Affording your Study Abroad: Scholarships and Aid

By Gina AU, Intern, Cal Poly
Study Abroad: London

If you are one of the lucky students planning to studying abroad, you will realize that it is one of the most (if not the most) rewarding experiences you can have during college. Studying abroad is fun and exciting, but it comes with quite an expensive price tag.

As a current study abroad student, I am speaking from personal experience and on behalf of every person I know who has done the same: it is not cheap. From tuition, to living expenses, to funding those weekend trips, you watch your account balance drop day after day (depressing, I know).

After talking to several friends, I noticed there were similar external resources we used: Scholarships and Financial Aid.


First, focus on:

  1. Submission Deadlines
  2. Requirements

Don't waste your time if you don’t meet these!

Now, what does the application entail and is it worth your time and effort? If the scholarship is $100 but requires an interview, letter of recommendation, video submission, and a 2000-word essay, is it really worth your time? Researching for scholarships is going to take a lot of patience and organization skills, but your bank will thank you later.

Types of scholarships to look for:

  • Online
  • Home and Host University
  • College specific (e.g. Business, Engineering, etc.)
  • Program specific
  • Destination specific

Online Scholarships There are many scholarships on the internet encouraging students to study abroad. Many organizations know the financial burden on international studies, and genuinely want to help.

Available now:

WSA Europe Cultural Bridge Scholarship Deadline: December 15, 2016
As well as budget-friendly student tours, WSA offers an academic scholarship to assist your costs of study abroad. Applications for Spring 2017 is still open!

Go Overseas Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship Deadline: December 2, 2016
Go Overseas offers a scholarship to those who are studying, interning, or volunteering abroad. The application is still open!

Benjamin A. Gillman International Scholarship Program Deadline: March 7, 2017
The application for students studying abroad in Spring 2017 has closed. The application for Summer/Fall 2017 students will open mid-January.


Both universities should offer some sort of scholarship for international students. Browse through your study abroad website. If there are no available scholarships online, make an appointment with your study abroad advisor. Connect with your program advisor or host university to find scholarships you qualify for.

College specific As a Business major, I noticed my college values international exposure and wanted to provide opportunities for students to gain understanding of different cultures and work ethics in the field. A Travel Grant based on financial need is awarded to every student who applies. Ask your college advisors about scholarships similar to these.

Program specific Find scholarships your specific study abroad program may offer. I am studying with USAC and they offer multiple scholarships to first generation students, legacy students, etc.

Destination specific I was able to find a few scholarships offered to students studying in the UK, which was perfect since I'm currently studying in England. There are many offered specifically for your country choice. Below is a link providing a few location-based scholarships.  More info here


This is one of the main reasons why studying abroad is  affordable to many students. The financial aid you receive at your home university might be transferrable to your host university. For example, my program did not accept my California grants but accepted my federal ones. I advise you to discuss with your study abroad advisor which programs accept which grants. I would then make a trip down to the financial aid office to confirm.

I hope you now have a better understanding of how to finance your trip abroad. Studying abroad is expensive; however, with the right amount of preparation, research, and dedication, it is possible and will be worth all your hard work. Believe me.

Want to save money when booking? Use discount code: AU for €10 off any WSA group tour!


Mallory Dirks, Simpson College

Happy Backpackers

I chose to do this rather than book my own trip in Rome - I wanted to experience one organized/sight-seeing trip rather than a relaxing vacation like many of my others had been. Two friends and I signed up for WSA Rome and don't regret a thing. We met wonderful people, were led by an awesome tour guide Rhianne, and got to see everything I wanted to see in Rome. Plus eat all the best food. There is an optional dinner on the last night that we didn't do right away, but we ended up going to it, and it was SO worth the 20 euro. I made memories and friends, and got to see a beautiful, historic city thanks to WSA!!

Mallory Dirks, Simpson College ~ University of Roehampton, London, Fall 2015

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