Applying for Scholarships to Study Abroad: Why it’s So Important
Studying abroad can be an incredibly beneficial experience, and it will not only broaden your horizons, but it will also teach you many new skills and help you build your resume. While studying abroad has more than enough benefits to go around, the opportunity can be quite expensive. Luckily, many different scholarships are available to students who want to study abroad; however, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to apply for them.
Scholarship leads to financial freedom
The more money you have, it can be difficult to make responsible choices. With limited funds, your decisions are immediate and apparent in their effects. This is not always a bad thing, but students often regret how they spend their money when they realize how far they could have gone had they used scholarships or other forms of financial aid to pay for school. The less debt you have from student loans at graduation, the better prepared you will be for what comes next in life. If possible, don’t take out any loans at all—not even a credit card. And if that means taking out $50,000 in scholarships instead of $25,000 in loans (which would actually only net you $33,000 after accounting for interest), then so be it.
Scholarships are possible
While it might seem like scholarships are only available to students with straight A’s and a 4.0 GPA, there are still plenty of opportunities out there. Some schools have scholarship funds that students can apply for—so long as they meet certain criteria, such as being in a specific major or being an incoming freshman at a certain school. Even community organizations, local governments and corporations have scholarship programs that you can look into. No matter what your grades may be or what you’ve done in high school, these resources exist—and will help make studying abroad possible!
How to apply for scholarships
So many students take out student loans only to wish they hadn’t. And that sucks. There are plenty of scholarships out there, but not all of them are easy to find, especially if you don’t know where to look. Below is a handy guide on how best you can go about applying for scholarships in order to help fund your studies abroad. It might be scary at first (especially if you’re applying and not winning), but it’s also exciting and worth all of your time! Keep reading as I go over some tips on how best you can apply for scholarships so that you can actually win one.
The importance of applying early
The key thing to remember when applying for scholarships is that most of them (if not all) are merit-based. This means that they’re based on your academic, extracurricular and/or athletic achievement(s). It will be extremely difficult if not impossible to win a scholarship if you wait until right before your study abroad program begins. And if you don’t get in, then where does that leave you? You either have two options at that point: either pay full price or miss out on what could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In order to avoid either of those unfortunate scenarios, apply early and apply often!
Don’t forget about other forms of funding
You’ll definitely want to apply for scholarships and fellowships, but don’t forget about other forms of funding! Check out grants and research or internship opportunities. Most students who study abroad are able to pay their way thanks in part to grants, scholarships, fellowships, work-study programs and international assistantships. If you’re fortunate enough to receive one of these awards, then great! They’ll fully or partially cover your expenses—including tuition—and they’re not loans that you’ll have to pay back. However, keep in mind that a small portion of students don’t get these types of financial awards; therefore you should think about applying for a loan as well if your financial situation requires it.
Invest in yourself and your future
Studying abroad is an investment in yourself. Taking a year or more off from school can create both personal and professional benefits, so if you have a chance to study abroad, do your research about potential options and apply for scholarships. There are financial support available if you are considering studying abroad. In some cases, students can receive merit-based scholarships from their college or university that cover part of their tuition costs. As long as you meet certain criteria, they may also be transferable to other universities so you may get even more bang for your buck by applying early. If your school doesn’t offer any scholarships or grants geared toward study abroad, ask if there is funding available through alumni groups (such as a fraternity/sorority).
Share your success with others
There’s something immensely satisfying about sharing your success with others, especially when you’ve worked hard for it. If you get a job in another country, take pictures of yourself there and share them on social media. If you get into a prestigious college program, brag about it on Facebook (maybe even tagging your counselor). A picture is worth a thousand words—it can be an awesome feeling showing people all over the world that you’re living an amazing life! And while sharing photos of yourself can feel vulnerable, they also give others an inside look at how exciting and fulfilling studying abroad can be.