Scholarships to Study Abroad

Why do you need to know about scholarships for bilingual kids? Simply said: because studying abroad is expensive. Going straight to the source is one of the best ways for your child to not only immerse themselves in the language, but the culture as well.

Girl with Graduation Hat On
Even though you have study abroad dreams for your child, your bank statement might be saying something else. That’s okay. Not many of us have the extra cash to spend on overseas learning programs. There’s airfare, living expenses, recreation, and let’s not forget the cost of the program itself.

And to make it all the more stressful, in a few short years (or even less) your child will be going off to college. Before you get too depressed—or start stressing over the money that all of this language learning is going to cost you—let’s explore scholarships for bilingual kids as an option.

NSLI-Y Scholarships

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) is a U.S. Department of State sponsored program. It offers merit-based scholarships for students to learn a “critical language.” These are languages that are in high demand (in the international workplace). Even though they are needed critically, the supply of fluent people is relatively low. Students can apply the scholarships to overseas summer or school year study abroad programs.

If you’ve got a preschooler or elementary-aged child, you’ll need to wait awhile before applying for one of these scholarships. The NSIL-Y program is only open to high school students and recent high school grads. The goal of the program is to prepare Americans to become global leaders. Speaking a critical language may give your child a competitive edge. That is, if they choose to go into government work or enter the world of international business.

The target languages that the NSLI-Y scholarships include are:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Hindi
  • Korean
  • Persian (Tajiki)
  • Russian
  • Turkish

Program locations include China, Estonia, India, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Moldova, Morocco, Oman, Russia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and other locations across the globe.

Not only does the scholarship offer money for travel, room and board, Visas and educational programming, but it also provides support and activities. These include a pre-departure orientation, in-country orientation and support cultural excursions, accommodations with a host family and an end-of-stay orientation. After your child comes back from learning overseas, the program also offers ongoing alumni activities.

YES Abroad

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study, or YES Abroad, is another scholarship program for students who want to immerse themselves in another culture and learn a language abroad. This scholarship is also offered by the U.S. Department of State. YES Abroad provides high school students and recent graduates with a full scholarship that covers one academic year abroad.

Students awarded this scholarship may study in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Bulgaria, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey.

There are currently 65 scholarships available for U.S. students who want to live with host families and study in foreign schools. The scholarships cover the student’s travel expenses (round-trip airfare), school tuition (if necessary), room and board, Visa fees, and secondary medical benefits. It also provides a modest stipend for other expenses.

Other Options

The NSIL-Y and YES Abroad programs aren’t the only scholarships available. The American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Study Abroad program offers more than $800,000 worth of scholarships annually. These scholarships may not cover your high school or college student’s full costs, but they will certainly help make a dent in any program fees.

AIFS scholarships include a number of different awards and grants, such as the Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Grant, Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship, and Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship Match.

Other options to investigate include institutional grants from colleges, cultural organization awards, and privately funded grants. Your child’s guidance or career counselor can also provide resources to help you find the study abroad scholarship that best matches your student’s needs.

If your child could get a scholarship to study anywhere in the world, where would it be? Share your answer with us in the comment section below!

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