(Updated for 2024)
We probably don’t have to tell you the costs of volunteering and studying abroad add up quickly. Between plane tickets, travel insurance, and program fees, the financial costs of traveling abroad make planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip less fun and quite overwhelming.
Special travel grant: GoEco is currently offering a travel grant for participants. Visit this page for eligible programs: https://www.goeco.org/tags/3rd-week-free-grant/
That’s why we’ve put together the most comprehensive resource for volunteer abroad and study abroad scholarships and grants, including our very own Volunteer Forever Travel Scholarship! Read below for 200 great scholarship and grant opportunities to make your dream of volunteering or studying abroad come true.
200 Travel Scholarships and Grants to Volunteer, Teach, and Study Abroad
As you know by now, volunteering and studying abroad can be expensive. Fortunately, there are amazing, affordable organizations with service opportunities all over the world that won’t break the bank. One of the most affordable volunteer abroad programs in the world is International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), which offers projects starting at just $20 per day with full room and board included! Check out their most affordable programs here.
Organizations such as GoEco provide 150+ meaningful, life-changing volunteering programs in 40 countries worldwide. It offers projects starting at only $5 per day – so check out their sea turtle programs in Costa Rica, or education support in Bali for GoEco’s most affordable projects! GoEco is currently offering a grant to fully cover your third week for these select projects.
There are other volunteer organizations that offer cheap volunteer projects, including Volunteering Solutions (VolSol), which offers affordable volunteer adventures starting from only $200 for a one-week trip – and with complete transparency on their program costs, you’ll know exactly where your payment is going when you sign up with VolSol. VolSol also offers extremely affordable travel insurance, start at just $12 per week (travel insurance typically costs $100 or more).
If you want to combine service abroad with a learning program – such as picking up a new language, or building new skills – check out an organization that will help you achieve your travel and educational or career goals, like Maximo Nivel (top-rated on Volunteer Forever). Maximo Nivel offers a wide variety of impactful and educational placements for students and travelers from all backgrounds – you can earn university credit through Maximo Nivel’s study abroad programs, gain insight into your future career through an impactful internship abroad, and even earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award by volunteering on one of Maximo Nivel’s many programs in Latin America.
As you search for the perfect trip abroad, keep in mind that many of the travel, study abroad, or volunteer scholarships and grants we have listed below only have one or two winners per year. You’ll definitely want to make sure you have back-up funding in case you’re not one of the chosen few who receive an award.
That’s where Volunteer Forever comes in. As you plan your travels, try to combine crowdfuding through Volunteer Forever with one of the many scholarships and grants outlined below. Each one of these opportunities is open to travelers wanting to better themselves and help the communities that host them. Not only can you greatly offset your trip costs by combining these two options, but by highlighting your crowdfunding efforts in your scholarship application you’ll demonstrate to the scholarship committee that you’re committed to the cause—whether it’s to volunteer in an underserved community, or to further your studies in another country.
Another way to cut costs for travel is through a paid teaching opportunity, such as International TEFL Academy’s paid teaching placements, in which participants are provided a monthly stipend and accommodations to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Thailand, Spain, and Vietnam.
If you’re looking for tips for getting free airfare or finding no-cost volunteer projects, learn how you can volunteer abroad for free.
Here are more than 200 travel scholarships (including our Volunteer Forever Travel Scholarship) for meaningful trips and grants to help you volunteer, teach, or study abroad—read on to find the best option for your travel goals.
General Volunteer Abroad Scholarships and Grants
First Things Foundations Field Worker Program (FULLY PAID)
First Things Foundation (FTF) is a non-profit organization that partners with local leaders to build sustainable businesses and communities in developing countries. First Things Foundations covers all travel costs and living expenses (food, local transport, accommodation, etc.) for its participants. In addition, field workers receive a monthly stipend of $375. FTF also provides international medical and evacuation insurance for all of its field workers. FTF is definitely a long-term volunteer opportunity: its field workers (international volunteers) commit two years of their lives to living in the communities they are serving. This allows field workers to develop deep relationships with the people they are working with and to better understand the needs of the community.
The organization has 15 projects in 4 countries (Guatemala, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Georgia, and Mozambique), which are all led by locals in the communities. FTF’s field workers have worked on a variety of projects, including starting businesses, building schools, and providing healthcare. FTF field workers are not afraid to get their hands dirty: working on farms, sanding wood, and kneading dough are some of the ways that they integrate into the local community.
