How to fund your study overseas despite being a broke uni student

So you’re a broke uni student dreaming of travelling overseas, but don’t have the funds? I’ve applied for multiple scholarships, loans and grants for my trips to Japan (and soon South Africa). I guess you could say I’m somewhat of an expert at finding money (or just stubborn) to pay for my travels. Here’s a list I’ve compiled of ways to get your vital funds…

OS-HELP loans

As a university student you are eligible to receive two OS-HELP loans that gets added to your HECS-HELP debt. Remember, this is a LOAN, so you are required to pay it back later through the tax system. However, you don’t get charged interest on this like you would if you took out a bank loan.

The maximum amount you can borrow in 2016 for a six-month study period is:

  • $6,470 (if you will not be studying in Asia); or
  • $7,764 if you will be studying in Asia; and
  • an additional $1,035 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.

Since each student can only take out two loans (regardless of the amount), I chose to borrow the full amount I was able to each time. Be sure to choose what amount works best for your financial needs.

Travel grants and scholarship opportunities

Many universities offer travel grants to students planning to complete part of their studies with a partner university overseas. My university has travel grants for full semester exchanges, short term exchanges and study tours. Check with your financial and/or student exchange services administrators what you are eligible for.

If you are member of the Golden Key Honour Society you can apply for certain scholarships on their website. These are very competetive and are open to university students from around the world, so I would recommend a back-up plan.

New Colombo Plan (study in Asian countries)

The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Australian government to send students to Asian countries as part of their tertiary studies. If you wish to study or take part in a Hawke Ambassador project in an Asian country the Australian government may subsidise some of your costs. Ask your student exchange coordinator for more information.

I received a $7000 scholarship to study in Japan and one of my classmates received a $5000 scholarship to undertake a Hawke Ambassador Project in Indonesia as part of the New Colombo Plan.

JASSO scholarship (Japan)

If you apply to study a Japanese language program in Japan you may be eligible for the JASSO scholarship awarded to high achieving students. JASSO scholarship recipients receive 80,000 yen each month, paid by the Japanese government.

As far as I’m aware recipients do not need to apply directly for this, your eligibility is determined when you apply for your studies at the host university.

It is possible to receive both the JASSO scholarship and New Colombo Plan scholarship at the same time as they are initiatives of the Japanese and Australian governments, respectively.

Crowdfunding

If you have really supportive friends and family you can try launching a crowdfunding campaign on websites like OzCrowd, Patreon or Go Fund Me and ask them to donate.

Be aware that a lot of people you know may be in a similiar financial situation to you and can’t donate, regardless of how much they want to help you.

Good luck with funding your study abroad ventures! 

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