How to successfully apply for scholarships to study abroad

Brisbane International Student Ambassador Katia Salazar Reviakina recently presented a webinar, in partnership with Empower Women and United Nations Women, on how to successfully apply for scholarships to study abroad.

Empower Women is an online platform, facilitated by United Nations Women, dedicated to increasing women´s economic empowerment.

You can watch the original webinar here or read her blog post on scholarship applications and what it's like to live and study in Brisbane.

Roadmap to Success: How to successfully apply for scholarships abroad

- Katia Salazar Reviakina

The Empower Women by UN Women webinar series features young professional panelists, providing a space for women to talk about the challenges we face during our academic and professional journey and how we succeed in empowering ourselves.

As a mentor for Ekpapalek, a non-profit for Latin American students seeking education opportunities around the world, I was invited to present on the first webinar. The topic was Opportunities abroad: how to get them?  focusing specifically on how to successfully apply for scholarships and study abroad.

As a Brisbane International Student Ambassador and an Endeavour Scholarship Awardee, I now know the best decision I have ever made was to get out of my comfort zone. One of my biggest dreams was to study abroad, not only to access top-ranked universities such as the University of Queensland, but also because of the great opportunities like meeting people from all over the world, from different cultures and with diverse interests and passions.

I left Colombia few years ago to pursue my academic and personal goals and I can confidently say that it was the best decision, to choose a multicultural city like Brisbane.

Since I first arrived in Australia I challenged myself with one goal: getting the most out of every day I spend here, academically, professionally and personally. After all, I was leaving behind my friends and family.

Today, after a few years of living in this great city, I’ve had great learning experiences at university, improved my professional skills through some incredible work experience with the Brisbane City Council and I’ve had the chance to make wonderful friends from all around the globe. Get out of your comfort zone and pursue your academic objectives abroad!

6 steps to successfully apply for scholarships

  1. Determine your area of interest and narrow it to a specific field of study. Be determined in finding a topic that thrills you, after all it’s your future. Be organised with the information. For example, use Excel spread sheets, pros and cons lists, record the focus of each scholarship. The most difficult part is starting the search. Do it with time and patience, don’t rush!

  2. Explore the different universities that offer your field of interest. Investigate different countries and go beyond your ideal universities. Don’t close any doors and keep your options open. Keeping an open mind is how great opportunities are found.

  3. Get to know the universities and the cities where they are located, as well as the academic staff. Do extensive research on your focus area for each university. Go to networking events, academic fairs and mentoring programs. Talk to teachers and fellow students, research online and make the most out of social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

  4. But most importantly, understand the research possibilities at your chosen university. In my case, studying at a university with a strong focus in community planning and engagement has shown me an interesting professional path.

  5. Set yourself goals when you start looking for scholarships - academic, professional and also personal. Studying abroad is not only about the university you chose. It is also about your life, how well you cope with your chosen city, the people you met and the experiences you have. 

  6. Prepare your application (documentation, references, essays) with enough time. Do this at least six months in advance. Look for good references for your application (both academic and professional).

About the author

Ekaterina

Katia is currently undertaking an Advanced Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Queensland. She holds a Masters degree in Governance and Public Policy from The University of Queensland and an undergraduate degree in Political Sciences from the University of Los Andes in Colombia.

Katia has over five years of professional experience in the public and private sector. Working in Colombia, Russia and Australia, Katia’s expertise spans across governance and urban development with an emphasis on the analysis, implementation and evaluation of public policies, particularly in economic development, urban security and citizen coexistence.

She has been awarded two scholarships from the Australian Government:

AusAid Development Scholarship (2012) MSc in Governance and Public Policy

Endeavour Scholarship - Australia (2016) MSc Advanced in Urban Planning and Development

Scholarships are offered by the Australian Government, education institutions and a number of other organisations. You can view a list of Australian scholarships here.

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