The following scholarships are either travel-related contests, study abroad scholarships, or grants for travel given to students from grades K-12. It’s a common idea that you must be a high school or college student to study abroad or travel as a student. One of the main objectives of my blog is expose the true range of opportunities available to young travelers, partially or completely funded!

Many don’t know that you can be as young as 13 years old and study abroad or officially travel as a student. This article contains reputable travel scholarship opportunities for those in K-12 to not only raise awareness of the opportunities for young people to see the world, but to provide them funding. Now there’s really no excuses not to!

Why Should I Let Child My Travel So Young?

Growing up in a family that was constantly moving and traveling, I can advocate for the benefits travel has on a young psyche. From a young age, encouraging your child to learn about people who look, speak, and know differently than them has a resounding effect on what they consider “normal” in their lives. I grew up knowing that the world was bigger than just my town or state and that was invaluable in my perception while growing up.

Some of the following scholarships have to do with 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 group travel programs, and some are funded by world-renowned organizations such as National Geographic, the Rotary Club, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

With so many opportunities for your child to travel, and without it making a huge whole in your budget, for me there’s no reason to not provide them these experiences!

1. Road Scholarship

Ever wanted to send your kid on a class trip but didn’t want to burn a hole in your wallet doing it? Not anymore! This scholarship is for those kids who for some reason can’t afford to go on school or extracurricular group trips!

Gives financial aid to any eligible student or young person for education or performance-related travel with their class or youth group.

Whether your child is any age under 18 years, or age 18-25 (so send this to your older college sibling too!)

2. Education First: Explorer Scholarship

A total $30,000 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. National Geographic Student Expedition Scholarships

For all of you adventurous, thrill seeking kids out there, check this out. Students in grades 6th-12th who study in the United States or Canada are eligible to win a fully funded summer of exploration.

This needs-based scholarship was given to 22 awardees last year, and allowed them to visit places like Iceland, Italy, and Tanzania.

Be sure to check out the awesome informational video below about this NatGeo scholarship.

4. The Explorers Club: Student Grants

This scholarship is available to high school, undergrad, graduate students, and immediate post-doctoral college students.

All you scientific students already working on or interested in pursuing field research, this is for you!

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

5. Ripley Hunter Scholarship

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 SYTA Youth Foundation offers scholarships to students (9-12th grade) who use their creativity to compose an article or speech that illustrates a student travel experience.

The 2019 Ripley Hunter “World is a Classroom” Essay Contest will open February 4, 2019 to April 30, 2019. All results will be sent out the week of June 3, 2019 from info@sytayouthfoundation.org.

6. Travel is Education Scholarship Contest

Calling all artistic travel-kids. The American Council for International Studies (ACIS) presents this scholarship for students grade 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.

So get your creativity-hats on, and win a fully funded trip with ACIS.

7. Family Travel Forum Teen Writing Scholarship

Ironic. I wish I’d known about this scholarship when I was younger. If you’re a budding traveler and travel blogger, listen up!

The Family Travel Forum (FTF) and the Society of American Travel Writers have teamed up to provide this scholarship for those of you who have a travel blog and have written an article on one of your adventures! It can be in your back yard or with your parents across the world, anything goes.

If you’re age 13-18 and are in grades 8-12, you can apply to this sweet scholarship. Cash awards range up to $1000.

8. National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship (NSLY-I)

High school Spanish not work, but you still want to learn a useful language while immersed in a foreign culture?

U.S. students age 15-18 can apply for the NSLI-Y scholarship that, if they win, will grant them a summer or one acadamic year abroad learning a language the government deems “high-need”, usually being Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), Russian or Turkish. Award amounts vary.

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!

9. Rotary Youth Exchange

Alright, so this one is not so much a scholarship as it is an exchange program with financial aid.

The National Rotary Club funds students are 15-19 to study abroad 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. CIEE Study Abroad

Disclaimer, this is a sweepstakes. However CIEE is a reputable travel organization and I recommend them!

If you’re 18+ years old and enrolled in a 2 or 4-year college, apply for one of the nearly $60,000 in travel grants by May 15, 2019.

11. The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX )

Hallo, kinder!

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.

12. STARTALK

Offers students (K–16) the opportunity to domestically study critical languages during engaging summer experiences.

STARTALK offers students and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development.

13. ANDEO Summer Abroad Scholarship

We are committed to equity and would like to enable students who are dedicated to language study and cultural exchange to be able 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 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.


Share this article with a parent, child, or friend who you think should give their K-12 year child an opportunity to travel!

And if your K-12 year child has traveled or studied abroad on scholarship please comment the name of the scholarship below so I can update the list 🙂

Scholarships, grants, exchange programs, contests, and travel funding for your kids in grades K-12. Who said you need to be in college to study abroad? #kids #scholarships #studyabroad #grants #travel #highschool

Scholarships, grants, exchange programs, contests, and travel funding for your kids in grades K-12. Who said you need to be in college to study abroad? #kids #scholarships #studyabroad #grants #travel #highschool
Scholarships, grants, exchange programs, contests, and travel funding for your kids in grades K-12. Who said you need to be in college to study abroad? #kids #scholarships #studyabroad #grants #travel #highschool

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One thought on “13 Travel and Study Abroad Scholarships for Kids K-12

  1. Caroline

    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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