Thinking About Studying Abroad
Many students would love to expand their higher education even more by furthering it in foreign countries that they have always wanted to travel to.
I’m sure you can imagine yourself studying abroad: rustic dining in Venice for your culinary major, hiking up the rocky remains of the Great Wall of China while studying ancient architecture, perfecting your German-speaking skills on the railway in Berlin, studying the newest technologies in Tokyo to get some inspiration for your engineering studies, or even studying economics in Greece while sampling the baklava. The thrill of traveling to a new land, practicing your skills in a foreign language, trying new foods, meeting new people and being exposed to a new culture is unbelievably alluring.
Having studied in a foreign country also looks very good on a resume after college. Studying abroad can expose a student to new approaches to the subject material, new ways of doing things, up-and-coming trends in the pursued degree field, and many other things that would otherwise never be discovered if the field of study remained in one location and never expanded beyond its borders.
Sadly, to many students, studying abroad is often mistakenly considered a luxury that is too expensive and therefore inaccessible. This is not true. A lot of students assume that they will not be able to take on the cost of studying abroad and decide to not even pursue the matter further, assuming it is an unobtainable dream.
It is truly a shame that many female students are not aware that the ability to study abroad is not inaccessible and is more within reach than they think. Fortunately, there are many grants and scholarships that are available specifically for women that can unlock the door to a whole new realm of education and opportunity. All it takes is a bit of searching, as well as the proper resources, and soon that door can be opened.
An Introduction to Studying Abroad
Before beginning the hunt, it is important to get informed about the amount of money that will be needed. What will be covered by aid versus what will not be covered by aid is also important to know. In some cases, students can study abroad and not have to worry about any expenditures besides food. In other cases, the student may have their tuition covered, but be required to cover room and board, in addition to food, on their own.
Each study abroad program is different depending on the university hosting the trip, the amount in the university’s budget that is allocated to studying abroad, as well as local, federal and state laws. It is best to be absolutely sure that every aspect of the study abroad trip is wrapped up nicely and neatly to avoid worrying about other issues while you are out of the country, getting the educational experience of a lifetime.
Where to Find Grants and Scholarships for Study Abroad
Hunting for grants can be quite a task, and when searching for a specific field, it can be even more arduous. Some grants are more general, others are meant to be used for a specific purpose and cannot be used for funds allocated to a study abroad program.
First, it is probably helpful to become familiar with the different types of grants there are:
- Federal Grants
- State Grants
- Institutional Grants
- Organizational Grants
Federal grants, of course, are grants issued by the federal government. Links to them can often be found on the official website for the Free Application For Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.ed.gov. It is hard to find federal grants that do not have to be sponsored by an organization, and grants are usually meant to be used explicitly for research and not educational expenses outside of tuition.
State grants are issued by the state the student lives in, as the name suggests, and tend to be a bit more research-intensive but are still primarily intended for a student’s tuition and not for studying abroad. This is negotiable, though, depending on the university and state laws, as well as their policies and willingness to make arrangements with the host school your study abroad group will be traveling to.
Institutional grants are both easier to come by and are more likely to require participation on the part of the applicant. This additional participation may be enrollment in some sort of contest, an essay based on a required book, or simply a persuasive letter to the applicant review board.
Institutes are permanent organizational bodies created with a specific purpose in mind, and they are generally tied to a specific higher learning institute or department within an institute. One example is the National Physical Science Consortium.
Organizations, on the other hand, are generally social arrangements created with the purpose of achieving specific goals, much like the National Organization for Women. Organizational grants, along with institutional grants, tend to be more specific about who is awarded the funds.
It may take more searching in depth, but many organizations and institutions that award students with grants will also allow the student to use her funds for studying abroad, as long as the funds go toward her education and not towards frivolous purchases while abroad. This usually requires verification on the part of both the university and the host school that the student will be visiting.
Grants from Host Schools
It is also wise to consider whether the host school offers a scholarship or grant to the incoming university student! Depending on the country you intend to study abroad in and the academic amenities available there, you might be able to acquire financial aid from them, as many schools offer incentives in order to draw in more college students from other countries to their school. Universities aim to be billed as prestigious enough to draw in international pupils, so the more students that come to them to study abroad, the better.
As you see, financial aid and other help with studying abroad can come from a lot of different sources. The possibilities for finding help to fund your study abroad trip are endless.
Scholarships for Women
Scholarships for studying abroad that are specifically for women are hard to find, but scholarships that are for female students in particular are great in number. There are far more scholarships for women than can be named here, but one scholarship that can be obtained is the annual scholarship awarded by the Emerge Scholarship Program. Emerge has awarded as much as $100,000 since its creation in 2001.
