A Complete Guide to Study Abroad Scholarships – Key Tips

A Complete Guide to Study Abroad Scholarships – Key Tips


Students always dream about studying abroad and it is evident that education overseas offers the students the opportunity to make new friends, explore the world, gain internship experience, immerse themselves in a new culture and create professional connections.

There are various benefits to studying abroad but the steps towards making it happen can be difficult especially in a case when you are on a budget. Many students have the false belief that studying abroad is very expensive for their budget and they don’t know where to start on the scholarship application process in a different country.

However, there are plenty of study abroad scholarships for international students who wish to pursue a course or degree abroad. These opportunities range from funds to cover the expenses of your flight ticket to scholarships that allow you to study abroad for free.

Universities offer scholarships for international students to diversify their student body and enrich the cultural experience on campus. Moreover, outside of universities, there are various organizations that offer scholarships to promote global education and international relations.

The most important thing is to know where to find international scholarships and which ones you are eligible for and once this is done, you can find out what kind of support is available and learn how to apply for a scholarship. This guide will help you identify the best scholarship which would fulfil your dream of studying abroad.


Depending on the length of your studies, the city you choose to study in and the kind of accommodation you have chosen, the cost of studying abroad can vary greatly. Full study abroad programs are naturally more expensive than just taking a single semester or course abroad.

Moreover, there is a difference between needing funds to study abroad for free or just needing to cover some of the cost. It is also important to plan your studies in advance to know the amount of financial support you will be requiring.

The main factor to consider will be the cost of living in your new city and the cost of accommodation on average along with the food and travel while staying in abroad. Many other factors such as the courses you opt for, visas and potential income outside of class must be considered.

There are, however, many ways to stay on a budget such as sharing accommodation may reduce the rent and cooking for yourself whenever possible. You must also look for student discounts and some of the world’s most famous attractions and sights offer huge discounts if a student ID is shown. Even if you are able to secure partial scholarships for studying abroad, student discounts and budgeting will make your living much easier.


Depending on which international scholarships you receive and who is providing them, the extent of your scholarship varies. Most scholarships are designed to cover your basic cost of studying including tuition fees, student fees, books and other school-related costs.

A portion of your living costs might also be covered in some cases such as food and accommodation. For studying abroad, other scholarships are less strict and might provide you with a lump sum of money which can be applied to your studies in a manner that seems appropriate.

This will help you prioritize your own budget and apply the financial aid accordingly. You must be sure about the terms and conditions in the process of learning to apply for a scholarship. Moreover, the donors and organizations see the scholarships as an educational investment rather than a gift that allows you to study abroad for free.

This generally poses certain restrictions and it\’s common for international scholarships to require a certain performance level maintained throughout the duration of your studies to continue receiving financial aid.

You must also consider when the funding will be awarded as scholarships are generally paid out in full before the start of the semester but they can also be distributed in instalments throughout the year. The funds will either be paid to the student or the university directly and each school or organization have their own procedures for the time of awarding the scholarship.


Scholarships come from many sources and you are eligible to receive more than one which can be ensured by checking the guidelines for all study abroad scholarships to see what you qualify for. Scholarships are offered by governments, universities, organizations, private donors and businesses.

These institutions understand the value of international education and they post lists of the previous winners of the scholarship. Thus, you have to look into the profiles of the previous scholarship recipients and reach out to them for advice while finding out how to get a scholarship to study abroad.

Sources of scholarships for international students also vary from country to country and whichever scholarship you have decided to apply for, remember to be persistent and patient.

University Scholarships: Universities will readily help the students to find study abroad scholarships and grants and many times, admission offices automatically offer scholarships and grants when you apply or they may require that you apply for financial aid in advance.

It is better to go through an academic advisor or a financial aid office to find scholarships through a college or university. The advisor will give you an idea of the different types of scholarships that you will be eligible for based on academic records, special talents, athletic ability or financial need.

Scholarships can be offered as partial payments or full tuition through a specific university. The schools in which you are planning to study abroad may offer additional financial aid if a scholarship from your home university is not enough to cover all costs.

Check if your university offers scholarships for international students if you are studying an entire degree program at a university abroad. Schools often have a target of meeting a certain number of international students and they will offer financial aid as an incentive.

Government Scholarships: Federal or state governments are a great source which can provide financial aid for international students. The government in the United States is the largest source of need-based financial aid. For residents attending college in their state, the state governments in the United States may fund grants and scholarships.

