It’s about that time of year again. Study abroad scholarship applications are opening up. Many of you may be asking yourself, why should I study abroad? Why should I leave my family, friends, and everything behind to go somewhere I’ve never been before? Well, let me tell you. Looking back at my life, studying abroad was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Yes, it will be difficult at first. Leaving everything you know behind, and being thrown into a new culture and family you don’t even know. However, during this difficult time you learn more about yourself and accomplish things you didn’t even know you could do. You make friends of a lifetime, and learn and fall in love with a new language and a new culture. You will have opportunities that you will probably never have again. This is why I really want to push more American students to study abroad. There is more out there than the American life and English language. Expand your horizons, do something different. Something challenging, adventurous, and rewarding. I will tell you, you will definitely not regret it.
So if you’re interested in study abroad, here are several scholarships that will allow you to study abroad for free or at least help you along the way. These scholarships, however, are very competitive. Not trying to scare anyone off or anything, if you really want one of these scholarships then you really need to take these applications seriously. For high school students or recently graduated students only*
NSLI-Y (National Security Language Institute for Youth program offers intensive language immersion during the summer or for a year to students willing to learn Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Persian (Tajik), or Turkish. Locations include the following locations: Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Moldova, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Estonia, India, and Turkey. More information at: http://www.nsliforyouth.org/
CBYX (Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange) program offers 250 full-year scholarships around the United States to high school students who are motivated to go to Germany and learn the German culture and language and gain a new perspective on the global current affairs and German economic, political, and social life. More information at: http://www.usagermanyscholarship.org/about/
The YES Abroad (Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad) program offers 65 scholarships to high school students to study abroad in countries with significant Muslim populations. Countries include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. More information at: http://yes-abroad.org/
YFU (Youth for Understanding) provides several partial scholarships to study abroad in countries like Japan, Finland, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela, etc. More information at: http://yfuusa.org/american-students/scholarships.php#
The CIEE Leadership Academy program offers scholarships to study abroad for a month in the summer and do community service projects in one of the following locations: China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Japan, Jordan, Senegal, or Spain. More information at: http://www.ciee.org/high-school-summer-abroad/
In the summer of 2013, I went to Nanjing, China with the CIEE Leadership Academy. It was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life. I stayed with a host family, learned more about the Chinese culture and way of life, taught English to elementary school students at a local school, and made friends of a lifetime. If you want to read more of what I actually did during the 4 months, you can read about it here: https://christinathepolyglot.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/ciee-leadership-academy-in-china/
The AFS (American Field Service) organization also offers some partial and full scholarships. These scholarships include the BP Global Citizens of Tomorrow scholarship for students who want to study abroad in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, or South Africa; the Cultural Explorer Merit scholarship for students who want to study abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, or Thailand; Japan scholarships; and several other scholarships by state. One state scholarship I would like to talk about is the Speedwell scholarship. The Speedwell scholarship offers 30 full scholarships to students from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am personally thankful for this scholarship and for the donors, because without this scholarship I wouldn’t have been able to go to Germany and fulfill my dream.
If you’re even considering about studying abroad, please apply for these scholarships. It is a lot of hard-work and effort, writing dozens of essays, getting teacher recommendations, going through interviews, and the roller coaster emotions. But trust me, in the end it is definitely worth it.