An Alternative College Experience

When my cousin was applying for colleges recently I was amazed by the range of options out there, both financially and culturally.

Did you know that there are organisations that will actually fund you to do part or all of your studies abroad?

I got bit by the travel bug later in life and now am trying to visit as many countries as I can but it is not cheap.

I can only imagine how much fun I would have had if I had been able to do at least part of that while in college!

There are scholarships that will cover study in South America, Europe, Asia and even Africa.

Some cover first degrees and others require that you already have a first degree. Honestly, I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw all this information. Just in case you are curious, here is a sample of some of the options that took my fancy:

The Fulbright Program

This is probably the largest exchange program out there. With ties to 155 different countries, the opportunities are almost endless.

It basically offers over 8,000 grants in various disciplines annually to US citizens to go abroad to teach, study or conduct research and for non-US citizens to come to the US to do the same.

It’s been around since 1946 and around 300,000 people have participated to date.

International Student Loans

This program offers assistance to US and Canadian undergraduate citizens wishing to study abroad. It is called a Study Abroad loan and is only offered to students attending any one of the schools on their eligible school list.

The study abroad program must be sponsored by the institution which you are attending.

NSEP David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships

This program provides funding for both undergraduate and graduate students who are US citizens, allowing them to study in areas of the world that have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad programs.

Options include Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Eurasia, and the Middle East.

Undergraduate students are awarded a maximum of $20,000 and graduate students $30,000.

In exchange for funding, recipients of the awards undertake to work in the federal government for at least one year in a position with national security responsibilities.

There are so many options to be aware of and take advantage of that I am seriously considering going back to school just to try my luck! That said, I am probably age barred for a lot of these. For those of you who are not, however, think about the wealth of exposure and confidence you gain from undertaking something like this.

The sense of accomplishment when you receive that scholarship and the priceless knowledge you gain from immersing yourself wholly in another culture make this alternative college experience well worth looking into.

Scholarships are a great way to keep down the cost of education, while getting some unique alternative study options. There are so many options now available that research is the key to getting the experience you want. Read more about your educational options, and the degrees that will lead you to a bigger pay check.