STUDYING abroad offers students a chance to broaden their horizons, immerse themselves in different cultures, gain invaluable life experiences, make international connections, and broaden their perspectives on the world. However, studying abroad can be expensive, and many students might be deterred by the high costs associated with it.
Scholarships can be a significant help for students seeking to pursue their studies abroad. Receiving a scholarship is a significant accomplishment and can demonstrate leadership potential, strong academic abilities, and a commitment to one’s field of study. So, scholarships can provide a valuable boost to students’ academic and personal growth and can help open doors to new opportunities and experiences.
In this fourth and final part of our series on studying abroad, we will discuss the ins and outs of scholarships and how to find and apply for them.
One of the primary reasons why students do not apply for scholarships is the lack of awareness about the various scholarship opportunities available. Scholarships are offered by universities, organizations, and governments worldwide. To find and apply for the right scholarships, it is essential to conduct thorough research and seek guidance from academic advisors or scholarship experts.
Applying for scholarships can be a tedious process that requires time and effort. Students must submit extensive documentation, write essays, and meet specific eligibility criteria to qualify for scholarships. An application that lacks attention to detail or poorly written essays can negatively impact a student’s chances of receiving a scholarship.
Scholarships have eligibility criteria that must be met, such as academic performance, citizenship, field of study, language proficiency, etc. It is crucial to verify if you meet the eligibility criteria before applying to save time and effort.
Scholarships are competitive, and there may be many applicants vying for a limited number of awards. Prestigious scholarships like Marie-Curie, Fulbright, Rhodes, Chevening, Commonwealth, DAAD, Irish Research Council, etc., are highly sought-after and can be particularly competitive.
The cost of studying abroad varies by country, program, and duration. In general, a two-year master’s program abroad can cost upwards of 20 lakh rupees or more. Germany has waived tuition fees for students, including international students. Although students may still need 1000 euros per month for living expenses in a European country, universities in Germany are generally public institutions, and students are only required to pay administrative fees, typically ranging from 100 – 350 EUR per semester.
There are two primary types of funding for scholarships: university scholarships and external fellowships/grants. Universities often have a link on their websites to funding sources. These scholarships are highly competitive, and students should look for other sources to diversify their options. The Department of Higher Education, Government of India, provides guidance on external scholarships, and the latest announcements of scholarships are available on its website. The British Council website is also a great resource for scholarship announcements. PhD studentships are available on job.ac.uk. Another excellent source is the ECPR Jobs Bulletin; you can sign up for its newsletter to receive latest PhD studentship postings. I found my first scholarship by signing up for scholarship-positions dot com. Choose wide range of these sources to find the scholarship that most suits your career plan.
Indian passport holders can apply for several excellent scholarships, including Chevening, Commonwealth, Fulbright-Nehru, DAAD, Endeavour, Erasmus Mundus, Gates Cambridge, Inlaks, Monbukagakusho (MEXT), and Irish Research Council. For the Fulbright scholarship, students must secure funding first and then gain admission.
The Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) is also an excellent option for Indian students. The CSC provides financial assistance to international students wishing to study in China. To apply for a CSC scholarship, students should first conduct an extensive search to find a program of study in English at a Chinese university. The CSC scholarship program is highly competitive and covers tuition fees, accommodation, and a monthly living allowance for the duration of the study program.
Finally, staying updated on scholarship opportunities is essential. Following funding organizations on social media platforms such as Twitter can provide valuable information and tips on how to effectively. I follow an academic on Twitter namely Mushtaq Bilal and for me a major take away from advises on scholarship from him is this: “you search for the target program/department and your search for the target scholarship should complement each other. You don’t want to select a program only to realize that your target scholarship will not fund your study.”
Muhammad Tahir is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at Dublin City University, Ireland.
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