If you’re currently a college or university student, you have a lot of opportunities open to you throughout your educational career. Studying abroad can be one of the most eye-opening and educational experiences of your lifetime. You’ll get the opportunity to not only learn and speak another language but also to live in an entirely different culture from your own. You’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew and that can help you in your future.

Unfortunately, a lot of students today are foregoing the opportunity to study abroad because they feel that college is already too expensive. They know that they’re already looking forward to several thousand dollars of debt when they graduate, and they don’t want to add any more to that sum. If that sounds familiar, we have some good news for you.

Did you know that there are scholarships for study abroad programs available through your school, the government, and private organizations and corporations? You don’t have to increase your debts to get one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime. Let’s take a look at some of the many ways you can find scholarships for study abroad programs that you qualify for.

Through Your School

Where would you like to travel? What programs are available to you? Talk to your academic advisor about the programs available for your major and what kinds of funding opportunities are available for them. If your school has a languages department, you may also want to talk with someone there, as well. For example, you may be able to apply for scholarships for study abroad programs in France through your school’s French language department.

After you speak with your academic advisor, you should also meet with someone in your school’s financial aid office. They will have knowledge of and access to resources available for scholarships for study abroad programs that your advisors and professors may not know about.

Through Your Job or Your Parents’ Jobs

You may also have success finding funding by seeking out funding assistance through your job or your parents’ jobs. Visit their company websites to find out if there are any established scholarships for study abroad programs. If there are, go ahead and find out about the application process. If there aren’t, reach out to the human resources department, your supervisor, and/or your parents’ supervisors. Emphasize the value that they can get by giving you this opportunity to grow as a student, and you may be surprised at the response.

Search Online for Scholarships for Study Abroad Programs

When you talk with someone at your school’s financial aid office, they’ll be able to tell you about available government grants that allow students who demonstrate sufficient financial need to travel abroad for a semester. In addition to these, though, there are numerous funding opportunities available to you when you search online.

NAFSA (National Association for Foreign Student Advisors) is dedicated to creating a better global community for the future by providing students with opportunities to study abroad. They specifically recommend searching these scholarship databases for scholarships for study abroad programs:

IIEPasport Study Abroad Funding is specifically dedicated to finding funding opportunities for students who want to study abroad, making it a perfect tool for your needs. ScholarshipChart.com are all general online databases for scholarship searches. To find scholarships for study abroad programs on any of them, you’ll just have to perform some easy, relevant keyword searches, such as “study abroad France.”

Get the Process Started Early

Once you’ve found a few opportunities to apply for scholarships for study abroad programs, it’s time to get moving on the application process. You’ll want to first double-check all application deadlines. If a deadline has passed, discard this scholarship. Likewise, if a scholarship doesn’t apply to your program or if you do not meet one or more of the requirements for eligibility, do not waste your time.

With that said, the sooner you get started, the more likely you’ll be to fund your study abroad program. Start by getting your calendar out and writing down all of your deadlines. Then, dedicate a binder to all of your scholarship application materials and make a separate section for each scholarship.

Some scholarships and grants will only need you to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which you do to renew your federal student aid each year anyway. Most scholarships for study abroad programs will require you to write an essay or personal statement showing them why you should be chosen for funding.

This is your opportunity to shine and to really show them who you are and why you should go abroad. So don’t put it off until the last minute. Create a schedule for yourself to gather all of the information and documents and to fill out all necessary applications and paperwork for each scholarship application. For that schedule, prioritize your essay and any required letters of recommendation. This will give you and your advisors, mentors, and/or professors the time necessary to craft compelling pieces of writing that will be more likely to grab attention and get you your scholarship.

Be sure, once you’ve written a draft or two of your essay, to get help with proofreading and editing. And proofread every document you fill out for your application, as well. An unfortunate typo or grammatical mistake could cost you a semester in France or Japan.

Finally, remember, if you start applying for scholarships and grants early in your college career, you’ll have more opportunities to get scholarships for study abroad programs than if you wait till your last year of school to finally apply. Take advantage of the time you have in school to apply for as many scholarships as you can. You might be surprised at the funding you can get and the experiences you’ll have.

Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com

ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.