FTF is looking for participants with a desire to better their souls by undertaking a serious challenge, an adventurous attitude, a willingness to learn new languages, make fun of themselves, and be made fun of. Field workers typically have completed 4 years of college or have an equivalent amount of experience. If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding volunteer experience, the First Things Foundation volunteer program is a great option.
Volunteer Forever Travel Scholarship
Volunteer Forever has awarded travel abroad scholarships since 2014 – participants in volunteer abroad, study abroad, intern abroad, teach abroad, and work abroad programs are invited to apply. For our past scholarships, we had hundreds of applicants from great volunteer programs such as Volunteering Solutions, GoEco, and many others.
Scholarship winners directly receive the proceeds and may use their scholarship for their program fee, airfare, travel insurance, or other trip expenses. The scholarship is open to residents of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the European Union.
It is recommended that scholarship applicants start a Volunteer Forever fundraising campaign, though a Volunteer Forever account is not required to apply. We also recommend that applicants already be accepted to a volunteer, intern, or teach abroad program when they apply. If you’re still looking for a program, we recommend checking out our best rated program, Maximo Nivel, which offers affordable volunteer programs in Latin America starting at just $595:
IVHQ Volunteer Abroad Scholarships
IVHQ offers four Volunteer Abroad Scholarships every year that includes a sponsored two-week IVHQ volunteer program, a $1,000 travel voucher from STA Travel, and a World Nomads travel insurance package. These scholarships include IVHQ’s Teach and Volunteer Abroad Scholarship, Medical Volunteer Abroad Scholarship, Travel Blogger Scholarship, and Volunteer of the Year Scholarship.
Learn more and stay in the loop about future scholarship opportunities through IVHQ at: https://www.volunteerhq.org/ivhq-scholarships/
GoEco Volunteer Abroad Scholarships
The GoEco Volunteer Scholarship was created to help students in need of financial assistance. The GoEco Volunteer scholarship covers the full cost of the volunteer program, as well as provides a $1,000 flight voucher and insurance for two weeks. To be eligible, you must be a student at a college or university and be receiving financial aid. The application requires a professor recommendation and you must join a GoEco volunteer program to receive the scholarship.
Currently, GoEco is running a special grant for some of their important programs, where they especially need volunteers. For this grant, you can stay for the 3rd week free of charge! For example, you can join the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka program for 2 weeks, and the 3rd week will be free, which reduces the cost to $1220USD for 3 weeks. Hurry and schedule a phone call with GoEco because this grant ends December 31st, 2023! For more information and other qualifying programs, check out GoEco’s page!
Travel for Good Voluntourism Grant
Since 2007, Travelocity has offered volunteer travelers $5,000 grants through their Travel for Good program. This voluntourism grant allows travelers to serve abroad with one of Travelocity’s trusted partners—currently the American Hiking Society, Cross-Cultural Solutions, the Earthwatch Institute, and GlobeAware—for a few days to a few months. The funds cover project and transportation costs, with grants offered to four winners each year.
America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) Mosaic Grant
The AUA Mosaic Grant ranges from $500 to $1,000 for placement in Indonesia, Morocco, Tajikistan, and Zanzibar. Through this program, travelers may volunteer for six weeks during the summer with a school or NGO in Muslim-majority country. Projects focus on education, health, community building, and people-to-people partnerships, with a long-term goal of bringing service experience back home to impact travelers’ own communities as well.
Go Overseas Volunteer Abroad Scholarship
Go Overseas offers two $500 scholarships for volunteers to travel abroad in the spring and fall each year—travelers are invited to do volunteer work with any organization of their choosing, or even craft a custom trip with a local NGO that inspires them. The award is (most often) distributed directly to the volunteer organization itself, which ensures that the funds are used entirely for the project.
Learn more here.
The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award provides a stipend of $10,000—$15,000 for a graduating college senior to volunteer for one year, either alone or with an established organization (charitable, religious, education, governmental, or other public service), anywhere in the world. The group guarantees one award each year but often have two or three winners. Applicants must submit a proposal by January 18, 2014 that encompasses any activity that furthers the public good.
For more information, click here.
Youth Challenge International Flight Scholarships
Youth Challenge International (YCI) is offering a one-time offer of twelve flights for volunteers participating in our youth development projects in Ghana and Tanzania this Winter (January 1 to March 31, 2014 departure dates). Projects focus on livelihoods, health, leadership and the environment with the vision of youth innovation driving positive change (i.e. youth volunteering abroad projects).
