How to study abroad for free? Detailed action plan
Today international education is no longer an impossible dream, but a reality accessible to everyone. Almost anyone can study for free in a foreign university thanks to scholarships and grants. And the truth is to enter the university of your dreams and get full funding, you do not even have to be a genius. But you have to get everything right!
Dasha Kroshkina
Founder of StudyFree

1. Choice of country of study and educational program
These two points are combined into one for a reason. If you have already chosen the field of your studies more or less, it is important not to be mistaken with the appropriate country.

For technical majors it is better to go to Germany, the Czech Republic and the United States, these countries historically lead in advanced technologies, engineering and innovation. Also, do not forget about Asian countries: Singapore, South Korea, Japan and China. They are now at the forefront of technological development.

For a degree in design and fashion, it is better to go to sunny Italy or sophisticated France — the birthplace of world famous brands and fashion designers. If you are interested in ecology, environmental protection and human rights movement, choose the countries of Nordic region (Sweden, Finland, Norway) or Switzerland. They are global activists in these areas. But remember that there can always be exceptions to this rule.

2. Choosing a university
Once you have decided on the country of study and your major, next step is choosing the most suitable university. Here you should pay attention to the cost and rating not only of the university itself, but also of the selected program. One of the most useful resources is the ranking of The Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS rating.

It is also recommended to take into account how comfortable the university is for foreign students, whether there is the necessary adaptation support and international programs.

It is important to choose the type of university: private or public. A private university exists at the expense of its own earnings and sponsors. Education here is quite expensive, but more elitist. Public universities exist at the expense of public funds. Education here is more accessible (up to $1,000 per semester).

Education in a private university is not always better. For example, the UC Berkeley is public, and Stanford is private. But these two universities historically compete for the best students.

3. Preparation of documents
The final list of documents depends on the specific country, university and program. But the a minimum set of required documents usually looks like this:

  • Authorized translation of previous degree with transcripts
  • Motivation letter/Essay/Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose. 70% of your ultimate success depend on this paper!
  • Letters of reference
  • Language certificates. For studying in English — IELTS Academic(6.5 and above) or TOEFL.
  • Additional exams. For example, GMAT/GRE for graduate school in business and finance or portfolio for designers and artists.
4. Selection of scholarships and grants
There are several main types of scholarships and grants:

  • Governemnt-sponsored. Given by the government of the receiving or sending country. As a rule, they are not tied to a particular university or major, usually provide the largest coverage. Countries with large government scholarships for international students: China, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway
  • University-sponsored. Given for entering a particular university, usually partially or fully covers tuition fee
  • External funds and organizations. Quite narrowly focused, covering a specific direction or program. Some top examples World Bank, United Nations etc.
The number of scholarships and grants also strongly depends on the country and major.

There is a limited number of information aggregators about scholarships and grants:

  • Germany — DAAD;
  • France — CampusFrance;
  • China — CSC Scholarships
  • StudyFree — accumulates scholarships 34 countries
5. Major deadlines
Usually documents for general admission to a foreign university are submitted from March to June to start studying in September same year.

However, deadlines for for scholarships application end much earlier.Applications for top large scholarships at prestigious universities are accepted around September or October for programs starting next autumn. Some scholarships finish accepting applications in November and February. Most available scholarships no longer consider candidates after March.

By the time you apply for a scholarship, you must have a package of ready documents. This means that you need to prepare at least a year before or even a year and a half.

Entering a foreign university with full funding is real. You just should not be afraid of the process itself, start studying the issue in advance, choose the direction and country, prepare all the documents. If you realize that the process is too complicated, you can always ask for help from special educational agencies that will solve all the problems for you.


Поступить в иностранный вуз с полным финансированием — это реально. Надо только не пугаться самого процесса, начать изучать вопрос заранее, выбрать направление и страну, подготовить все документы. Если вы осознали, что процесс слишком сложен, всегда можно обратиться за помощью к специальным образовательным агентствам, которые решат за вас все вопросы.
16 march 2019
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