Best Volunteer Abroad Scholarships for 2019/2020

Vancouver, BC | Posted: April 17th, 2019

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Best Volunteer Abroad Scholarships for 2019/2020

Volunteering abroad can be an expensive proposition. There are legitimate costs associated with travel, accommodation and placement fees. Often when people ask ‘why can’t I volunteer for free’, they haven’t been exposed to the actual costs on the ground. Scholarships can be a welcome subsidy to those of us with smaller budgets.

A volunteer scholarship is a financial grant or payment made to ease the upfront burden or volunteer traveler. Participants apply for select grants and in most cases, complete a series of questions that validate their interests and commitment. Some scholarships are exclusive in nature and are available to people from select countries, ages, or educational and experiential backgrounds.

Scholarships are different from loans in that they do not have to be repaid. The value of the ‘contract’ is fulfilled with your commitment to the cause – essentially your effort and drive to impact change. Rarely as scholarships a ‘cash award’, more likely they will be received as a subsidy paid directly to the source of the expense, and ultimately discount or waive any future costs or program fees.

Even without scholarships some organizations, like Love Volunteers and IVHQ, have been able to create a low-cost no-frills program where travelers can volunteer, stay and eat, for a few hundred dollars a week, and with sliding rates for each additional week one adds on.

Below are a few of our favorite volunteer abroad scholarships for travelers looking to augment their experience, lower their personal costs, and participate earlier in the process.

  • GVI Trust: The GVI International Scholarship Program offers qualifying students up to £2000 so that they may choose a GVI program that helps them pursue an international education experience of their choice. The chosen program, for which the scholarship is to be applied, must demonstrate the advancement of the applicant, with the relevant tools and training for their specific educational or career path.
  • IVHQ: International Volunteer Headquarters offers ‘Alternative Spring Break Scholarships’ for students. The Scholarship prize includes a 2-week applied-volunteering or internship program, a $1000 Flight Voucher, travel insurance and access to an online ‘Certificate of International Volunteering’ program.
  • GoEco: The GoEco Volunteer Scholarship helps students stretch their financial budget. Funds from the scholarship cover the ground costs of the program and offer student travelers a $1000 USD flight credit. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a college or university program and receiving financial aid, for their schooling. The process also requires validation and commendation from a current professor before joining a specific GoEco program.
  • StudySoup: The StudySoup Future Innovator Scholarship offers $1000 to students, aged 16 or older, that ‘exemplifies leadership and a willingness to help others. You may have mentored a fellow student, organized a fundraiser for charity, or gone on a humanitarian trip abroad”.
  • Terry Fox Trust: The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award offers up to $28,000 for Canadian students involved in volunteer-based humanitarian work. Criterium starts with being a recent high-school graduate, or a first-year college or university student in good academic standing.
  • Tourism Cares: The Tourism Cares Scholarship offers up to 24 travel, tourism and hospitality students a combined $77,000 in financial aid. This is open to both Canadians and US students that have an overall GPA (or equivalent) of 3.0, or higher.

Study Abroad Scholarships

  • Tortuga Backpacks: The Tortuga Backpacks Scholarship is open to US citizens, residents or those on a US Student Visa. Applicants must be full-time undergrad students and have applied, or been accepted into an accredited study abroad program by your college or university. The winner of the Tortuga Backpacks Scholarship with receive one (1) backpack and $1000 USD for studying abroad.
  • Maximo Nivel: The Maximo Nivel Scholarship program offers applicants a chance to receive funding via 3 unique channels, including a TEFL scholarship for those interested in teaching English in Costa Rica, Peru or Guatemala; a Veteran’s Scholarship Program to assist those that have served in the United States military and interested in studying in Latin America; and a program specifically for Journalism, Arts, or Conservation students interested in going to Latin America to create impact.
  • Gilman International Scholarships: The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program assists students of ‘limited financial means’ with up to $5000 for studying or interning abroad, around building skills to improve economic competitiveness and national security. It is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students that are currently receiving the Federal Pell Grant.
  • Rotary International: In 2018, Rotary International gave more than $86M in grants and scholarships. In particular, their Peace Fellowship program funds Masters’ level students with tuition at select Universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Brisbane, the University of Bradford (England), Uppsala University (Sweden) and a Certificate Program at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
  • The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) supports committed students with up to $10,000 who wish to study abroad. Potential applicants must meet their eligibility requirements. participate in an international education program that augments their academic objectives.


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