Skip to main content

High Financial Need

One of the most popular myths surrounding studying abroad is that students with high financial need cannot afford it. However, MANY Northwestern students with high financial need DO study abroad! They study in a wide variety of locations (including Europe) and stay for terms ranging from a summer or a quarter to an entire academic year. The key to a successful experience abroad is planning. As you plan, consider how you will balance your goals for studying abroad with your financial situation.

Learn About Financial Considerations

Discuss Your Study Abroad Plans

  • Meet with Krista Bethel or Kristin Butnik to learn how your Northwestern financial aid will apply to study abroad, plan and budget for expenses abroad, and discuss scholarship opportunities.
  • Speak with your GLO adviser about your study abroad plans and questions you have.
  • Connect with GLO Ambassadors who identify as high financial need.
  • Contact returnees to ask specific questions about daily life and budgeting abroad.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Many scholarships are available for study abroad, especially for students with demonstrated financial need. We've compiled a list of scholarships to help you get started.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Student Experiences

Max Sigal

WCAS 2020 | Study Abroad in Japan

Student posing beside sculpture while studying abroad in Japan
"When I first entered Northwestern, I never dreamed that I would be able to study abroad. As a low-income student who struggled to pay the bare minimum, the concept of spending thousands of dollars on a single affair seemed out of reach. By visiting the Office of Fellowships and receiving valuable essay-writing help, I applied for and received two different scholarships: The Gilman Scholarship and the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship. With these scholarships, I was able to travel to Hakodate, Japan for two months while I studied at an intensive Japanese language program."
Student smiling with Japanese host parents and housemate
"Sometimes the bliss of study abroad was interrupted with the stark truth that I couldn’t afford some things that the other students could. More than a few times, I wanted to hang out with other students but decided not to since they were going to fancy restaurants to eat, or I decided to walk back home rather than pay the extra fee for the tram ride back. Although sometimes I felt discouraged, I discovered so many new things about Japan that I had never known existed, and I became even more infatuated. I didn’t want my lack of money to weigh me down, and I realized that spending only a few months in Japan would never be enough; I wanted to learn about ways to spend my future in Japan."
Student learning to play the Shinobue, a Japanese flute used in Kabuki theater
"While the cost of study abroad programs can be scary for low-income students, I encourage those who are interested to seek out opportunities where they can. Studying abroad can expand your horizons by exposing you to different cultures and ideologies as well as by helping you determine what you want to do with your future. Being low-income is a barrier that can be overcome; it’s something that you can use as motivation to push yourself towards your goals and what you want to become."