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How to Get Funding to Study Abroad

Updated on March 1, 2016

You did it! You went farther than most into making your dream a reality. You put in a lot of work and got that email you have been waiting for. The one that says you have been officially accepted to study in the country of your choice!

The hardest part is done. You have found a way to get there, and are just waiting until that day where you finally step off the plane.

But there is no time to wait when you are chasing your goals and dreams. You have worked so hard so why stop now! Let’s find out exactly how to get funding to study abroad.

All the hours spent trying to promote your goals and qualities are not over yet. Now it is time to take advantage of all the new scholarships that have popped up because of the simple fact you are studying abroad. If you do this right, studying in the country of your choice can be cheaper than studying at your home university.

I know what you are thinking, but why should we listen to you?

The answer to this is simple. What have you got to lose? I have worked hard to acquire scholarships myself and because of that I studied in Japan for one year each at Kansai Gaidai University, as well as Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies without using any of my own money. If I can help you in anyway, I feel like I have won.

Many people do not realize this, but a lot of money goes unclaimed because people believe that they are not worthy of any scholarships, that they are too average and have nothing to offer, or that other people beat them to it.

This is simply NOT TRUE. Many scholarships are there waiting for someone to come and take them. Be aggressive and go for as many scholarships as possible.

So let’s start grabbing those scholarships and push forward!

Where to look first

The absolute first place you should look for scholarships at is your study abroad department. Most study abroad departments have their own scholarships they offer. These scholarships can offer anything from $500 to $2000 depending on your needs and situation.

These scholarships are so easy to apply for, just put in your information and usually write an essay detailing things such as where are you going, what you want to gain from this experience, and how you can benefit from the scholarship.

Again, you may think your essay is perfect. You may have also revised it every day. That is not enough. Do not get comfortable or satisfied with your essay. Send it to the head of the study abroad department and ask them to look at it and give you tips. Send it to you friends, advisor, and professors. Do this for all scholarships.

Some scholarships are offered only for those who are really in need financially, even if you think that you are not in such a desperate need of the money, send an application anyway. Apply for everything.

Where to next

Okay so you applied for all the scholarships in the study abroad department and hopefully you got leads for other scholarships. Ask them if there are any other scholarships. They will know of more and tell you.

Many departments also have scholarships for people studying abroad. For example the business department at my university had a scholarship for people studying abroad. Be sure to ask your advisors and professors.

My university also had a scholarship that was for people studying abroad only, and every year had $100,000 that they would split among successful candidates. I heard about this from my friend and the study abroad office, and thought for sure I would not stand a chance of getting it.

Seeing how big of a scholarship this could potentially be, surely everyone would be applying for this. But remember, most people think they do not have a chance, and therefore many scholarships are still waiting to be taken. But I took a chance, and consulted with many people and landed it. Above all odds I did it, and so can you.

Look for those scholarships, the ones that seem unobtainable. Once you have accumulated a list of all scholarships from within your school, start looking for ones outside.

Great Tips to Pass the Scholarship Interview

How to Beat Others to the Scholarship

This is easy. Know why you are going. This might sound dumb but when candidates are asked why they want to go, they could only give a generic answer. It is surprising how many people want to go to study in another program and cannot put into words why they want to.

Here is a personal example of how this played out for me. I was going in for an interview on a scholarship, and another person who also wanted to go to japan came out and told me it was hard. This person said that the board members asked a lot of questions (obviously), and this candidate was struggling to provide the answers.

Before going prepare you answers. Write them down.

Why do you want to go to this country?

How will you benefit from this experience?

How will this money help you?

What are you future plans once leaving college?

Obviously, there are many more questions they can ask. But have the answers to these questions. It is a must. Just be confident!

Now here is what happened once I went in. My face gets red, beat red. It always happens when I attract a lot of attention. But I made a joke about it, laughed with everyone, and after that I ended up having so much fun in the interview. I knew my answers because I was prepared.

Then they talked about the essay I wrote and said it was one of the best they have ever read. And why was my essay good? Not because I am a good writer, not because I have any redeeming qualities, but because I revised, revised, and revised more.

This leads to our next point.

Essay is Key

Do not do what the candidate I previously talked about did. They used the same essay for all their scholarships.

The. Same. Essay. Sure this might get you one scholarship, but do not under any circumstances do this. People who do this usually fail to acquire very many scholarships. And why? Because it shows they do not care enough.

But you have gotten so far, you have been accepted to go to the country of your dreams! We care about this. So my advice is to write a separate essay for each scholarship. This may sound like a lot of work, but it pays off. An unoriginal essay can be what stands between you and $10,000.

Do not be that person who uses the same essay. Each scholarship is unique and wants to know different things about you and why you need the scholarship money.

So you have written a different essay for each scholarship. What you need to do next is to revise it. Constantly look over it. Most importantly, send it to professors. Send it to academics in your university. They have read more than their fair share of essays and can tell you exactly what you need to do to make it as good as possible.

Do I sound like a broken record when I say to have it looked over by someone other than yourself?

I hope I do, because this is crucial, and I mean crucial in transforming your essay from average, to extraordinary and unique.

Once you finish the paperwork for all the scholarships, you can rest easy. You put in so much work and now just need to relax and wait. It pays to prepare earlier than later.


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