Vietnamese national Nguyen Bui has the distinction of being a recipient of two prestigious scholarships: the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, which is also for international students. She received the Fulbright to pursue graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University and the Endeavour as a current doctoral candidate at the Australian National University.
“These globally recognized scholarships have granted me many opportunities to accelerate my professional and personal growth,” says Bui.
While global universities tend to offer fewer scholarships to undergraduate international students, many offer a wider range of financial aid awards to graduate international students. These include fully funded government scholarships and university scholarships.
Fully Funded Government Scholarships
Prospective international graduate students can explore fully funded, government-issued scholarships that cover everything from tuition to travel. Requirements, application procedures and deadlines are available on government scholarship websites. One example is the Chevening Scholarship.
“Not only did it cover my tuition fees, it paid a monthly stipend, round-trip tickets to the U.K. and back home and, more importantly, it put me on a pedestal where I was exposed to like-minded high achievers from all over the world with a mindset to impact lives,” says Chevening recipient and Ghanaian national Naa Ayeleysa Quaynor-Mettle, a globalization, business and development grad student at the University of Sussex.
Chevening is the United Kingdom’s largest global scholarship program, bringing 1,650 scholars from 140 countries for one-year master’s degrees at U.K. universities in the current 2017-2018 academic year, John Brunskill, press officer with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said via email.
He said scholars are “chosen for their academic achievements but also for their potential to become leaders in their chosen fields and in some cases of their countries.”
The Fulbright Foreign Student scholarship allows international graduate students to conduct research in the U.S., with the goal of promoting cross-cultural understanding, says Nathan Arnold, director of media relations for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Arnold says some 4,000 Fulbright scholarships are awarded each year. Application requirements and award terms vary by country of citizenship and program, he says, and each country page on the Fulbright website provides more information on the programs available and points of contact.
The Australian government funds the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarships for international students and provides full financial support for them to pursue graduate-level degrees and professional development opportunities in Australia. These scholarships provide recipients with support services, including a dedicated case manager. Bui says this manager serves as a personal academic adviser and takes care of logistics like purchasing health insurance.
The 2019 application will open in mid-April 2018, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Training in Australia.
Fully Funded University Scholarships
Prospective international students can also research fully funded scholarships that global universities typically offer to all students, including international students. These scholarships are generally posted on the institutions’ websites.
For example, “KAUST offers very generous fellowships to its students including a competitive stipend – $20,000 to 30,000 annual – free housing close to campus, health insurance, travel to and from KAUST and one round-trip ticket home each year,” Brian Moran, dean of graduate affairs at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, said via email.
German national Anna Elzbieta Siodmak, a biochemist and doctoral student at KAUST, says the university arranged everything including a furnished apartment.
“It’s frightening to many young foreign students to arrive to a totally different country without speaking the language and having to organize everything by him or herself, but KAUST took care of all this, which made me feel safe and not alone,” says Siodmak.
Italian national Emanuele Dicarlo says self-financing his graduate studies “was never an option.” But through the University of Zurich‘s UBS Center Scholarship, he received a full stipend to pursue doctoral studies at the Zurich Graduate School of Economics in Switzerland.
Maura Wyler-Zerboni, head of communication at the UBS International Center of Economics in Society, says apart from living expenses and all fees, recipients receive an annual salary of $41,000 and have no teaching obligation. Wyler-Zerboni says the center gives students access to “renowned experts from academia, the private and the public sector from both Switzerland and abroad.”
At the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the school’s KAIST International Student Scholarship includes full tuition, a monthly stipend of around $300 – which increases later with research assistant or teaching assistant jobs – and national health insurance, Hayong Shin, KAIST dean of admissions, said via email.
Prioritize Scholarship Opportunities
Scholarship recipients say prospective international students should plan to start early. KAIST scholarship recipient Cindy Surya Prabowo, from Indonesia, says it’s important for prospective international students to research all scholarships far in advance. The chemical and biomolecular engineering master’s student says “taking note of the requirements, details of scholarship coverage and deadlines are vital.”
Chevening recipient Quaynor-Mettle says she spent a year and a half on her application, reaching out to alumni and mentors and proofreading and revising her application materials to make sure they were perfect.
Bui, the Fulbright and Endeavor recipient, says prospective international students can plan to use scholarship discussion forums and social media to contact previous successful applicants with any questions. She says she has personally helped many applicants.
“Countless posts, advice and opportunities are waiting for you out there,” says Bui.
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