For the majority of students I have spoken with wishing to participate in a study abroad program, funding is a major barrier. Many students pass up the opportunity of their dreams because they are already swimming in student loans and cannot think of adding to this burden. Beyond dipping into your savings, adding to your debt load, or working yourself to the bone, there are a number of ways to acquire the funds you need.
From scholarships, to bursaries, and various forms of fundraising you may be able to fund your entire trip without spending a dime. Most students are aware that scholarships and bursaries exist, but did you know that not all scholarships and bursaries require top grades? Some are indeed merit based, while others are specific to your program, your travel destination or your personal situation.
Another common downfall is neglecting to apply. Each year a number of scholarships and bursaries go unawarded because students fail apply. It is worth taking the time to research available opportunities and application requirements in advance of the deadline. It may also be beneficial to draft any essays or written requirements for scholarships in advance of the deadline when you have more time in your schedule to avoid missing the opportunity.
Additionally, volunteer work is a great way to enhance your eligibility. Fundraising is another great option. You could meet with local organizations who may have an interest in your study abroad situation, such as rotary, employers, churches or newspapers. You could host a fundraising party or start a GoFundMe campaign. You may even find success holding a bake sale or bottle drive. These are a few excellent ways to obtain the funding you need for your trip and they are available to anyone bold enough to put themselves out there and put in the effort.
Good luck and bon-voyage!
By: Kyla Oshanek, a member of BCSA Writers in Residence team and a former Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship winner. Kyla majors in Dental Hygiene at Camosun College.