There is also:
- The SWE Scholarship Program
- The American History Scholarship for Women
- The American Association of University Women
- The Brill Family Scholarship (hosted by the Society of Women Engineers)
- The Blanche E. Colman Foundation Scholarship
- The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
- Handweavers Guild of America
- Baker Hughes Scholarship
- The Jewish Foundation Education of Women Scholarship
- The National Physical Science Consortium Scholarship (for women in the physical sciences)
- The National Society of Black Engineers
- The Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize
- Karla Scherer Foundation Scholarships
- State Nursing Association Scholarship
- Velma E. Stuit Scholarships for Women
- The Women at Microsoft Scholarship
- Women in Aviation International
- The Drinkall Franke/Seeley Knudstrup Scholarships for ELCA Women
- The Amelia Kemp Scholarship for ELCA Women of Color
- The Girl Scouts of America scholarships
- Glamour’s Top 10 College Women Competition
- Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
These are only a mere fraction of the many scholarship opportunities available to women. Some organizations may allow these funds to be used for study abroad and some may not. Other scholarships, although they are awarded to women specifically, are only designated for women majoring in certain fields like science and math where women are underrepresented.
Specialty/Special Needs Scholarships for Women
Some scholarships are awarded to the winners of beauty pageants or debutante organizations. Others may be specifically for mothers, female graduate students, or women of certain faiths, ethnic origins, or from certain regions of the country. There are even scholarships based on sorority affiliation, particularly if the sorority membership has been consistent over multiple generations of one family. It is best to contact the organization or institution that is hosting the scholarship in order to find out this information ahead of time.
There are also scholarships for women that consider special circumstances, so it is best to search for them as well. Some other sources of scholarships for women might include your local chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women. There are also a number of scholarships for women who are single moms, 35 years or older and pursuing a degree, displaced homemakers, divorced and widowed mothers, women returning to school, as well as mothers who have overcome domestic abuse and are trying to return to college:
- Accounting Scholarships for Women in Transition
- Agnes Drexler Kujawa Memorial Scholarship
- The Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholarship
- The Patsy Takemoto Education Foundation Scholarship for Low-Income Women
- The Linda Lael Miller Scholarship
- The American Association of University Women Career Development Grant (for Women of Color with Bachelor’s Degrees)
- The Michelle L. McDonald Scholarship
- The Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarship
- Martha A. Dawson Genesis Scholarship
- Martha Dudley Advanced Scholarship
- Ruth E. Miller Scholarship
- Sheila Haley Scholarship
- Margaret Pemberton Scholarship
- Reverend Pauline L. Cole Scholarship
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of scholarships, and many of them have certain criteria that must be met in order to apply or qualify for the award. However, there are plenty of options out there for a female student who is looking for help in funding a trip to study abroad. There is, quite literally, a scholarship tailor-made for just about anyone, especially female students who are looking to further their education by taking their degrees beyond the borders of their country.
Study Abroad Scholarships
As mentioned above, it can be a little difficult to locate scholarships or grants that are for both women and explicitly meant to be used for studying abroad. Even though locating scholarships that specific is difficult, there are still scholarships and grants created specifically for studying abroad, even if they are not also specifically allocated to female students, including:
- The AIFS Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship
- Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship
- The Joseph A. Towles African Study Abroad Scholarship
- The Robert B. Bailey Scholarship
- The NSEP David L. Boren Scholarship
- The Simpson Egyptology Scholarship
- The West African Research Association Fellowships
- The American Institute of Bangladesh Fellowships
- Association of Teachers of Japanese Bridging Project
- The Freeman-Asia Scholarship
- The Japanese Government Scholarship (requires recommendation by embassy)
One website that has a very extensive list of scholarships available to study abroad students is AllAbroad.us. This website even separates study abroad scholarships by continent, and has a special category of study abroad scholarships based on diversity or nontraditional countries. This site was even used to help complete the list above. Of course, AllAbroad is not the only option; there are lots of sites out there that offer the kind of help and the kinds of lists you are looking for.
If you still need help from other sources, contacting your university’s advising or financial aid office is also a great way to start the hunt for a scholarship or grant that will help you in your quest to study abroad. An advisor will most definitely be equipped to point you in the right direction, as it is their job to help you in the first place!
Do not give up, there are plenty of options that will make studying abroad accessible and affordable to you. As you see, there are plenty of sources and plenty of money. Finding the right one is up to you. So why wait? Start searching today.