A dream most of us have nurtured since we started understanding movies and TV serials, studying abroad, for most of us, means exciting job prospective, high standards of living and an experience of a lifetime.
Typically, it has also been viewed as a difficult, highly competitive and expensive affair.
Even though it largely remains the same, the current scenario is quite different from what it was a few years back. Easy and quick access to information has revolutionized almost everything, and the process of studying abroad is no different. Several websites and forums have helped making the process much simpler.
Unfortunately, the extravagant cost of studying abroad is still a deal breaker for many.
So, did the cost of studying abroad break you heart too? Or are you another student who has almost given up on their fantasies?
If there is a tiny voice in your heart that refuses to settle down, if you are one of those people with a never say die attitude, then you have come to the right place because with a little patience, hard work and research, you might just be able to fund your studies abroad and attain what YOU thought was impossible!
The following points are some of the ways and means you can find funding for your studies. We would like to inform you that while none of these are easy, but they are neither impossible.
P.S. Remember how angry you got when your parents said good things happen to those who work hard? Well, turns out they were right!
Most Universities abroad offer scholarships to international students. While these are largely based on academic merit, some are also based on talent. Apply for these on the financial aid section of the official University website. In the mean time, study hard to earn yourself a scholarship!
Scholarships are also offered by some non-profit organizations in some cities abroad.
Check out for such organizations, the criteria and apply. Do not hesitate to apply, I mean, what could go wrong? The worst thing that could happen is you do not get the scholarship. Big deal!
Some organizations that offer scholarships are: the Council on International Educational Exchange Scholarship, www.internationalscholarships.com, www.iefa.org/,
2. Student loans:
Applying in India: Many banks give student loans up to around 20 lakh rupees (generally in India) with usual interest rates of 11.5%. The only probable hitch may be that you will have to mortgage a security of 150% of the loan amount with the bank. Generally, this means either your home or some family property. Talk with your family, discuss your needs and decide accordingly. Remember that you are capable enough to repay the bank in time. If you are willing to work hard, do no underestimate yourself!
However, if you are looking to apply for a student loan, we suggest you do all the research and inquire about the rates, amount and tenure in different banks. Apply where it is most suited to you.
Applying Abroad: You may also want to look at the option of applying for a loan abroad itself.
For example, student loans (for international students) in the US are up to 45,000 USD and this amount is generally sufficient to cover your tuition fee, living expenses and accommodation.
Such loans are generally offered at an interest rate of 8% and can be repaid until 20 years.
Typically, these loans do not need a security rather a co-signor or guarantor of the loan.
3. Interning Abroad
In many cases, looking for an internship or apprenticeship abroad may help you reduce your cost of living as well as learn about your field of work. You may or may not be paid very handsomely, but the idea of lowering costs is worth it. There are many websites which actually provide all the information on international internships available.
4. Working Abroad
Most countries allow students to work while they study with their student visas. You will be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and full-time during holidays. You will initially feel that there are no or only lowly paying jobs available, but in time and with proper research, you will find a job which will actually pay you averagely well. While most jobs initially available to you will be minimum-wage jobs, do not settle for these permanently. Find a job which will at least pay you your work's worth. Having said that, we would like to remind you that working while studying is not exactly very easy and will involve large amounts of sacrifices. Working on a Saturday when everyone else is clubbing, staying awake long hours during exams, etc are some of the problems you will face. Whoever said life was easy!!
5. Fellowships and assistantships
Working under a professor, teacher or senior in your field off study is known as a fellowship or assistantship. Fellowships are generally available to students who are in the research fields whereas assistantships are common to all. These are slightly more convenient than working because it will all be done on your University campus itself. Look out for Universities that offer international students such opportunities and apply immediately. These are golden opportunities because they allow you to earn, learn, and work under an experienced expert of your field and gain experience. Such experiences also work great as CV enhancers.
Remember that most fellowships are granted to students at higher levels of education and are generally based on academic merit.
6. Start saving early
Remember those extravagant shoes you bought last summer? Or the latest iPhone you carry so proudly? Well, guess what? You could do just fine with a slightly cheaper pair of shoes or phone. Once you've decided you want to study abroad, begin saving every penny as soon as you can. Give up the luxuries for an experience of a lifetime! Also remember that every penny counts, after all even the ocean is made up of drops.
7. Find local organizations, municipal corporations ,NGOs or funding agencies
Look around for the local agencies in your locality/area. Make use of the fact that you are well known and ask around for funding, You can even contact local sponsors, schools and educational institutions who may help you with some funding. Your convincing power and will to go abroad will determine how much funding you can get.
You can even contact some companies and see if they offer any kind of help to students.
8. Go abroad through a company
Some companies appreciate and nurture talent where they see it. If you have been working as an intern, part-time with some company and are really good, you may be able to convince them to send you abroad for further studies. Such deals however involve contracts requiring the student to work for a minimum amount of years with the company.
9. Scholarships offered by the Government of India
You may have forgotten but your Government offers scholarships too! Scholarships and funding for exceptional students have increased greatly in the last few years and there are several exams, interviews and criteria for the same. Check out the Government's website and the scholarships it has to offer. Remember that there is no better, reliable finding than that of the Government itself. If this does require some additional efforts, don't be afraid to do so.
10. Organize fundraising events
While such events and ideas are not very usual and successful in India, you can always give it a try.
Convince the people around you that they can help you realize your dream with the help any amount they can afford. Try to make these events as innovative, fun and informative as you can. Take help from all your friends and spread the word as much as you can. Never underestimate the power of masses!!
While doing so, you may just stumble upon agencies and non-profit organizations willing to help you out.
We hope we've convinced you enough to believe in your dreams. Now don't waste a minute more and start collecting funds. Good luck!