Do you dream of wandering the globe and experiencing new cultures and people? Well pack your bags because this article will show you how to get funding to study abroad.
Studying abroad may sound like a very difficult, complicated and expensive option. But what if I told you that you can study abroad, without paying for anything? Many students don’t know that you can apply to many different scholarships and funding opportunities which allow you to study in a different country. You can even choose which country you would prefer!
Studying abroad allows you the opportunity to travel and see the world but also complete your studies. It broadens your horizons and allows you to make friends from all over the world while also enriching your mind academically.
Scholarships, Bursaries and Grants to study Abroad
What kind of funding options are available and what are the criteria if you are applying towards a scholarship to study abroad?
There are different kinds of scholarships and it’s helpful to know what category the scholarship/funding falls into before you apply:
A student specific scholarship or funding opportunity will be based on factors such as gender, race, religion and family – for example. These scholarships will often be offered to minority groups or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s important to consider the scholarship’s rules and regulations to be sure that you qualify for a scholarship in this category.
These scholarships are usually awarded by a country’s government to students planning to pursue a study abroad program in that particular country. These kinds of scholarships are meant to encourage a student to study in that country rather than somewhere else. Check with government-sponsored travel websites of the country where you wish to study to see what scholarships are available.
Program-specific scholarships are offered by individual study abroad programs. These scholarships are often given on the basis of academic and personal achievement, but qualifications will vary based on the particular scholarship. Check with your study abroad program and university to see what scholarships are available.
Subject-specific scholarships are awarded by study abroad programs or institutions to students based on their particular major or field of study. These scholarships may require the recipients to enroll in subject-specific courses while abroad or conduct subject-specific research. It’s important to note that qualifications will vary based on each scholarship.
Many of these scholarships will have the following minimum requirements:
- You will need a South African passport (which costs R400 from your local Department of Home Affairs).
- You will usually be asked to submit scanned copies of your birth certificate or ID Book/Card, your latest academic transcripts and an ID-sized photo.
- A scholarship program will most likely ask you to gather references. Ask a lecturer or professor who knows you well to write you a (hopefully beaming) reference letter!
- If you apply toward a scholarship programme you should be between the ages of 19 and 25.
- Make sure that you have exceptional academic records. This is an extremely important calling card as to why you deserve the funding in order to study abroad.
If you think you may qualify for a scholarship to study abroad, then check out these awesome websites to find the right scholarships for you:
What if you have applied for scholarships and University funding, but you don’t qualify for any scholarships or bursaries? Don’t lose hope yet! Did you know that there are several countries where you can study for free (or at a very small cost)? It’s true! These are some of the places where you can study for free:
Public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees to undergraduate students. The best news? This applies to both German students, as well as international students (that’s you!) regardless of your nationality. These universities do, however, charge a small university fee in order to fund their administration costs (about 150-260 USD). It’s also important to be aware that many of the courses that are free would be taught in the local language (this means you would need to speak German). Obviously this means you would need to pay for your own living costs, accommodation, visa’s and travel costs, but you would be paying very little for tuition. For more information on how to study in Germany for free, click here.
Like Germany, France offers free (or very low cost) tuition to both national and international students. The fees at public universities in France are often a fraction of the cost you would pay in South Africa (about 195USD per year). Again, you would be responsible for your own living and travel costs. Many of the courses will be taught in the native language (so brush up on your French!).
For more information about studying in France, click here.
In Norway, undergraduates and postgraduates can study for free regardless of your nationality. The catch is that international students are expected to prove their proficiency in Norwegian before they will be accepted to study. However, this is only for undergraduate students. Masters and PhD programs are predominantly taught in English and are free! Living and travel costs will be up to you though and it’s important to realise that living costs across Northern Europe are among the highest in the world.
To find out more about studying for free in Norway, click here.
Time to Pack Your Bags – But First…
While many countries listed above charge no tuition fees (or minimal fees compared to South African fees) it’s important to consider the costs involved with studying abroad (even if you are studying for free).
It is vitally important to consider all aspects of your decision to study at a foreign university, even if the tuition is free!
Studying abroad is an exciting prospect for any student who is keen to explore the world and experience different places and people. It’s definitely possible for South African students to study in another country. Consider asking your university’s international office about what options may be available for funding you to do an exchange in another country for a semester. Scholarships are the most sought after means of studying abroad, because most bursary programs include full study fees and living costs. This is why it’s not impossible to make a life changing move to another country to study.
Pack your bags and get on an airplane – the world awaits!