Below is a message for all students who are finishing their school or beginning their studies at the university. For those who want to have international experiences because they understand the relevance that this has on a personal, academic and professional level. To leave the country to study or to be trained in anything, more than money, you need the desire and preparation.
The Truth about Scholarships to Study Abroad
Scholarships are a financial support that governments or private entities make so that one can have these international opportunities. But why would someone sponsor our studies and our trips? Scholarships are currently a form of international cooperation between countries to train future leaders who can continue to contribute to national and global development. Just as countries lend money at ‘preferential’ interest rates, donations are made and military forces are sent, they also educate each other on issues that benefit them together.
The scenarios vary but in general terms we can classify the scholarships in two types:
- When a foreign country trains you to return to our country of origin and act as a knowledge multiplier.
- When a foreign country trains one to stay and contribute in that country, since the local population is not interested in that area of knowledge or because they have a greater demand for talent than the current offer in that field.
This means that scholarships are NOT granted because of a need of the applicant, but because of an interest of the offeror to benefit or benefit a friendly nation. This breaks a very important myth about scholarships, and is that they are not exclusive to people with economic problems. No. To win a scholarship you do not have to give pity, but show that you deserve it and that you are the best investment (even if you really have money problems).
Pay attention on the keyword ‘prove’. One does not have to be a mathematical or philosophical genius or a bookworm. One must be to sell oneself in the right way, transmit in an authentic way our desires to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. After all, the scholarships are based on the information that one provides them (resume, letter of motivation, notes, references) to compare our profile with that of other applicants and make a decision.
How to Develop the Profile to Win Scholarships?
To win a scholarship or sponsorship the information that one provides must be truthful and verifiable. Therefore, instead of inventing one, you must begin to prepare. Think less about the weekend and more about the long term. Draw a plan and develop habits and actions that bring you closer to your goal each day.
In addition to good grades, there are 5 key characteristics that scholarship providers are looking for in candidates:
- Social conscience
A leader because they influence, know how to work as a team, integrate and develop ideas. The social conscience ensures that the ideas that are developed, also benefit those who need it most or the common interest. Worker because good things take time, require effort and patience.
Languages because the world tends to unify and not divide. An example of this is that English is the language in most academic programs with scholarships. And motivation because without it nothing is possible. With this in mind, you can begin to identify and implement actions TODAY to build that profile which in the future, will give you an advantage and help you win a scholarship.
Start participating in research, art or sports groups. Compete in contests at your college or university. Write publications or attend conferences of your interest.
2. Social awareness
Join this type of causes. Be part of volunteering or be a voice for those who need it in your institution, work and neighborhood.
Be proactive. Become a mentor in topics that you like and / or are given. Get a part-time job. And if working for someone else is not your thing, then go ahead and start. But tranquil! You do not have to invest millions, you can start selling something in your house or in your educational institution because those experiences count. Your relationship with your teachers and / or employers and their references will be key when winning a study scholarship abroad.
There is no need to talk about the importance of English in the globalized world of today. To learn the language you can use applications like Dulinguo, free pages on the internet or sign up for courses on weekends. Get together and practice with native speakers in your city. For this you can join communities such as: Couchsurfing, MeetUp, or even host them in your home or provide an experience through AirBnb.
If you can finance a language course abroad, do it. The scholarships to study English are not an option for people without any knowledge of the language (besides that they are very few, almost nonexistent). Study now and change the chip that English “does not enter” or that “is not your thing.” Languages, like everything, are of practice as well as patience and perseverance.
You must show it in a letter addressed to the scholarship providers. It is the most important document because in it you have the opportunity to check and reinforce that you meet the profile (all the previous points). In the motivation letter, you must show the knowledge about the country you want to go to and the program you want to study. In it you communicate that you deserve the scholarship for the achievements and learning that you have obtained and that you are motivated to contribute to the program, the institution, the country and / or society.
How to Find and Win Scholarships?
After having dedicated in the short, medium and long term to develop the profile that scholarship providers are looking for, you should:
- Investigate and collect information
- Analyze the alternatives
- Prepare the documentation
- Send the applications
Enter the web pages of the universities where you would be interested in studying and look in the scholarships section. You can also go to the page of the Ministry of Education of the countries where you would be interested to go. On the other hand, you can visit the Scholarship Section of this website to analyze the scholarships already available in programs that you may be willing to study.
To analyze the alternatives take into account the requirements of the program, your profile, what you want and what you are willing to do for the scholarship. This is key to know if within the application deadlines you will comply with what the scholarship provider needs. Once the decision has been made, prepare the documents that they require and how they are required (translated, apostilled, physical or scanned, etc.).
What follows next is waiting for the good news. In case you do not get the scholarship on the first try, learn from the experience and get ready for the next one. Remember that new calls continually come out.