Eligible volunteer projects for the flight scholarships are 8-weeks in Tanzania or 4-weeks in Ghana.
Sarah’s Wish Scholarship Fund
Sara’s Wish Foundation scholarships are awarded to young American women who exhibit qualities of leadership, service, and adventure. Formed to honor the memory of college student Sara Christie Schewe, who was killed in a bus crash in India during a semester abroad, the scholarship defrays the costs associated with traveling to all areas of the globe. Recipients perform public services, contributing to the welfare of the world. Applications are available online October 1 though March 1, and typical awards are $1,500—$2,000.
Read more: http://goo.gl/m0EsEQ
Rustic Pathways Scholarships
Rustic Pathways offers more than 100 scholarships for student travelers and educators each year. Their Service Scholarship is a competitive scholarship available to first-time Rustic travelers in need of financial aid to cover all or part of their program fee. If you’re traveling on a gap year, check out Rustic Pathways’ Gap Year Scholarship, which is open to students who are at least 17 years old and have either fulfilled all graduation requirements, or have graduated by the time their gap year begins. This gap year scholarship is applicable to one semester of travel.
If you’re the parent of a student traveler, and you’re a full-time employee (teacher, administrator, coach, or other staff) of an educational institution, check out Rustic Pathways’ Teacher Appreciation Program, which offers discounts of up to 30% on almost all of this organization’s student summer programs.
Skills- and Degree-Based Volunteer Abroad Scholarships and Grants
Build Abroad Travel Scholarship
Founded in 2010, Build Abroad has a mission of building and repairing communities worldwide through socially responsible construction volunteering, with projects focusing on homes, schools, and disaster relief. This organization offers one travel scholarship each year to a student or recent graduate in architecture, civil engineering, interior design, or a related field. This award covers a one-week stay at any of Build Abroad’s five locations in Latin America or Asia, and includes airport pickup, pre-departure support, housing, two meals per day, in-country support, an organized construction volunteering project, and access to a volunteer center with free wifi.
More information about the scholarship and how to apply is available at: https://www.buildabroad.org/travel-scholarship
Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship
Since 1995, the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) has trained and supported students to collaborate on significant health projects with our community partners around the world. To support advancement of our partners’ community health programs and to honor the legacy of Katie Evans, we are pleased to offer the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship for Winter and Spring programs for graduate public health students. In 2014, FSD will award Katie Evans Memorial Scholarships of $3000 to public health graduate students pursuing FSD international internships and public health volunteer abroad placements. Alumni of FSD internships have won Rhodes, Fulbright, and other merit-based scholarships; gained employment with international development organizations; and started their own development organizations.
More information for participants seeking public health volunteer abroad projects is available at: http://www.fsdinternational.org/apply/scholarship
ACDI/VOCA Volunteer Opportunities
Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) seeks expert volunteers to support its international development activities in business, agriculture, banking and financial services, marketing, cooperative and association development, food processing, and community development. Current or recent graduate students in the areas of business, agriculture, and international studies are eligible to participate throughout Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Assignments usually last from two to four weeks, and volunteers contribute their time and expertise while ACDI/VOCA pays for all assignment-related expenses. These include round-trip coach airfare, passport, visas, lodging, meals and incidentals, immunizations, supplemental health insurance, and even emergency medical evacuation if required.
More information is available here.
National Geographic Glimpse Correspondents Program
Emerging, talented writers, photographers, and filmmakers may apply to the Glimpse Graduate Program, a one-year intensive program at MatadorU. The Correspondents Program, funded in in part by National Geographic Society, requires students to agree to a long-term investigative journalism focus area or project whether at home or while living abroad. This program provides a $600 stipend, as well as a professional editor, career training in writing and photography, and guaranteed publication on glimpse.org. In addition, correspondents may be published on National Geographic platforms. The 10-week program is open to anyone ages 18 to 34.
Visit the Correspondents Page to find out more: http://goo.gl/SJsfY5
Omprakash Ambassador Travel Grant
The Omprakash Ambassador Travel Grant pays for travel and living expenses for entrepreneurial individuals who want to volunteer abroad within its international network of grassroots health, education, and environmental partner organizations. Omprakash Ambassadors also are enrolled in Omprakash EdGE (Education through Global Engagement), the group’s online curriculum that explores ethics, economics and power dynamics that underlie cross-cultural volunteering and international aid. Travel Grant applications are open to all, regardless of age or nationality, and reviewed seasonally.
