10 Scholarships to Fund Your Travels Abroad

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Be an ambassador for peace, master a foreign language, give back through services…and do it all in another country!

These ten scholarship opportunities can help make it happen. Although each one has its own eligibility requirements, all of them are open to U.S. citizens with disabilities.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

  • Open to undergraduates
  • Universal – Can be applied to most study abroad programs
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State
  • Award/Benefits – Up to $5,000 ($8,000 for those studying a Critical Need Language)
  • Critical Info – Must be Pell Grant Recipients
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 2 weeks for community college students, 4 weeks otherwise

It’s all about diversity by awarding scholarships to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in study abroad – students with high financial need and who represent various underserved audiences, including people with disabilities – the Gilman Program is diversifying the kinds of students who study and intern abroad.

Christianson Grant

  • Critical information – Open to applicants ages 18-28
  • Award/benefit – $2,500-10,000
  • Minimum time required abroad – 6 months

If you’re not currently in school, you can still travel without going the traditional study abroad route. For those who want to work or volunteer overseas, the Christianson Grant has you covered! Programs may not be part of a degree requirement or for class credit.

Critical Language Scholarship Program

  • Open to U.S. undergraduates
  • Open to U.S. graduates
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State
  • Award/benefits – Program costs are fully covered
  • Minimum time required abroad – Summer, eight to ten weeks

The Critical Language Scholarship Program offers fully-funded language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences overseas for 13 languages in countries where the languages are widely spoken. Think Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian and a number of other languages. New to critical languages? Not to worry. Several languages are offered at all levels, including those for beginners.

David L. Boren Awards

Boren Scholarship

  • Open to U.S. undergraduates
  • Universal – Can be applied towards most study abroad programs
  • Award/benefits – $8,000–20,000
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – One semester, preference for a full year (8 weeks for students in select fields)
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense

Boren Fellowship

  • Open to U.S. graduates
  • Universal – Can be applied towards most study abroad programs
  • Award/benefits – Up to $30,000
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 12 weeks, preference for 6 months or more
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense

Share your knack for story-telling by blogging your overseas adventures! Diversity Abroad strongly encourages students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, first-generation students, and ethnically and racially diverse students to apply.

DiversityAbroad.com Blogging Scholarship

  • Open to U.S. undergraduates
  • Award/benefits – $500
  • Critical information – Must be accepted to an overseas program offered through a DiversityAbroad.com Partner Organization

Share your knack for story-telling by blogging your overseas adventures! Diversity Abroad strongly encourages students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, first-generation students, and ethnically and racially diverse students to apply.

Foundation for Global Scholars

  • Open to U.S. undergraduates
  • Open to U.S. graduates
  • Universal – Can be applied towards most study abroad programs
  • Award/benefits – $2,000
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 4 weeks

Foundation for Global Scholars awards several study abroad scholarships three times annually and designates over half of its scholarship funding to students who are underrepresented in study abroad. It’s that simple!

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

  • Open to U.S. graduating college seniors
  • Open to U.S. graduates
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State
  • Award/benefits – Round-trip transportation to the host country, funding to cover room and board, health benefits
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – Varies, generally one academic year

Chase your passions on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, whether they involve international graduate study, advanced research, or English teaching assistantships worldwide. With approximately 1,900 grants awarded annually and 140 countries to choose from, it is the largest U.S. exchange program around — and one of the most prestigious.

Fund for Education Abroad

  • Open to U.S. undergraduates
  • Universal – Can be applied towards most study abroad programs
  • Award/benefits – Up to $10,000
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 4 weeks

The Fund for Education Abroad scholarships have very few requirements, so why not apply? In addition to awarding general scholarships up to $10,000 towards four or more weeks abroad, FEA also offers dedicated scholarships for students who identify as LGBTQI or who live in certain regions of the United States.

Rotary Peace Fellowship

  • Open to graduates
  • Award/benefits – Program costs are fully covered (tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses)
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 15–24 months

Give peace–and study abroad—a chance! Each year, Rotary International selects up to 100 individuals from around the world to receive fully-funded master’s degrees at select institutions in Australia, England, Japan, or Sweden. Fellows earn their degrees in peace studies, conflict resolution, or related fields.

Watson Fellowship

  • Open to recent graduates – Apply in your senior year of college
  • Critical information – Must attend and be nominated by one of 40 partner colleges
  • Minimum Time Required Abroad – 1 year
  • Award/benefits – $30,000

The Watson Fellowship challenges students to engage in their deepest interests on a world scale. To do this, Watson Fellowships provide grants for one year of independent study in one or several countries outside the United States just after graduation. All majors and fields of inquiry are eligible.

Where Else to Look for Funding

  • The study abroad office at your school. It’s a no-brainer! Or faculty who lead overseas programs in your academic department.
  • Third-party providers like AIFS Study Abroad, CEA Study Abroad, CIEE Study Abroad, IES Abroad, SIT Study Abroad, and others sometimes offer fee waivers or reductions on their overseas programs for qualifying students. Find them at StudyAbroad.com and GoAbroad.com online databases.
  • Many scholarships fund study abroad in specific destinations, such as those through the US-Japan Bridging Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service, and others.
  • Almost any kind of scholarship can be a study abroad scholarship! Do you already receive scholarships and funding through your school, the government, foundations, or private organizations? Check with the sponsor to find out whether and how that money can be used for study abroad.

Did you know: Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Social Security funds (SSI and SSDI), and the GI Bill (for military veterans) can sometimes be applied towards study abroad expenses or disability-related expenses while abroad?

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