After graduating from college, many young people take the chance to explore the world. Imagine if you could explore the world on a travel grant while adding a prestigious line to your resume!
International exchange and travel programs like the Fulbright Program, Watson Fellowships, and Rhodes Scholarships make this possible for a small number of outstanding college graduates. A variety of smaller programs also provide grant money for travel, education, and service projects abroad.
Fulbright Program – Every year, more than 1,400 B.A. graduates, students, young professionals, and artists receive a Fulbright grant to study, teach, or conduct research abroad in more than 140 countries. The Fulbright Program offers grants for international educational exchange for students to undertake graduate study, traditionally in European countries. Options now extend to the rest of the world.
Fulbright grants for recent college graduates and graduate students are administered by the Institute of International Education. Fulbright-Hays grants, including grants for doctoral and post-doctoral research, are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Fulbright Program offers regular grants; supplemental travel grants to Germany, Hungary, and Italy; business grants; ESL student teaching assistantships abroad; and special programs. More information: Fulbrightonline.org
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship – The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship provides a $25,000 stipend ($35,000 for Fellows traveling with a spouse) for graduating seniors to pursue a year of independent study outside the U.S. Projects are not academically orientated, as the program is intended to encourage exploration rather than formal research. Watson fellows are prohibited from reentering the U.S. and their home countries, taking paid work, or becoming involved in organized volunteer projects for any length of time during their Watson year.
Only graduates of 50 highly selective small colleges are eligible. An applicant must be nominated by his or her college during the senior year before applying. 50 applicants are chosen each year. More information: Watsonfellowship.org
Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship – The Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship is awarded to 15 undergraduates a year from six divisions of the City University of New York and four independent colleges. The program allows students to intern at not-for-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and for-profit organization in New York during their first two summers. In their third summer, Watson Fellows usually intern in overseas offices of international nonprofits or community-based organizations in countries such as South Africa and India.
Applicants must be a second semester freshman or sophomore with at least four semesters remaining, and like the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, applicants must be nominated by the college. More information: JKwatson.org
Rhodes Scholarship – The Rhodes Scholarship is a very prestigious award for study at the University of Oxford, England. Rhodes Scholars may study a taught Master’s program, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (as a senior) – any postgraduate program offered except the MBA. The scholarship is initially awarded for two years, but may be extended to three.
Applicants are judged by academic achievement, involvement and success in sports, leadership qualities, and honesty of character and unselfish service. Approximately 90 Rhodes Scholars are selected each year from around the world, 32 from the U.S.
Applicants are nominated by selection committees. All costs of Oxford tuition and living expenses are paid for successful applicants, with additional opportunities for travel and research grants. Many recent Rhodes Scholars have chosen to pursue a graduate degree rather than a second undergraduate degree. More information: Rhodesscholar.org
Applying for College Grants – The grant application project is typically involved, as these grants are competitive and prestigious. In addition to application forms, you will need to submit a detailed proposal and acquire strong letters of recommendation. For the two Watson Fellowships, you must attend a participating university and be nominated by the university; others, like the Fulbright, are open to a wider range of applicants. Your academic advisor can tell you more about applying for college grants and student fellowships.