Funding Your International Studies: Finding Study Abroad Scholarships | Top Universities

Funding Your International Studies: Finding Study Abroad Scholarships

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 6, 2016 Updated March 6, 2016

If you’re struggling to imagine how you on earth you’re going to pay for your overseas studies, study abroad scholarships could provide the solution.

There are study abroad scholarships for students from particular backgrounds or nationalities, for those studying in specific fields or aiming at certain careers, and for international students as a group in their own right.

Often study abroad scholarships are combined with assessments based on merit (past academic achievements) and/or means (how much you and your parents can afford to pay).

Examples of study abroad scholarships:

1. UK 9/11 Scholarships Fund

This fund was established jointly by the World Trade Center Disaster Fund and the British Council. It provides scholarships for study in the UK, for children (or other dependants) of people who were victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, or other subsequent terrorist attacks.

Learn more about the UK 9/11 scholarships fund >

2. Pilot International Foundation Scholarships

Volunteer service organization Pilot International offers study abroad scholarships for undergraduate students preparing for a career that will help people with brain-related disorders or disabilities. Applicants must be sponsored by a regional Pilot Club either in their local area, or in the city in which they are applying to study.

Find out more about Pilot International Foundation Scholarships >

3. Chinese Government Scholarships for International Students

China’s Ministry of Education offers study abroad scholarships to international students, of any nationality (except Chinese, obviously!), to study in China. The main requirement is being able to communicate and study in Chinese.

Find out more about Chinese Government Scholarships for International Students >

4. Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund

These scholarships are available for undergraduate or graduate students of Greek descent, aged 17 to 25, who are enrolled to study at a university in the US.

Learn more about the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund >

5. Australian Development Scholarships

The Australian government’s AusAID program awards study abroad scholarships for students from developing countries to complete undergraduate or graduate study at a participating Australian university. This usually covers full tuition fees, travel, health insurance and living expenses, as well as additional support for language, academic skills and adjusting to life in Australia.

Learn more about Australian Development Scholarships >

These are just a few examples; there are hundreds, if not thousands of scholarships out there – and many are even more specifically targeted than these.

So… how can you get study abroad scholarships?

Step one: Research, research, research

The first step is to put in lots of research, and make a shortlist of niche scholarships you could apply to.

Resources for this stage include:

• school careers advisers
• university scholarships offices
• university subject departments
• university international student support staff
• national and international organizations (including government agencies, private institutions and non-profit bodies)
• social media – ask around on Twitter!
• internet searches – ask Google!

Step two: Be flexible, but focused

You need to maintain a fine balance between staying open-minded, and staying on track.

For example, don’t convince yourself to apply for something just because you think you stand a good chance of getting the scholarship – if it’s not for a subject you really love, it won’t be worth it in the long run.

But on the other hand, don’t limit your options too much. If you’re looking for a scholarship to study one particular subject at one particular university, your search is unlikely to bear fruit!

Instead, widen your search to include similar courses, similar universities, and even similar countries. There may not be a perfect scholarship for you at a university in the US, but how about in Canada? Or, if you can’t find funding for a marine biology course, how about searching for earth and ocean sciences instead?

Flexibility could also mean being prepared to wait. Taking a gap year could pay off if it means you have time to put in the research, compile your applications, and even support your bid by gaining some relevant work experience.

The main point is, there are lots of options – take your time and consider as many as you can. Good luck!

This article was originally published in May 2012 . It was last updated in March 2016

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Written by

The former editor of, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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