Studying abroad provides an invaluable opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and language while expanding your education. From unique courses to global perspectives, studying internationally enables students to grow tremendously.
However, the costs associated with overseas programs can be prohibitively expensive for many students. Scholarships for studying abroad make international education accessible and affordable.
When applying for these scholarships, having language skills in your target country’s native tongue can significantly strengthen your candidacy.
Learning a new language requires great commitment and demonstrates important traits that scholarship committees look for. Gaining language proficiency can open up more program options, allow deeper cultural immersion, and help you stand out from other applicants.
If you aspire to study overseas, dedicating time to building foreign language skills in advance is one of the most effective ways to boost your scholarship chances.
Scholarship Committees Look for Language Skills
Scholarship committees pay close attention to applicants’ language skills, especially for programs in non-English speaking countries. Committees want to fund students who will fully immerse themselves in the local culture and get the most educational enrichment from the overseas experience.
Knowledge of the local language shows you are committed to connecting with people and everyday life there on a deeper level.
Applicants who demonstrate language skills prove they are willing to put in the significant effort required to gain fluency. This dedication over an extended period of time reflects very well. Committees recognize it as an indicator of your academic capabilities, work ethic, and readiness to thrive in an international environment.
Learning a Second Language Shows Dedication and Well-Roundedness
Achieving proficiency in a foreign language requires tremendous commitment, discipline, and perseverance over years of continued practice. Applicants who have devoted substantial time and effort to language acquisition demonstrate strong dedication and work ethic beyond just academics.
Scholarship committees appreciate seeing this commitment to expanding your skills and knowledge outside of core subjects as the mark of a driven, well-rounded student.
Developing language fluency also requires learning and practicing new concepts daily across reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The process strengthens critical thinking, comprehension, memorization, and communication abilities.
Gaining mastery of a language shows you have an aptitude for developing new skills. This reflects very positively on your academic capabilities and future success in college.
Learning a Second Language Opens Up More Program Options
Many study abroad programs and their associated scholarships require students to have some level of language proficiency, whether intermediate or advanced. Some may only accept applicants who have taken language courses.
Meeting or exceeding stated language requirements makes you eligible to apply for more overseas programs and funding opportunities.
Even basic language skills open doors compared to only knowing English. The wider range of programs you qualify for gives you more options to choose the location and university that best align with your academic interests and goals.
For example, some programs in Asia or Latin America offer immersive experiences in cutting-edge fields but require 1-2 years of language coursework. Options shrink if you lack those skills.
Expanding your prospects is key because study abroad scholarships are highly competitive. The more quality programs you’re eligible for, the better your chances of securing funding. Language abilities let you cast a wider net and leverage more opportunities. Check requirements early so you can proactively gain the needed skills.
It Allows Deeper Cultural Immersion
Studying abroad is about total cultural immersion, not just taking courses. Knowing the local language is what allows you to truly immerse yourself in the country’s culture and form meaningful connections with people.
You can shop at local markets, read signs/menus, interact with community members, and navigate daily life independently rather than relying on others.
Without language abilities, you largely interact with other English-speaking students and locals who know English well. This creates a more tourist-like bubble experience.
Programs want students who can fully integrate for deeper enrichment. Showing you are committed to meaningful immersion by learning the language makes you a stronger candidate for cultural and academic growth.
Selecting a Language to Learn Based on Country and Scholarships
When applying for study abroad scholarships, learning the predominant language spoken in your desired overseas study destination is strategic. Here are some recommendations on which languages open up opportunities for specific countries and examples of scholarships that require language proficiency:
Learning Spanish is ideal for Latin America
Spanish is essential for cultural immersion across Latin America and Spain. Strong Spanish skills open access to diverse scholarships like:
- The Chile Scholarship Fund for study in Chile values Spanish fluency.
- Fundaecuador requires intermediary Spanish for Ecuador scholarships.
- The Colombian Scholarship Fund awards points for Spanish levels.
- The Ford Foundation International Fellowships requires Spanish to study in Latin America.
French Language for European Scholarships
French is advantageous for studying abroad in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and other European nations. Relevant scholarships include:
- The Swiss Friends of the USA Scholarship values French fluency for study in Switzerland.
- The French Government Scholarship teaches French and requires undergraduate and graduate study skills.
- The Belgian American Education Foundation requires French scholarships in Belgium.
Learning Mandarin Chinese is a boost for China Scholarships
Mandarin unlocks programs in China and Taiwan like:
- The Yenching Academy Scholarship requires stated Mandarin abilities for this Chinese civilizations program.
- The Taiwan Scholarship awards points for Mandarin skills in Taiwan university programs.
- The Chinese Government Scholarship requires strong Mandarin for both undergrad and graduate study.
German Language for Europe
German provides cultural immersion in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and more with programs like:
- The DAAD German Studies Scholarship values German language abilities.
- The Austrian Scholarship Fund requires German proficiency for study in Austria.
- The Passau University Doctoral Scholarship requires German for Ph.D. study.
Arabic Language for the Middle East
Arabic is valued for Middle East study, along with Hebrew or Farsi. Relevant Arabic scholarships include:
- The Qatar Scholarship values Arabic for study in Qatar universities.
- The Omani Study Abroad Scholarship requires Arabic language skills.
- The Critical Language Scholarship funds Arabic language study for students.
Tips for Learning a Language for Scholarships
If studying abroad is a goal, start dedicating focused time now to language acquisition for your target country. Consistent practice is key to building skills over time. Resources like apps, online programs, tutors, and language classes can all help develop fluency:
- Apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone provide interactive lessons and games for practicing vocabulary and grammar.
- Programs like Pimsleur use immersive audio lessons to build listening and speaking abilities.
- Online tutors via sites like Verbling allow 1-on-1 video lessons tailored to your goals.
- Local college language courses give a classroom foundation for structured learning.
- Private tutors can personalize instruction to suit your strengths and weaknesses.
- Meetup groups create opportunities to practice conversing in the language.
- Read books, watch shows, listen to music, and more in the language. Full immersion boosts learning.
In addition to self-study, look for language training programs like:
- CIEE Language Scholarships fund summer intensive language study abroad.
- NSLI-Y Scholarships provide summer language institutes focused on critical languages.
- The Language Flagship program awards scholarships for advanced language study.
When applying for overseas scholarships, emphasize your language dedication in essays. Quantify hours spent studying and goals you’ve reached. This demonstrates the commitment that helps your candidacy stand out.
Studying internationally provides immense value, but costs can limit access. Learning a new language shows drive and gives your scholarship application a major advantage. Start studying early using diverse resources to make progress over time.
The truth is, language abilities open up more overseas opportunities. With dedication and smart preparation, you can gain skills that help you realize the dream of immersive study abroad.