Friday, March 18, 2011

Educational Scholarships May Enable You To Study Abroad

By Michelle Conner

Every time you turn around, it seems the world is getting a little bit smaller. Businesses are setting up factories in remote locations of the world, immigration - legal or illegal - is a perpetual issue, and the news is constantly talking about the U.S. being is serious debt with China. What used to be remote fantasy lands can now be reached in barely a day, if not a lot less.

When this comes to college, this means both on campus and online colleges have rapidly growing foreign language and cultural departments. Still, even the lowliest professorial assistant will tell you speaking the language is hardly enough. Whether it's teaching ESL or international banking, those who actually learn the culture by immersing themselves in it do much better than those who don't.

This could be a very expensive proposition. At the same time, there are a number of organizations out there who will help students not only go to these countries, but provide financial aid to help them in this endeavor. Check resources on college scholarships online to learn about all the options available to you.

Some of these organizations are quite prestigious. For instance, just about everyone has heard of the Fulbright Scholarship Organization or the Rhodes Scholarship. They are highly prestigious awards and usually reserved for students with extremely high grades and from more prestigious schools. Luckily there are alternative options for those who fit into more modest means.

A good example of a successful program is the Ambassador Scholarship. Founded by the Rotary Club over fifty years ago, it annually grants financial aid to nearly 1,000 students in approximately 100 countries. It works by shipping the student to a club in another country, where in turn the winner spends the next six months to a year totally immersed in that country's culture. It even controls the number of phone calls the student can make to friends and family.

From there, the student must make a presentation of his or her home country to the members of the host Club. They also have one other responsibility; to do a similar report to the Club that sponsored the trip when they get back home. Even more remarkable is that even though the Rotary is an international organization, all this is managed on the local level.

What's critical is the Fulbright, Rhodes and Rotary Club is literally only three examples out of several hundred. A student could be sent to a university in Madrid to learn Spanish from its place of birth or take an architectural course in Paris. To find out more about these kinds of wonderful scholarships and programs a little research is mandatory, as well as a sit down session with your college career counselor. It's very likely the school itself is associated with such a program.

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