Tricks to getting scholarships abroad

If there is an impediment when it comes to studying abroad, it is the cost. Studying abroad is an exciting experience that comes with a high financial obligation for students. With tuition fees and living costs adding up to a large budget, most students are left with no option but to surf the internet in search of a little relief, in the shape of grants, scholarships, or student loans.

Scholarships, as we all know, are the most-searched-for relief fund among students. We all hear the word “scholarship” and have probably at one point tried to apply for various scholarship opportunities. But do we know what scholarships are about, the available scholarships out there, and how to apply for them?

In this article, we will be discussing what scholarships are about, who can apply for a scholarship, the documents required to apply for a scholarship, the available scholarships out there, and how to apply for a scholarship.

What is a scholarship?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a scholarship is “an amount of money given by a school, college, university, or other organization to pay for the studies of a person with great ability but little money.” Both scholarships and grants are types of gift aid, which means students do not need to pay the money back. But grants are usually need-based and often go to young people who can not afford the cost of their studies. In contrast, most scholarships are awarded based on academic, athletic, or artistic abilities.

There are hundreds of scholarships to study abroad, including general scholarships and more specialized funding schemes. Some are offered by government agencies, some by individual universities, and others by external funding organizations and charitable enterprises.

The secret is to know not just where to seek study abroad scholarships but also how to apply for them. Even if it does not entirely cover your study abroad expenses, it will certainly assist in reducing your expenses and make your study abroad experience more reasonable.

Who can apply for scholarships?

Anyone who meets the application requirements can apply. However, scholarships are grouped into various categories and target different students. These include lists of international scholarships to study abroad in a particular country; scholarships to study a particular subject; and scholarships targeting particular groups of students. Always check if you can apply if the scholarship application deadlines are up-to-date and if the scholarship is open to national students, international students, or both.

What types of scholarships are out there?

There are many different types of scholarships for study abroad that you should explore. However, searching through all the international scholarships out there can be a mammoth task. To make your search easier, we have categorized the list based on the most common types. You can begin your search based on:

Scholarships for excellent academic results: 

You need to be a top student to apply for this type of scholarship. Universities and Colleges are the most common organizations offering scholarships for academic work. To find out if a university offers this type of financial aid, check out the “costs and funding” page on the official university website.

Scholarships for research, artistic, or athletic achievements: 

If you are into research, sports, or the arts, then this scholarship category is for you. Athletic excellence scholarships are especially popular in the US, but you can find them in other countries as well. To receive financial aid, you need to showcase your skills. This might involve impressing scouts, showing research skills beyond your age, or creating a work of art that could easily impress critics.

Scholarships for students with low incomes: 

This type of scholarship is very similar to grants. The aim is to support students who want to study but cannot afford to pay the full tuition fees or living costs. Universities and other organizations make an excellent investment in need-based scholarships because future graduates often give back to their community and try to help others who face the same struggles.

Scholarships for underrepresented groups: 

The goal is to support and encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to pursue education without worrying about costs. Here are a few examples: womennative AmericansAfrican AmericansHispanic-Latino students, and students from developing countries.

Location-specific grants or scholarships: 

These are aimed at encouraging students to study in specific countries or even certain cities, such as scholarships specifically for students looking to study in Japan. You might find these scholarships provided by your university, by the government of the country you plan to study in, or even by the government of your home country, which hopes to foster international relations through the exchange of study abroad students. 

Program-Specific Study Abroad Scholarships or Grants:

These scholarships or grants are often offered to students who decide to study abroad through a particular program. This could be through an independent study abroad provider or a particular program crafted by only students who intend to study under that program. For example, HEX is offering $1000 scholarships to RMIT, University, and University of Technology Sydney students who participate in their Great Global Challenge program, as well as 140 grants and full scholarships for Australian students across 10 universities in their APAC program.

Subject-specific grants or scholarships:

These are awarded to students who plan to pursue a certain field of study or major while abroad, such as Foreign Language Scholarships. This financial aid can be incredibly specific, zeroing in on not just the subject, but also a certain subject to be studied in a particular country. 

