Grants for Studying Abroad in Uncommon Countries

Studying abroad is arguably the most exciting, intellectual and liberating experience of your life yet the costs associated with living in a foreign country for a semester, a summer or even a year can make decisions difficult. Yet many students are unaware of the resources available to them and automatically assume loans are the best option.

A fund set up in 1991 by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), called the Boren Awards, funds up to $10,000 per semester and $20,000 for a full academic year to undergraduate students studying in undereprresented areas of the study abroad-world including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. The students must be studying less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese and Russian among others.

SU has sent six undergraduate students to Japan, China, Ecuador, Macedonia and Tajikistan on Boren Award Scholarships since the program’s creation in 1994. SU Abroad’s Beijing center exemplifies the mission of the NESP’s Boren Awards. The combination of studying among native Chinese students at Tsinghua University while learning Mandarin is a perfect example of the type of program to which the NESP hopes to send its Boren Scholars. In addition, SU’s World Partners programs in Africa, Turkey, Cairo and Poland are options for Boren Scholars. Eight SU graduate students have received Boren Fellowships for their continuing studies. The eight students have studied in China, Egypt, Chile, Morocco, Estonia, India and Croatia since SU’s first student was chosen in 1996.

The Boren Program from NESP has sent almost 1,400 students from 49 states have studied in 90 countries and 67 different languages.

The awards are distributed to encourage studies in these areas of the world that are considered critical to U.S. interests. By providing grants to students to study in these countries, an applicant is viewed as a resource by the NSEP in furthering the understanding of that country and its relationship with the United States. Boren Award scholars are required to fulfill a one-year service portion with the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities after their study abroad experience.

According to the 2009 Open Doors report, Syracuse University ranks  No. 23 in the nation for institutions that sent the highest number of students to study abroad during the 2007/08 academic year. According the report, SU sent 1,625 students abroad last year. The Open Door report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. (Info courtesy of:

The campus deadline for undergraduate students to apply is February 1, 2010. Visit the Boren Award Web site for application details or contact the Boren Awards SU campus representative Professor Francine D’Amico at Also visit the SU Abroad Web site at for more details. Good luck!


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