Are their study abroad scholarships for high school students? How do you study abroad in high school for free? What are some cheap study abroad programs for high school students? Are their scholarships for high school trips?
The following are study abroad scholarships, grants for travel, or fully-funded travel opportunities for teens, middle school, and high school students. It's a common idea that you must be in college to travel as a student… Packs Light‘s mission is to expose the surprising range of opportunities available to young travelers that are partially or completely funded!
Many don't know that you can be as young as 13-years-old and study abroad (for free!).
Do you have nervous parents you need to convince to let you study abroad? Show them this:
Growing up in a family that was constantly moving and traveling, I can personally speak for the benefits travel has on a young person. Encouraging your kid to learn about people who look, speak, and live differently than they do can have a hugely beneficial effect on their worldview.
Some of these scholarships involve learning a foreign language—a skill that will not only serve them in whatever career they choose but benefit their personal life and cognitive skills. Some offer student travel programs and some are funded by world-renowned organizations such as National Geographic, the Rotary Club, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
These experiences will be much more meaningful, impactful, and useful travel experiences for your teen than just a Spring Break trip or vacation.
High School Study Abroad Scholarships
1. Road Scholarship for Youth
Who: U.S. middle school students, high school students, and college students, younger than age 25
The Road Scholarship awards funds to youth who are unable to afford the cost of student group trips. It gives financial aid to any eligible student or young person for education or performance-related travel with their class or youth group.
Whether you can be under 18-years-old, or age 18-25 (so send this to your older college sibling too!)
2. EF Explore America Explorer Scholarship
Who: U.S. students enrolled in an Explore America program (all ages)
With the Explore Scholarship, a total of $50,000 is given away annually through need-based scholarships or students signed up for Education First exploration trips. The trips will allow young students to explore North America with their travel group.
All it requires is an essay, and for parents/guardians to complete the application form!
3. Travel is Education Scholarship Contest
Who: U.S. middle school and high students grades 6 -12, and teachers
Calling all artistic travel kids. The American Council for International Studies (ACIS) presents this scholarship for students grades 6-12 who have signed up to travel on an ACIS tour. Award sizes range, up to $1000.
What is this scholarship? The ACIS scholarship page says the following:
The Travel is Education Scholarship competition offers both teachers and students the chance to be rewarded for their creative expression and interest in the world. ACIS Travel Scholarships will be awarded in three categories: artwork, photography, and writing.
💡 The Travel is Education Scholarship competition offers both teachers and students the chance to be rewarded for their creative expression and interest in the world. ACIS Travel Scholarships will be awarded in three categories: artwork, photography, and writing.
So get your creative hats on, and win a fully-funded trip with ACIS.
4. Ripley Hunter “World Is a Classroom” Scholarship
Who: U.S. middle school high school students in 9th to 12th grade
The World is a Classroom Essay contest was established to provide middle school and high school students the opportunity to share their personal stories of how travel has impacted their lives.
Students who write an essay describing what they learned and how they were impacted by travel could earn a scholarship of up to $1,500.00 USD! The other top four essay entries will also receive a cash scholarship of $1,000.00 USD! The SYTA Youth Foundation offers scholarships to students who use their creativity to compose an article or speech that illustrates a student travel experience.
5. The Explorers Club: Rising Explorers Grant
Who: high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and immediate post-doctoral college students
The Club offers the Rising Explorer Grant to High School Students and College Undergraduates as a way to help get their expedition science career off the ground, and out into the field:
The average award size is around $1500, and the scholarship website states that generally, The Explorers Club considers research proposals in a wide array of disciplines, including:
- Climate Change, Geoscience, Paleoclimate (i.e. Early Earth, Tectonics, Volcanism, Paleontology, Glaciology, Geophysics, Astronomy)
- Marine Science, Marine Biology, Marine Life, Fish, Coral, Ocean, Fresh Water, Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries
- Plants and Molds
6. GreenHeart Travel First Time Traveler Scholarship
Who: U.S. high school students, university students, or adults
Greenheart Travel Scholarships are committed to connecting people and planet to create a more peaceful and sustainable global community. They offer group travel programs for all ages, including high school students, and offer partial scholarships for program applicants.
7. STARTALK Study Abroad Scholarship
Who: U.S. students grades 1 – 12
STARTALK grants fund several types of innovative programs that create strong language learning outcomes for K-12 students, provide in-depth, quality teacher development, and develop support materials and resources for educators in order to meet the goals for critical needs languages in the United States. Those goals include increasing the number of students enrolled in critical language studies, increasing the number of highly effective critical language teachers in the U.S., and increasing the availability of quality teaching and learning materials.
STARTALK grants currently support programs offered in the following critical need languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian.
