17 Amazing Study Abroad Scholarships & Funded Programs for High School Students (Updated: 2022)

by Gabby Beckford
Reading Time: 6 minutes

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
  • Anthropology/Archeology
  • Plants and Molds
  • Animals

A list of scholarships, grants, exchange programs, and travel funding for your middle school and high school kids in grades K-12!

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:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Hindi, Korean
  • Persian (Tajik)
  • Russian
  • Turkish

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!


A list of scholarships, grants, exchange programs, and travel funding for your middle school and high school kids in grades K-12!
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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:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan


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Gabby Beckford

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27 comments

Descil Bondi October 11, 2022 - 6:07 PM

Sponsorship programs can help to develop an individual both socially and mentally.

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Gabby Beckford October 12, 2022 - 7:59 AM

Completely agree!

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Nowel September 8, 2022 - 6:03 AM

I think it is good for the young’s because many parents might not be able to afford these types of things .

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Gabby Beckford September 9, 2022 - 8:35 AM

Absolutely right, Nowel! These opportunities help make travel and education more accessible for the next generation!

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Esty September 4, 2022 - 4:14 AM

Thanks a lot Gabby

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Gabby Beckford September 4, 2022 - 10:09 AM

Of course! I’m happy to help!

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Jesse July 11, 2022 - 1:18 PM

I would love to try this opportunity…. Am eager to here the reply back from you guys…. Grant me with the chance.. Please!!!

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Beyanwu Ocibeo Williams March 31, 2022 - 5:00 PM

This opportunity seems great . This will help young people like me to never give up on their dreams.

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Daniella November 14, 2021 - 8:27 PM

Im very happy to grant this opportunity

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Gabby Beckford November 17, 2021 - 9:20 AM

Best of luck! 🙂

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MAHIMA October 24, 2021 - 11:08 PM

Hello, I just read your article that looks very usefull. I am a student of class 8. In March 2022 I will promote to class 9. I want scholarship in Seoul, South Korea. Pls guid me.

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Gabby Beckford October 25, 2021 - 11:40 AM

Hi Mahima! Packs Light is an American company that specializes in assisting American students according to our government and education system. To learn how to apply our methodologies to your country and personal situation, we have a mini-course on finding opportunities that you can find in our shop! Thank you for reading!

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Acan Dorine Jasmaine September 9, 2021 - 2:51 PM

Hi my name is dorine.i am 14 years old in the 12th grade and I was wondering if there are any scholarship or Grant I could apply for.

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Gabby Beckford September 10, 2021 - 12:59 AM

Hi Dorine! You’re in the right place, as you can apply to most of these in this post 🙂

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Nkonge chrispus cyrus September 8, 2021 - 4:42 PM

I apply for a 13 years old scholorship in USA

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Gabby Beckford September 10, 2021 - 1:00 AM

This is the best place to start!

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Kendal Karstens February 28, 2021 - 11:03 AM

I did the Rotary exchange to Germany in 2013-2014….best experience of my life! I 100% would not have had the life, experiences, travels, and opportunities I’ve had if it weren’t for Rotary….it changed my life! Love the program too….they really look out for their young students and it’s a widely respected nonprofit.

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Gabby Beckford February 28, 2021 - 12:05 PM

I had no clue Kendal! I see Rotary everywhere, it’s so nice to hear you enjoy them as an organization!

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Brian Ayiga July 30, 2021 - 1:33 PM

I would like to apply for one your scholarships! I am 17!

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Dian Rachmawati November 26, 2019 - 4:33 PM

Thank you, Gabby. It’s so helpful.

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Gabby Beckford November 26, 2019 - 4:37 PM

Of course Dee, good luck! 🙂

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Dee November 25, 2019 - 5:18 AM

Am from Indonesia. My daughter is in Grade 8 (14 yo). Is there any grants/fully funded fellowships or student exchange programs that she could apply for 2020?

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Gabby Beckford November 25, 2019 - 7:07 PM

Hi Dee! Sadly, I can’t make lists for every person, of every citizenship. However, I do offer hourly consulting services where I can block off time to look for opportunities with you! You can reserve my time here: packslight.com/BookMe.

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Tammy Bagby-Sue June 10, 2019 - 6:17 PM

My daughter is in grade 10 and will be traveling to France on an exchange next year, I was wondering if there are any scholarships or grants that she could apply for. It seems like the above mentioned are for those that have not registered with a student exchange program yet. I am in desperate need f some aid, and haven’t been successful in finding any help yet.

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Gabby June 14, 2019 - 11:57 AM

Hi Tammy,

You’re right, these scholarships are for their respective scholarship programs. I would check if her program or abroad school has any scholarship/grant opportunities.

The Allianz ScholarTrips scholarship may be a good option for her.

Scholarships are most successful when secured before a study abroad program has been secured. In your daughter’s case, it may be too late to secure a traditional scholarship, and you may have more luck surveying local businesses or reaching out to large companies and asking if they would be willing to sponsor her.

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Dian Rachmawati November 26, 2019 - 4:32 PM

Thank you, Gabby.

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Caroline November 20, 2016 - 10:32 AM

These all sound like fantastic opportunities to get the young ones out and about experiencing different cultures while being educational! (not that travel in itself isn’t educational)

I love the idea of the language immersion scholarship (#7) – would be really interesting learning another language different to what’s offered in high school and what’s a better way than a semester abroad to fully immerse yourself in the culture whilst learning the language, right?

There’s heap more scholarships available than I thought there was… wish I knew about this before. Great post, Gabby!

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