Learn more: http://goo.gl/dQ5hZU
WorldTeach offers a variety of scholarships—read on to learn more:
$100 to $600 scholarships are available for current year-long volunteers who want to extend their service for a second year. Most often, these scholarships can cover health insurance costs. Current WorldTeach volunteers should email their program managers to apply.
The Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation offers $1,000 scholarships to WorldTeach volunteers accepted to the Namibia Year Program. Once accepted into the program, travelers may email their program managers with information about why they need additional funding; smaller scholarships also are available for the Namibia Semester and Namibia Summer programs.
Volunteers interested in the China Summer program are encouraged to submit an essay with their application explaining why they would like funding to complete the program—this scholarship starts at $500.
Certified teachers may apply for $3,000 scholarships for the Namibia Year and Tanzania Year projects, through the WorldTeach Teacher Fellowship program. One grant is awarded per year for each program.
Learn more: http://www.worldteach.org
Study Abroad Scholarships and Grants
Critical Language Scholarships
The U.S. Department of State offers intensive summer language institutes in 13 foreign languages in order to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. The CLS Program supports beginning, intermediate, and advanced level study in Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu. Advanced beginning and intermediate level study is available in Arabic and Persian, while intermediate to advanced level programs are available in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. Awards cover round-trip travel between the student’s home city and program location, a mandatory Washington, D.C. pre-departure orientation, applicable visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, program-sponsored travel within country, and all entrance fees for CLS Program cultural enhancement activities. Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level.
More information is available at: http://goo.gl/qsLnrd
The Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship
The founders of Tortuga Backpacks, Fred and Jeremy, experienced the transformative power of travel on a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe. Frustrated by their luggage options, they started their own backpack company. Now they want to give college students the same opportunity they had.
The Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship is awarded biannually to students interested in exploring the world. The scholarship is for $1,000 towards any study abroad program. Interested students can apply here: http://www.tortugabackpacks.com/pages/study-abroad-scholarship
David L. Boren Scholarship and Fellowship
The Boren scholarship, a National Security Education Program award, is for students interested in learning a foreign language, studying abroad, and adding an international element to their education. This scholarship provides undergraduates with up to $20,000 for an academic year’s study abroad, while the Boren Fellowship provides graduates up to $30,000 for language study and international research in the study of world regions critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
For more information: http://goo.gl/pw4zBZ
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) scholarships benefit U.S. undergraduates with financial aid providing them with funds to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Need-based funding assists recipients with study-abroad program costs and related expenses, including airfare, basic living costs, local transportation and books. Awards range from $3,000 for a summer program, $5,000 for a semester or quarter program, to $7,000 for an academic year program.
For more information on the Freeman Award: http://goo.gl/9nbhL4
Gilman International Scholarship Program
The Gilman International Scholarship Program aims to diversify U.S. undergraduate students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by providing awards of up to $5,000 for one academic year. The program serves under-represented students with high financial need, and all applicants must be recipients of a Federal Pell Grant
Learn more: http://goo.gl/vU2ljR
National Security Education Program
The National Security Education Program encourages students to internationalize their educational resumes by offering U.S. undergraduates scholarship opportunities to study abroad. Its goal is to help equip students with language skills and cultural understanding resulting in successful careers—the application deadline is January 2014.
More information: http://goo.gl/XDm3gz
The Rotary Foundation offers multiple grants and fundraising support for a variety of projects, scholarships, and training for Rotarians around the world. Rotary clubs and districts offer their own scholarships as well, funded with district grants. Applicants may request assistance for any form of global study. Packaged grant scholarships also are available from Rotary and its partners for scholars in the fields of nursing and water and sanitation.
For general information on the Rotary Foundation’s
programs, click here.
School for International Training (SIT) Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad supports international opportunities for students through its scholarship and grant programs. Many SIT scholarships and grants are available for both terms of study: semester and summer. Individual awards generally range from $500 to $5,000. Below is a list of various SIT Scholarships—learn more at: http://goo.gl/7DdrCS
The Compton Fund: For students enrolled in SIT programs with environmental, post-conflict transformation, or sustainable development themes.
SIT Engineering Scholarship: For students enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs who have demonstrated financial need.
The Experiment in International Living (EIL) Alumni Study Abroad Scholarship: To recognize and support alumni of EIL summer high school programs.
The Houston International Scholarship: For undergraduate students in any field or major from Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas.
