How to travel for free99

Last summer, Brazil. This summer, South Africa. And all for the free99…

Over the course of last summer and this upcoming summer, I have received full funding for studying abroad and interning abroad. Often times, when people hear that these trips were fully funded, they are simply astounded that every single penny did not come out of my pocket except for money for food.

First off, shoutout to God though, none of this was possible without the Big Man Upstairs.

Here are my top tips on finding fully funded abroad opportunities:

  1. Apply to programs and internships that already have a scholarship attached with them. This way you aren’t solely relying on scholarship money to cover the entire cost of the trip.
  2. Go to the study abroad office and ask about free trips. This might sound dumb, BUT I would venture to say that most large universities have a trip at least once a year where students receive full-funding from university donors to go abroad. At UW-Madison we have the Global Gateways program, which takes 15 students each year to a different country to study for a month over the summer.
  3. Apply to the Global Gateways program here. The applicant pool is fairly competitive but it’s worth a shot. They take applications from both freshmen and sophomores.
  4. Talk to your professors – a lot of them may know about abroad opportunities that one of their colleagues may be leading. I’ve found that some summer excursions led by UW-Madison faculty have scholarship money automatically attached to them.
  5. Apply to international internships through the university’s program. Specifically apply to the ones with a stipend from the university automatically given if you get the internship.
  6. Start scholarship hunting over winter break. If you know you want to go abroad over the summer, begin the search for funding early!
  7. Apply to every and any scholarship – you do have to work for this money, but it pays off in the long run.
  8. Scholarships@uw is your best friend when you’re going abroad. I found nine scholarships on there that could possibly help fund my internship abroad.
  9. Keep an open mind about your destination. You may be dreaming to go to a tropical island, but that trip to Europe or Africa that has a scholarship attached to it might be worth applying to.
  10. Consider government funded scholarships as well, like the Gilman Scholarship.


Shiloah Coley is a sophomore and proud Chicago Posse Scholar. A declared art major, she enjoys being able to synthesize her love for visual art and writing in any way possible. As a journalist, she is currently focusing on Black culture. However, in the future she aspires to take a more in depth look at global human rights and how black culture impacts the black communities around the world.

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