8. NSLY-I Scholarship
Who: U.S. high school students
High school Spanish probably won't stick… you should learn a useful language while immersed in a foreign culture!
U.S. students ages 15-18 can apply for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship (NSLI-Y) which will grant them one summer or one academic year abroad to learn a language the government deems “high-need”, usually being:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Hindi, Korean
- Persian (Tajik)
The version of this scholarship for college students, the Boren Scholarship, is the same one I won to study Arabic in Dubai, UAE for a year. I highly recommend this program and vouch for the experience!
Need professional help putting together a resume, cover letter, or Letter of Recommendation that will actually help you win that study abroad scholarship?
The Application Tool-Kit gives you the templates and makes putting together application documents so you can get that “Congratulations! You've been chosen!” email you're dreaming of!
9. Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship
Who: U.S. high school students, ages 15 to 19
This is not so much a scholarship as it is an exchange program with financial aid.
The National Rotary Club funds students who are 15 to 19-years-old to study abroad for anywhere from a few weeks to a full year.
Generally, students still must pay for round-trip airfare, travel health insurance, necessary travel documents (such as passports and visas), spending money, additional travel, and tour fees. However, the Rotary Club organizes a host family for each student and also supplies a monthly stipend.
10. CBYX Scholarship
Who: U.S. high school students, ages 15 to 18.5
The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX ) strengthens U.S.-German relations by forging lasting ties of deeper understanding. The CBYX award provides merit-based scholarships to high school students, recent vocational graduates, and young professionals for an academic year of study in Germany.
250 scholarships are available annually for the winning! If you're 15 to 18.5-years-old.
11. YES Abroad Program (U.S. Students)
Who: U.S. high school students, age 15 to 18.5
Similar to the CBYX, the YES Abroad program awards academic scholarships for high school students to develop a perspective of a Muslim culture first-hand. Students spend an academic year attending a high school while living with a host family in select countries with significant Muslim populations! Sounds similar to my experience with the Boren Scholarship in Dubai, UAE!
12. ANDEO Summer Abroad Scholarship
Who: U.S. high school students
ANDEO International Homestays are committed to equity and would like to enable students who are dedicated to language study and cultural exchange to be able to live with a family abroad.
High school students have an opportunity to study in Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, and Japan.
Just a reminder that most of these scholarships range from $100 to $1000, and are annual! So if you've missed the deadline to apply, don't fret. Set reminders on your calendar to remind yourself to apply to these 1-2 months prior to their due date next year.
13. AFSA Scholarship
Who: High school students that are dependents of Foreign Service officials
The American Foreign Service Scholarship is primarily for high school students that are dependents of Foreign Service officials. But if your parents are Foreign Service employees, they do have a merit-based option available too. You'll be successful in this scholarship if you have strong essay-writing skills.
14. FLEX Abroad Scholarship (U.S. students)
Who: U.S. high school students, ages 15 to 18.5
Launched in 1993 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the FLEX Abroad program strengthens ties between the peoples of the United States and Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia. More than 30,000 FLEX alumni from 24 countries across Europe and Eurasia are making a difference in our world. In 2022, the inaugural FLEX Abroad program will offer American high schoolers the chance to experience these amazing countries.
FLEX Abroad provides a unique fully-funded exchange experience for American high school students to live with a host family and attend a local school for an academic year in the countries of Georgia, Kazakhstan, or Poland!
15. GoOverseas Gap Year Scholarship
Who: U.S. citizens ages 14 to 25 (non-students, welcome!)
GoOverseas and the USA Gap Year Fair offer a $10,000 and $5,000 scholarship for young people (not necessarily students!) aged 14 to 25 to take a gap year with one of their 35+ associated programs. Virtual, domestic, international, internship, volunteer, adventure experience—the funding covers all types of gap years.
High School Study Abroad Scholarships for International Students
16. Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Program (International Students)
Who: International high school students, ages 15 to 18.5
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program seek to provide high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations with a better understanding of American society and its people, institutions, values, and culture.
Available for international high school students from:
17. FLEX Scholarship (International students)
Who: International high school students, age 15 to 18.5
The FLEX Program is a highly competitive, merit-based scholarship program funded by the U.S. Department of State for international students to spend one academic year in the Unites State while living with a volunteer host family and attending a U.S. high school.
While in the U.S., FLEX students gain leadership skills, learn about American society and values, and teach Americans about their home countries and cultures. FLEX students perform community service in their U.S. communities and act as ambassadors of their home countries. Many are inspired by this spirit of volunteerism to develop and implement innovative projects in their home countries, using the skills and ideas they gained while in the program. FLEX students are naturally curious and enthusiastic citizens of the world.
Students from the following countries can apply for this study abroad scholarship:
- Czech Republic
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