Student-Specific Scholarships or Grants:

Some Scholarships are awarded based on the students themselves, due to factors such as gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. For instance, there is a specific study abroad scholarship for high school students! With a demand for more diverse study abroad students, programs such as the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship or Diversity Abroad Scholarships are especially helpful for students searching for financial aid. 

University-provided study abroad scholarships or grants: 

This is awarded based on a merit basis to any student looking to study abroad. Many higher education institutions worldwide provide scholarships for international students to encourage a more diverse student body to attend their universities.

Organization-Provided Scholarships/Grants: 

Be sure to do thorough research on non-profit, chapter, or heritage organizations that provide scholarships or grants to deserving students who match their criteria. Prime examples include scholarships for those of Italian or Hispanic descent.

Government-Funded Scholarships/Grants for Study Abroad:

Aside from assuring that your FAFSA financial aid will carry over for your study abroad semester, several government-funded grants or scholarships encourage students to study or do work abroad. Good examples of this include the Fulbright Program or Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships, which are funded by the UK government specifically for international student leaders looking to study in the UK. 



Now that you know where to search, the next stage is how to land the scholarship. It is important to remember that there. There are thousands of international students trying to apply for the same scholarship as you. Therefore, you must stand out and score that financial aid.

for your studies abroad. It is, nevertheless, critical to have your paperwork ready before you begin looking for scholarship options. This is so that you are better prepared and ready to apply once you come across an opportunity, that fits your desired goal. Some of the most common necessary documents for scholarships are:

Documents required for scholarship applications

  • Registration or application form
  • A letter of motivation or a personal essay
  • A letter of recommendation
  • A letter of acceptance from an academic institutional
  • Proof of low income/official financial statements
  • Proof of extraordinary academic or athletic achievement.


There are tricks involved in securing a scholarship or grant. However, they do not guarantee that you are getting the aid. Following these tricks will only help you be different and push you closer to other aspirants.

Now that your documents are ready the next question on your mind is how to score the best study abroad scholarships. It is important to remember that there are thousands of students bidding for the same scholarship, therefore your application will have to stand out. Listed below are 10 sure-fire steps to score the best study abroad scholarships:

