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How to Find Study Abroad Scholarships

by College Life
Updated on July 20, 2023

You know how it goes - you make a life-changing decision feeling an uncontrollable excitement in your body when suddenly it's overshadowed by crippling worries. That's how it may feel when you decide to study abroad. It can be the stress of moving to a totally new environment or being far away from your family. And then there's the finances. While there are many reasons why you should study abroad, the financial side might make you think twice. That's where the necessity of study abroad scholarships come in. Financial help can take a load off your mind, but before breathing a sigh of relief, you need to find the best scholarship. Several study abroad scholarships are available with various eligibility requirements that could feel overwhelming. 

Which ones are the right ones for you? How do you start the research? Where and how do you even look for it? This article will guide you step-by-step through a simple method to help you find the study abroad scholarship best suited for you.

Types of Study Abroad Scholarships

The types of scholarships are manifold. Below, we have grouped the main options you'll come across with:

  1. Merit-based scholarships: Scholarships awarded based on your achievements, like your GPA, extracurricular activities, or other academic achievements.
  2. Subject-specific scholarships: Scholarships awarded to students who opt for specific fields and careers. Some examples are the sciences, arts, sports, and many more industries you would like to tackle.
  3. Country- or region-specific scholarships: Scholarships awarded based on the country or the region of origin as well as the place of destination. You will find scholarships based on your nationality; you can also come across scholarships intended for the country or area you are interested in to move for your studies.
  4. Demographic-specific scholarships: Scholarships awarded based on your demographic characteristics, such as race, sex, gender, or income. 

How to Find Study Abroad Scholarships 

Finding the most appropriate scholarship from this pool of options is possible! Even more, you might be able to find more than one scholarship that suits you based on the Pros-and-Pros Method. This method will help you visualise clearly and employ all the pros and pros that make you eligible for a scholarship. 

Here's how it works:

Step 1: Identify all possible factors for scholarship eligibility

Based on the types of scholarships outlined above, jot down information about yourself. It may look like brainstorming, as this step does not require organising your thoughts. Think about your nationality, countries/regions that interest you as a destination, your field of study, talents, GPA, extracurriculars, knowledge of languages… Be as detailed as possible. You could always cross out the ones you deem irrelevant later in the process. Revisit your CVs and motivation letters to remind yourself of all the accomplishments and skills you may have forgotten to include.

Caution: Maybe it will start feeling like a self-reflection session, but don't get carried away - your goal is to find a scholarship, not to journal!

Step 2: Organise these factors into two columns

Know how people always advise against the phrase "putting ourselves in a box"? Yet, this step does require putting parts of yourself in boxes. Specifically, you will organise all the possible factors you have noted into two columns. One column is for your "merits" and interests - here is where you write down your excellence, talents, skills, and fields of study. The second column is all about your background - here is where your origins, destination, and demographics go. 

Step 3: Mix and match in the search engine

Now that you've created an organised visualisation of all the factors that can make you eligible for a scholarship, it's time to get your hands dirty - start researching. This step is about using the Google search engine. Match each factor from the first column to each one from the second column. Mix and match different merits and backgrounds until you have a few options to explore in depth. The search formula should look like this: "Scholarships for" +[Insert "Background"] + [Insert "Merit"]. Some examples are scholarships for women in STEM, scholarships for LGBTQ athletes, scholarships for students pursuing photography in Europe, and so on. These specifications will help you find niche awards with less competition while providing broader opportunities. 

Step 4: Double-check eligibility and requirements

Once you find some matches, start checking all the criteria and deadlines. Eliminate the ones that you're not eligible for or the ones for which the deadline has passed. You must begin applying for scholarships as early as possible, as you don't want to miss out on the opportunity merely because of snoozing for too long.

Bonus tips

Besides the Pros-and-Pros Method, make use of different scholarship search engines and databases beyond Google: 

& many more. You can apply the method on these search engines too, and utilise their filters based on the factors you have put down.

Finally, it will help if you talk to study abroad advisors, professional organisations, and associations. Maybe your school has this possibility or check for other options nearby. Counselling can help you get oriented and find the appropriate sources.  


Study abroad scholarships can benefit you greatly in managing the expenses incurred in moving overseas. While the research can be overwhelming, the Pros-and-Pros Method can help to organise and visualise all the factors that make you an eligible candidate. By mixing and matching your "pros and pros", you'll be able to come across the best scholarship and enjoy your study abroad experience with one less thing to worry about.

Try our method and let us know how it goes in the comments! 

2 comments on “How to Find Study Abroad Scholarships”

    1. Hi Rediet, thank you for your comment! If you have any questions or need more guidance, feel free to reach out to us through the chat! 🙌

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