Funding your exchange can be tricky. Read Collectior's tips for ISIC on how to budget and fund your exchange abroad!

Funding your exchange

This article is written in collaboration with Collectior

So, perhaps you are thinking about doing an exchange at a foreign university and you are not sure how to deal with all the practicalities? Do not worry, you’re not alone. At Collectior we have ourselves experienced the difficulties related to exchange abroad. Therefore, we have launched the website to help out university students with the entire exchange application and planning process.

One of the first things that perhaps comes to mind are the financials. How am I going to afford a move to a foreign country and then pay for the exchange and all expenses that come with it myself? Well, there are many great opportunities to help you do exactly that; there are many great scholarships in Denmark for doing an exchange abroad.

How do I find these scholarships, and will they ever consider granting one to me? That is the first question many students ask because it can seem like a jungle at first. Furthermore, as a full-time student, life, balancing with friends, family and a student job can perhaps seem overwhelming. However, fear not! With this simple overview of necessary documents, you can easily get started with applying for a scholarship. For scholarship applications you will need the following:

Crisp frontpage with an application overview. We can tell you that this is not a need to have document and you can discard it if you like. However, our experience has taught that it provides a more professional image to your profile and makes it a lot more appetizing for the fund manager.

Motivational letter. This is the document that binds everything in your application together. In your motivational letter you explain who you are, what you are currently doing and why you are applying to this scholarship. In other words, you showcase your personality to the fund managers, and this is where you can really stand out. So do yourself a favor and take time to write a great personal motivational letter that really shows who you are and why you need that specific scholarship.

Cover letter. It is a very good idea to attach a CV or resume to your application as it can provide the fund manager with an extended view on who you are as a person and what you are capable of. In the end, it is yourself as a person you are trying to sell and therefore it can be beneficial to display your working experience on the application. If you have recently made a brand new and updated CV, simply attach this. If this is not the case, consider updating your CV before attaching it to your application.

Budget overview. Fund managers will have to see an overview of the expected expenses you will encounter during your exchange abroad. Likewise, they will also need to see what kind of income you will receive during that exact time period. It is important as it helps fund managers to distinguish whether or not you might need their specific scholarship. When making a budget be sure to include every kind of possible expense there might be. This could be anything from insurance to visa or e.g. vaccinations.

Recommendations. A recommendation is not necessarily a must-have but it will take you a long way if you make the effort to get one. Sometimes, fund managers require a recommendation in order for you to even apply. However, make the effort to ask a professor or teacher if they would be willing to make one for you personally. From our experience, this is something many teachers are happy to do and what is the worst thing that can happen? A simple no. Ask the professors in the subjects that you have the highest grades in to increase your chances and the credibility of your recommendation.

Other attachments. There are other attachments that you might need to include in your application and it often varies. However, some fund managers will need to receive your annual tax returns, or Årsopgørelse(in Danish), to see your financials for the previous year. Other relevant documents might be the acceptance letter sent to you by the exchange university. This will often come much later in the process and even after you start applying for scholarships but do not worry as this is something fund managers are aware of and therefore it can be sent later. A document that is often demanded is your transcript from your current university which is very easy to get. If you do not know how to get this, simply try to reach out to fellow classmates or the university administration. Last but not least, some fund managers require you to inform them of any other scholarships or funding that you have applied for or received.

Another piece of advice that we can share with you is to get started right away once you have decided to go on an exchange to a foreign country. Scholarships are handed out all year and therefore beginning the process early on can help you get more funding. If you feel that the overall process of applying for funding is overwhelming, check out Collectior at Collectior is a brand new website made for helping out university students with exchange to other countries. At Collectior, you'll find a list of scholarships, can get help with budgeting your exchange, and find discounts on insurances for your exchange year.

Hopefully you have a better idea of what is needed in regards to scholarship applications so you can start finding more funding for your adventure abroad!