cathedral theatre in Madrid

Language Study, Research and Cultural Immersion

College students at all stages in their degree can apply for Boren and CLS scholarships, which both offer funding for language immersion courses overseas. Boren Scholarships tend to be for long-term language immersion (most students apply for courses that last 1 or 2 semesters, though STEM students qualify for 8-week programs) and CLS scholarships support a summer semester abroad. Both scholarships have a preferred list of languages which you’ll find on their websites. The Boren also has a federal work requirement (generally speaking, a year long), which you complete upon graduation and in a government office of your choosing. It’s a great foot in the door for students interested in a career in national security and other federal forms of government.

The Fulbright Commission also offers a wide variety of cultural immersion fellowships to students who’ve graduated with at least a bachelor’s by the start of the scholarship.

The most well-known is the Fulbright Academic Grant, which is your chance to create a research project in one of 150 countries. These grants are generally for a year. This might be academic or field research that builds on your previous research. You might propose putting theory into practice, by studying the effect of an NGO or national policy. You might well be learning from that country’s example--how do they approach a social issue that you’ve already thought about deeply?

Folded into this academic grant, there are also two other types of awards. You can complete a 1 year taught-Masters program in a number of countries (Australia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands,South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom) or you can also apply for an Arts Grant, with which you develop a particular artistic technique or skill set with an organization in your chosen country.

And that’s not all. Many NYU students apply to be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in one of 75 countries, supporting a teacher in the classroom for 10-20 hours a week, and getting to know their community by developing their own community engagement project.

The Fulbright also has a number of subject-specific awards in music (Fulbright mtvU), digital storytelling (National Geographic), foreign ministries (Fulbright-Clinton), business, public health, and journalism.

One other cultural immersion fellowship to consider is the Luce Scholars program. This is an unusual scholarship for students and alumni to think about their field (public health, archival research, anthropology, journalism etc.) in an Asian context. Luce scholars will be placed in positions that reflect their career interests in countries across Asia for a year, and it’s expected that you will have little to no experience of Asia prior to the scholarship. The Luce is for those who want to challenge themselves to consider their chosen field in a different cultural context.