How to score financial aid for study abroad

  • Ask for help: The hardest part of getting study abroad scholarships is simply finding them. Contact your university’s study abroad office, your professors, the financial aid office, and your academic advisors to ask them about scholarships or grants that they might be aware of.
  • Research, Research, Research: It cannot be said enough the importance of research. It is important to have all the information you need before proceeding. Check the internet thoroughly, and reach out to your professors or people who have benefited from the financial aid. This will help you be better prepared and lower the risk of making mistakes in your application. You will also be able to determine if that scholarship is right for you or not.
  • Contact the scholarship or grant funder: The best way to know all the details of the scholarships you will be applying for, as well as up-to-date application requirements, is to contact the funder directly. Not only will this ensure that you have all the correct information, but you will also be showing the scholarship or grant funder/provider that you are not afraid to take the initiative and actively pursue the scholarship you are applying for.
  • Update your resume: A huge part of being awarded a scholarship is your resume. Be sure to highlight any international experience you’ve had, update all your recent campus activities, and try not to go over one page, as writing concisely is important. 
  • Prepare a cover letter: Cover letters go together with resumes and are sometimes a crucial part of an application, as they can be your one chance to make an argument for why you deserve to be awarded a scholarship. You should focus on how you plan to translate your lessons from abroad into your life on campus and at home. If you are applying for scholarships to study abroad provided by an international university, be sure to research how that country typically organizes their resumes or cover letters, and, if you’re confident enough in your language skills, you could try writing them in the language of the country you will be studying in.
  • Check your references: Most Study Abroad scholarship essays and applications require personal references. That is, someone you’ve worked with either in a professional or academic capacity setting. For most students, this means reaching out to professors and asking for their assistance. When asking a professor to be a reference or to write a recommendation letter, always ask them far enough in advance so that they may prepare. It is also important to choose professors or employers with whom you have interacted so that they know you well enough to recommend you. 
  • Make a note of it: When applying for several different scholarships or grants, as well as applying for the study abroad program itself, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different deadlines and application requirements. Make a calendar specific to your study abroad scholarship applications, with each deadline, marked. Staying organized is crucial when applying for more than one scholarship.
  • Apply Apply Apply: It may seem tiring but apply for study abroad scholarships as quickly and thoroughly as you can. This bit will require considerable amounts of time and patience, but every little bit counts. Be sure to customize your applications whenever possible and avoid the temptation to simply copy and paste from one application to another. Scholarship providers know when you’ve done your research on the values of their foundation or the focus of a specific scholarship. Customizing each application will give you a much better chance of becoming a pro at figuring out how to study abroad with a scholarship. The more scholarships you can apply for, the more financial aid you will get. 
  • Take your time: It can be easy to feel the need to rush through applications, especially if you are applying to several scholarship opportunities. However, you should treat study abroad applications just as seriously as the applications you completed to be accepted into your university. Read and follow the directions for scholarships to study abroad and leave yourself enough time to complete all your applications without feeling like you’re under a heavy-hammer deadline. 
  • Have the Grades: This may seem rudimentary, but to get a scholarship, you often have to have good grades. Not all scholarships or grants require stellar grades or grade point averages, but many of them do. This is simply because the providers want to know that the student receiving their scholarship is serious about their study abroad experience. It is important to put in the work and get good grades before your time abroad to show scholarship providers that you plan to take your study abroad experience seriously as not just a chance to travel but also an opportunity to expand your academic horizons.
  • The Proof is in the Passion: Most, if not all, study abroad scholarship applications require a personal essay. In these applications, it’s your chance to shine. Be sure to let your passion for studying abroad and the country you’ll be studying in the show through in your application essay. Scholarship funders and providers want to know that their money is being used for a good purpose and that the student who is applying for it appreciates the opportunity they are being given. So don’t be afraid to express yourself; tell your story and explain why you deserve the scholarship that will allow you to study abroad. 

The internet is an excellent resource for locating a large number of study abroad scholarships. Many of these scholarships will allow you to apply directly online. You can potentially apply for dozens of scholarships in a few short hours. Some of the ways are:

How can you apply for a scholarship?

  • Register for the scholarship by completing an online application form.
  • Check your inbox to make sure you have received the confirmation email.
  • Write a personal statement or essay.
  • There are enough models on the internet but remember to be original and impress through your unique experiences and ideas.
  • Get official proof of your academic, athletic, or artistic achievements. Translate the documents if necessary.
  • Get official proof of your low income or nationality (for region-based scholarships). Again, a translation might be necessary.
  • Proofread all documents for errors and send them to the scholarship provider.
  • Submit the acceptance letter from the university (or an official document from the university proving you have been accepted). You will not receive the scholarship without confirming that you will begin your studies.
  • Wait for the results. If selected, the university or college receives the money directly to cover your tuition (or a part of it).

It is important to note that a larger application pool will reduce your chances of being awarded aid. Therefore, do a lot of research and be open-minded. Here are some popular places to start: 

  • Scholarship Portal: This website provides a comprehensive free search database system for scholarships available throughout Europe; you can search by region, country, and discipline
  • FastWeb: This website will not only help you find study abroad scholarships but scholarships of all kinds that may help you get through the rest of college. The service is free but offers a number of extra benefits if you decide to register
  • IIE Passport: This database is a comprehensive search engine for all study abroad programs registered with IIE passport
  • Scholarships for Study in Australia: This database provided by the Australian government gives students easy access to the available funding for international students studying there.
  • – our own database where we list over 5,000 scholarship opportunities
  • Scholarships for Development – a website providing financial aid programs especially focused on students from developing countries
  • Official EU scholarship page – list of scholarships available for studies in Europe
  • – database with over 3.5 million scholarships and grants

The official study abroad pages of individual countries also offer information about scholarships:

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to put in the time and effort when applying to study abroad scholarships, just as much as you would for any other academic scholarship, and you are sure to see the results. Even if you do not receive as many scholarships for your study abroad experience as you would have hoped, there are other options to fund your time abroad with crowdfunding websites.



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