Studying abroad in Asia next year, and have financial need? Consider the Freeman-Asia Scholarship!

Tags: Scholarships, Freeman-Asia, Institute of International Education, East Asia, Southeast Asia

February 26, 2016

The Freeman-Asia Scholarship has recently come back from hiatus, ready to fund undergraduate students who plan to study abroad in East and Southeast Asia.

The Basics

This international scholarship program is both need- and merit-based and seeks students with interests in Asian languages and studies or whose overall academic and professional goals would benefit from experience in an Asian country.  Award amounts are: up to $3,000 for summer, up to $5,000 for a semester/quarter, and up to $7,000 for an academic year.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency at the time of application
  • Receiving need-based financial aid or demonstrate a verifiable need for financial assistance for study abroad
  • Undergraduate with minimum 2.8 GPA
  • Applying through home campus and have at least one term of enrollment remaining after the study abroad
  • Credit-bearing study abroad program based in: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Minimum program length: 8 weeks for a summer term; 10 weeks for a quarter; 12 weeks for a semester
  • Little or no previous experience in the proposed host country
  • Must complete a post-study abroad service project, as well as an online Freeman-Asia Student Impact Survey

A more detailed explanation of requirements can be viewed here.

Evaluation Criteria

Of course, with any competitive scholarship, factors beyond the basic eligibility requirements will determine an applicant’s success as a candidate.  Freeman-Asia prefers applicants who will have a language study component in their study abroad, and will interact meaningfully with the host culture.  Internships are eligible for the award, but the scholarship emphasizes coursework:  ideally, the proposed study abroad program will include at least twenty hours per week of class time, with courses taught by host-country faculty and incorporating study of an Asian language, culture, and history.  Finally, applicants who can persuasively demonstrate how they will incorporate Asian languages or Asian studies into their future academics and career will have an advantage in this competition.

Along with the key criteria of financial need and proven interest in East or Southeast Asia, candidates will be evaluated on the quality of their service project proposals.  The strongest proposals are ones where the applicant can show that they have thoughtfully selected their intended audience and deployed some creativity in their plans to promote study abroad in Asia—and the Freeman-Asia Scholarship—to that audience.


So, how do applicants convey their eligibility, interest in Asia, suitability of their study abroad program, and their great ideas for the service project?  The application consists of several components:

  • Biographical information
  • Certification from study abroad and financial aid advisors (academic recommendations are not required)
  • Financial information (which will be reviewed by your study abroad and financial aid advisors):
    • Details on the costs of your degree program at your home institution, and how you meet those costs
    • Detailed budget for your study abroad program, and how you would cover the cost
    • Additional information on financial need, including specific impediments to study abroad
  • Transcript (uploaded in pdf form)
  • Personal statement – should address motivation for studying in East or Southeast Asia, how the experience will impact your interests and goals, and any previous coursework in an Asian language or Asian studies
  • Service project proposal – should explain why you have chosen the particular audience and method of presentation you are describing.  Be creative and unique!  What special skills do you have that would allow you to go beyond a simple PowerPoint presentation?  What sorts of campus or home community connections do you have that would give you access to an audience who could really benefit from hearing about your experience?

Interested? Get started!

The deadline for fall quarter/semester 2016 and academic year 2016-2017 studies abroad is April 11, 2016.  If you haven’t already begun to work with a study abroad advisor to plan your experience, now is the time to start!  Also, be sure to consult with a financial aid advisor about your plans to study abroad and to apply for the Freeman-Asia Scholarship.  Browse all of the information at the Freeman-Asia website and watch their helpful webinar

Get assistance with your application essays!  The National and International Scholarships Program has experienced advisors who are ready to give you detailed feedback on your personal statement and service project proposal. Email us ( to send your drafts and make an appointment. We ask for two business days to review your materials before meeting with you.

It’s time to get excited about your experience in East or Southeast Asia.  Happy planning!