Scholarships for US students studying abroad ensure more people get chance to experience learning in Asia.

College is a time for experimentation, exploration, and adventure. Also, maybe a little bit of learning, too, if you feel like getting really crazy! Of course, there’s no better way to have an adventure than spending a semester or two abroad—especially if you haven’t done much international travel yet. And if you’re reading RocketNews24, we’re going to guess there’s a good chance that you’re the kind of person who would like to spend their study abroad semester in Japan or elsewhere in Asia!

However, one of the hallmarks of student life is living on a meager (or non-existent) income, so getting that study abroad experience can end up costing more than is practical or even possible. Which really kind of sucks.

▼ Not pictured: A typical college student.


Fortunately, thanks to scholarships, not having any money doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go to Japan for a semester or two. In fact, if it weren’t for the Freeman-ASIA scholarship, I personally wouldn’t have been able to come to Japan for two semesters in 2005/2006. Sadly, the scholarship, which was offered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), was closed in 2014, after 13 years.

Happily, IIE announced this week that the scholarship is being relaunched and students can begin applying for summer, single semester, or even academic year awards starting February first. The money awarded will average US$3,000 for a summer program, $5,000 for a single semester, and $7,000 for a full academic year—which probably won’t be all the money you need but will definitely help put a huge dent in the cost of any program you enroll in.

▼ And make you feel like Tony Stark!


Of course, studying abroad is an exciting prospect for many, but it can also be terrifying—the plane ride from the US to Japan alone is enough to drive anyone crazy, especially if it’s your first time spending eight, 10, or even 13 hours in a metal tube soaring through the sky! So, if you’re on the fence about study abroad, I thought I might motivate you by sharing some of the more exciting moments of my two semesters at Kansai Gaidai.


I’m not much of a photographer, so I don’t have photos, unfortunately, but highlights for me include hiking up Mt. Hiei, swimming in Lake Biwa, coming to Tokyo for Golden Week, going to a festival somewhere in the mountains (I no longer even know which prefecture it was), hanging out at visual kei shows at Neyagawa Vintage, visiting Byoudo-in in Uji, and going to hanami in Osaka-jo Park with a bunch of Japanese metalheads. That’s just a few of my experiences—some of my classmates lived with Japanese families, learned to play the koto, joined kendo clubs, and ate their way through half the country, sampling everything from sushi to takoyaki. Perhaps even more importantly, it was the immersive language learning that anyone studying a foreign language needs—there’s nothing like asking a random stranger for helping getting from Shinsaibashi Station to Ame-mura to test your language skills!

▼ Mt. Hiei is not a bad hike, but don’t forget water!


Now that you’re convinced, it’s time to find a study abroad program at your university and apply for a scholarship! The Freeman-Asia website can be found here and includes all the information you’ll need for eligibility and applying. And even if you’re not interested in coming to Japan, the Freeman-ASIA awards are intended for anyone studying in East or Southeast Asia who hasn’t spent much time in their intended destination.

Basically, it’s pretty awesome and you should check it out! Here’s the website one more time.

Sources: IIE, Freeman-ASIA
Featured image: Freeman-ASIA