Studying abroad can be an enriching experience for college students, exposing them to a new language and culture for a semester or more. However, this adventure can also be expensive, especially for students attending college on a scholarship. The expense of studying abroad should not deter students from signing up for the experience. Instead, they can uncover creative ways to finance their study-abroad journey, raising money on campus and within the community.
Fund your semester abroad by applying for scholarships available specifically for study-abroad students. Many organizations offer scholarships to help supplement – or even cover – the cost of a semester studying abroad. For example, the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarships provides $5,000 for tuition and fees for students studying abroad. Look at the requirements for each scholarship to see if you qualify. The Fund for Education Abroad Scholarships prefers, but does not require, students to study the language of the host country, have a financial need and choose a nontraditional study-abroad destination, for example. The Institute of International Education provides a searchable index of study-abroad scholarships, allowing you to find one to help pay for your journey.
Discover funding opportunities from professional organizations depending on your field of study. Many organizations offer field-specific scholarships to make your international studies possible, and some require you to study abroad in a particular location. For example, the Association of Teachers of Japanese offers Bridging Scholarships for studying abroad in Japan. In 2009, 68 students received scholarships to fund their Japanese study-abroad experience. Talk to your professors or academic advisers about professional organizations in your field, and ask if they have any contacts at your local chapter. Networking can connect you to a field-specific scholarship to fund your semester abroad.
Donations for a Souvenir
A more immediate way to raise money for studying abroad is by contacting those people close to you, including your family, friends and classmates. Iowa State University's Study Abroad Center suggests students ask for donations in exchange for a souvenir from your host country. Family and friends will be happy to support your international education, and they'll appreciate this token of appreciation. You can find inexpensive souvenirs during your travels, such as a postcard or nonperishable snack from the country. You could also take photos of your experiences and give a framed photograph to each donor.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.