommended that you propose a study abroad trip that will last at least two semesters, or six months. That said, on occasion, scholarships are given out for shorter durations of study. STEM students, for instance, may be eligible for an 8-week minimum study abroad term. The Boren Scholarship awards $8,000 for a shorter summer program, $10,000 for a semester, and $20,000 for a 6-12 month study abroad program.

Awards Amount: $8,000 to $20,000

Scholarship Application Link: Boren Scholarships Application

Youth Foundation Scholarship

Description: Used for an undergrad’s junior year abroad, the Youth Foundation Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate motivation, leadership potential, good citizenship, scholastic achievement and character. From $2,500 to $4,000 per year. The scholarship funds support students in increasing self-reliance, responsibility, and self-discipline.

Awards Amount: $2,500 to $4,000

Scholarship Application Link: Youth Foundation Scholarship Application

International Education Financial Aid Center

Description: International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) is a large database that enables you to search for study abroad scholarships. For more information, follow the link given below.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: International Education Financial Aid Center Scholarships List

USAC Scholarships

Description: To get the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) Scholarship, you must enroll in one of their specific programs and also demonstrate substantial financial need. You may secure a Program-Specific Scholarship, General Scholarship, or Legacy Scholarship.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: USAC Scholarship Application

CEA Study Abroad Scholarships

Description: Based on either merit, diversity, or need, CEA Study Abroad Scholarships offer financial aid to students in three different areas. Eligibility is conditional upon enrollment in a CEA Study Abroad Program. Depending on which scholarship you apply for, you may need to submit proof of financial need, a recommendation form from a reference, and a personal essay.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: CEA Study Abroad Scholarships Applications

Sol Education Abroad Scholarships

Description: Sol Education Abroad Scholarships are meant to give students the opportunity to hone their Spanish language skills, while exploring new cultures. The scholarships they offer are designed to give back to recipients’ international communities.

Awards Amount: Varies

Scholarship Application Link: Sol Education Abroad Scholarship Application

Wrapping It Up: Study Abroad Scholarships Are Yours for the Taking

If you want to study abroad but don’t feel like you have enough money, do not fear. There are hundreds of opportunities to receive financial aid for your study abroad adventures. We can’t stress enough the importance of exploring all possibilities and then applying, applying, and applying some more. If you are diligent in applying for scholarships, chances are good you can fund most or all of your study abroad experience.

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