Long Term Study Abroad

Funding Study Abroad

Several programs funded by the US government and private foundations support students in the pursuit of cultural immersion in Asia through study abroad. Some colleges and universities promote these scholarships on campus and provide advising through an honors program, study abroad office, career center, or national fellowships office, while others reach students through academic departments and faculty advising. Since these programs are competitive and the best outcomes depend on significant preparation, it is often helpful to advertise these opportunities and guide students to campus mentors early in their careers and far in advance of application due dates.

Many of these funding programs have US citizenship requirements and the selection criteria and areas served change from time to time. Students and advisors should review the program guidelines closely when beginning an application.

Scholarships for Undergraduate Study Abroad

Students with financial need (Pell-grant recipients) could consider applying for support via the Gilman Scholarship, which may partially defray the cost of summer, semester- or yearlong study in Asia. For those considering a career in public service related to national security, the Boren Scholarship provides for immersive language study for one or two semesters, or summer study for students in STEM fields. The Freeman-Asia program, funded by the Freeman Foundation, serves students with financial need interested in study in East Asia. The cost of study in Japan may be supported through the Japanese government sponsored MEXT program. 

In addition to these academic-year and summer study abroad options, the Critical Language Scholarship of the US Department of State offers structured, intensive group-based summer language learning and cultural exchange programs in several Asian locations, with a particular emphasis on supporting students who otherwise would not have an opportunity to advance their linguistic abilities and who represent the diversity of the United States.

Long-serving providers of study abroad experiences in Asia and funding for Asian study abroad

Postgraduate Study and Work Opportunities

Students may look to live abroad after undergraduate graduation, whether for study or employment, and several prestigious programs exist to support these aspirations. Among the most competitive academic scholarships are those to undertake graduate study in China (for example, through the Yenching Scholars or Schwarzman Scholars programs). Additionally, the Fulbright Program funds study and research opportunities in numerous Asian countries/territories.

In addition to employment teaching English through private educational companies, several Asian government supported programs provide opportunities for students to teach English, such as through Japan’s JET Program or Korea’s EPIK. These opportunities do not require fluency in Japanese or Korean language. (For students with a high level of Japanese ability, the JET program offers placements as Coordinators for International Relations within local government administration.) The charitable organization Chatteris in Hong Kong also supports English-language instruction by hiring recent college graduates. The Fulbright Program offers numerous English-teaching positions across Asia, where recipients serve in local schools for one or more academic years. Host-country/territory language ability is expected for some, but not most, Fulbright English-teaching placements in Asia.

Furthermore, students may also consider serving in the Peace Corps.

Help for Students and Advisors

Faculty members or staff who find themselves in positions to guide students through these applications may benefit from joining the community at National Association of Fellowship Advisors. Fellowship advising and administration may involve communication with multiple campus offices, such as financial aid, the registrar, study abroad staff, and academic departments or programs. 

In addition to resources provided on program websites, students may reach out to former fellowship recipients, and numerous online communities have formed to foster discussions about study, work, and teaching overseas. Several scholarship programs have designated “alumni ambassadors” who will engage prospective applicants and provide resources as possible. Examples include the Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors, Critical Language Scholarship Ambassadors, and Gilman Scholarship Ambassadors.