HBCU Scholarships: For students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
IHP Grant: Need-based grant assistance for students participating on an IHP /Comparative program.
The Middle East and Islamic Studies Scholarship: For students participating in programs with significant Middle Eastern and/or Islamic studies content.
The Richard & Dale Levy India Scholarship: For a student participating on a semester program in India.
Sally Bragg Baker Scholarship: For a female participant in any semester program who demonstrates international awareness and a desire to create a more peaceful world through international exchange.
SIT Bonner Scholar Award: For students participating in this community service program.
SIT Fund: For students with demonstrated financial need who enroll in any SIT Study Abroad program, to help promote study abroad opportunities worldwide.
The Workum Fund: For SIT Study Abroad students studying on programs in the Indian subcontinent (India and Nepal), including the Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program.
Youth Foundation Scholarship
The Youth Foundation provides funding to students to bolster self-reliance, confidence, self-discipline, responsibility, volunteerism, and exemplary character. Scholarships range from $2,500 to $4,000 per year and can be used for an undergraduate’s junior year abroad. Selection is based on character, need, scholastic achievement, objective, motivation, potential for leadership, and good citizenship.
More information is available at: http://goo.gl/Qu2alp
International Education Financial Aid Center
International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) is a clearinghouse for information on college scholarship, financial aid, travel grant, and other grants for students wishing to study abroad. IEFA’s mission is to promote international education through the development and publication of a comprehensive database.
For more information on IEFA center: http://goo.gl/qOMNRV
Professional Development Abroad Scholarships and Grants
International Affairs Fellowship
The International Affairs program offered by the Council on Foreign Relations offers fellowships for students intending to pursue a career in the Foreign Service. It is intended for mid-career scholars to broaden their foreign policy experience. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 27 and 35 who are eligible to work in the United States. The program awards a stipend of $85,000.
For more information: http://www.cfr.org/thinktank/fellowships/iaf.html
International Service Learning (ISL)
International Service Learning (ISL) offers $300 grants to graduate students and professionals who’d like to join the organization on global health teams. Team trips last from eight days to two weeks, with this year’s destinations being Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Peru.
Learn more: https://islonline.org/scholarships/
Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships and Grants aim to improve international understanding and positive relations. Recipients make appearances before Rotary clubs, schools, civic organizations, and other forums in the host country, and share their international experiences. Scholarships vary from one year to multi-year, providing $11,000—$23,000 for round-trip transportation, tuition, fees, room and board expenses, and some educational supplies. Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarships provide $10,000—$17,000 for three or six months of intensive language study and cultural immersion. These funds cover round-trip transportation, language training expenses, and homestay living arrangements.
More information: http://goo.gl/8MJ50j
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers graduating college seniors a year of independent, purposeful international exploration to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, and leadership and to foster humane, effective participation in the world community. Applicants are eligible if their college or university is a participating institution. The stipend for the fellowship year is $28,000.
More information is available at: http://goo.gl/V2NeF0
Tourism Cares Scholarships
Tourism Cares offers 22 Professional Development Scholarships ranging from $350 to $3,000 to benefit students working in or looking to enter careers in the travel or tourism industries. Its goal is to strengthen the travel and tourism workforce through continued education. Eligible applicants will be registering for a travel or tourism related professional development certificate program.
For more information on Toursim Cares scholarships, click here.
U.S. Student Fulbright Grant
Graduate students may apply for a Fulbright grant for research projects that can be completed in one academic year and that relate to the resources of the host country. The Fulbright international educational exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. government, and designed to increase multicultural understanding. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Applicants also must have proficiency in the written and spoken language of the country.
For more information on Fulbright Grants: http://goo.gl/Sw14nY
Other Helpful Resources, Scholarships, and Grants
Study Abroad Scholarships and Grants
Research and Professional Development Abroad Scholarships and Grants
P.S. If you’re still looking for a volunteer opportunity, check out our list of best volunteer abroad programs and recommended volunteer projects in Africa, Central America, and Thailand. You can also read about 7 Great Medical and Veterinary Volunteer Abroad Projects, 10 Dental Volunteer Abroad Program and Medical Mission Tips for Pre Dental Students, and nursing volunteer abroad projects for students and nurse professionals. Or, if medical volunteer projects aren’t for you, be sure to read about our sports and coaching volunteer abroad, wildlife conservation and veterinary abroad, teach abroad, and intern abroad programs. Lastly, if you’re under 18, you may be interested in a teen volunteer abroad program from one of our many great partners.