Foreign governments also offer global grants or international scholarships for international students who wish to study in their country. It is essential to contact the country’s embassy to know detailed information about the available grants and scholarships from governments.

Private and Individual Donor Scholarships: Private Scholarships are also sponsored by many companies, foundations, community organizations, clubs, labour unions, religious centres and public organizations. They are generally a one-time form of aid and have specific eligibility requirements set by the donor and vary in amount.

Individual donors are individuals who have set up a private fund for students to receive financial aid which is awarded on the basis of academic merit or financial need depending on the donor. More searching is required to find international scholarships through individual donors and these scholarships are advertised sometimes.


You must also have an idea of what kind of international scholarships are being offered and which proper planning and research, you can receive financial aid for your studies abroad.

Merit-based Scholarships: In order to qualify for a merit-based scholarship, you must demonstrate academic excellence and the most obvious indicator of your academic excellence is your grades. Some universities also consider your special talents such as athletic abilities or musical skills.

The money that is granted by a merit-based scholarship is meant exclusively to cover tuition fees and whether it covers partial or full tuition fees are dependent on your grades, your financial need and the university’s budget.

Need-based Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students who are in need of financial aid to pursue a study abroad experience. If the student is supported by their parents, the scholarship provider analyzes the parents’ income and their ability to pay for the tuition fees and also looks into other factors such as citizenship, residence status, number of members in the household, employment and tax statements.

The income of the students will be assessed if the students support themselves. These scholarships are designed to provide assistance when the guardians are not able to afford tuition and costs of studying and these grants are independent of merit. Depending on the program or university, you may also qualify for both merit-based and need-based scholarships.

Athletic Scholarships: These are given by the universities to top-notch athletes to recruit them for their athletic teams. Many universities provide full-ride scholarships for athletes, especially in the United States. Athletes also benefit from a free education along with balancing rigorous training. These scholarships are awarded based on their performance in high school in sports.

Program or Field Specific Scholarships: These scholarships are related to a specific level of studies such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree or to a specific program such as a nursing or engineering program. They are offered directly from the school or from a private donor who is affiliated with the university such as an alumna who has set up the foundation of the scholarship.

These scholarships are offered many times with your university admissions and there is no need for separately applying for them. Some universities also target students in specific fields to boost their own international student population.

Minority Scholarships: You can take advantage of these kinds of scholarship options if you belong to a minority group as universities work on ensuring that they are provided equal access to education. Women, Racial or ethnic minorities can avail of this scholarship.


If you have made a list of the funding that you may be eligible for, you have to find out how to apply for a scholarship. Most study abroad scholarships have specific criteria to follow while drafting the application and it is necessary to make sure you follow all the instructions and double-check your work. Here are a few tips which will help you in drafting the best scholarship application.

Make a Checklist:

It is important to get organized and make a list of all the scholarships you are planning to apply for and then write down what each one requires. This makes it easy to gather all the necessary paperwork and documents and many times, different study abroad scholarships require similar things such as letters of recommendation, transcripts and essays. You can also rank the worth of each scholarship.

Gather the Necessary Documentation:

The essential components of your study abroad scholarship application are transcripts, essays and letters of recommendation. However, certain universities may require additional documents and you have to take into consideration that it can take a lot of time to request and receive both transcripts and recommendation letters from schools.

A transcript is a common component of an application for scholarships and it is a record of your academic grades. Letter of Recommendation provides an insight to the scholarship providers into your qualifications through someone who knows you personally. An essay helps you to demonstrate your need to the scholarship providers and help them understand why you truly require this financial support.

Review and Submit:

Once the necessary steps are completed, you should make sure that you give your application a final review before submitting it and make sure that you have followed all the instructions and have included all the required paperwork. Each study abroad application has its own deadline and many have their deadlines at various seasons.

The necessary aspect is that you have to never stop searching for new scholarship opportunities even after beginning your studies. Also, there are different guidelines for every international scholarship application in terms of documentation and thus, it is necessary to make sure to allow yourself enough time to organize yourself and complete your application.

Once you submit an application, you’ve done the job. You have learned to get a scholarship to study abroad and have increased your chances of getting one. You may receive a full or partial scholarship but you have to be happy as your time and dedication will pay off when you are living and studying abroad surrounded by new friends while immersing yourself in a totally different culture.

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