Boren Scholarships - Choosing Your Study Abroad Program

The Boren Scholarships fund the study of language and culture in a program of your choosing. The Boren Scholarships do not choose a program for you nor do we recommend or suggest programs. Choosing the right study abroad program is a matter to be decided in consultation with your study abroad office, academic advisors, Boren Campus Representative, as well as other trusted sources. 

These additional resources and considerations may help you find the right study abroad program.


  • Your Home Institution Study Abroad, Financial Aid, and Academic Advisor Office: These offices should be your first resources before and during the application.
  • Boren Campus Representative: These are home institution staff members who are familiar with the Boren Scholarships and the application process. 
  • IIE Passport: This is an online study abroad directory with more than 7,000 study abroad programs for you to discuss with your home institution staff.
  • The Boren Scholarship Team at IIE: Contact us at or 800-618-NSEP.

Types of Study Abroad Programs

See the below list of various types of study abroad programs eligible for funding through the Boren Scholarships. Remember that the Boren Scholarships do not fund study in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada.

  • U.S. Institution with Its Own Program: Many students enroll in programs run by their own home institution or another university.
  • U.S. College/University Consortium Program: Some U.S. institutions work collaboratively to offer programs for students from different colleges or universities.
  • Study Abroad Organization: These are independent organizations that provide study abroad programs for students.
  • Foreign University/Direct Enrollment: Some students apply to study at foreign universities, which may have special programs for international students, or options to direct enroll.

If you do not see your program type listed above, please contact IIE at or 1-800-618-6737.

Language Considerations

The Boren Scholarships require a language component; therefore, your study abroad program should incorporate opportunities to learn a language in a context that is meaningful to your language proficiency and language learning goals. All study abroad programs do not offer the same opportunities to learn a language. While considering the following issues, you may want to consult with your study abroad office and/or a language instructor from your home institution.

  • Consider your language background. If you already have studied the language, you should consider what opportunities a particular program will provide for you to advance your proficiency. If you have not studied the language, you should consider which program offers you the best opportunities to make substantial progress.
  • Consider language learning coursework. Check to see if the program offers language courses that emphasize rigorous study and practical use of the language leading to increased proficiency. Inquire about classroom contact hours and gauge whether they will be sufficient to increase your language proficiency. Research the program faculty to see if they are native speakers with extensive expertise in teaching foreign students.
  • Consider language learning outside the classroom. See if the program offers opportunities for living in university housing or home-stays where the foreign language will be spoken on a regular basis. Research opportunities offered by the program may facilitate language learning outside the classroom. 

Other Considerations

  • Think about your costs. Look at the program’s website to see the cost breakdown. With the help of your resources listed above, get an idea of costs that may not be included in the program fees.
  • Check with your financial aid office. In many cases financial aid may be applicable to overseas study.  Visit your financial aid office for more information.
  • Remember to consider length of study. When looking for programs, remember that the Boren Scholarships give preference to those proposing a full-year (6 months or more) of in-program academic study. The minimum program length requirement for most applicants is one semester, although students majoring in the STEM fields may go overseas for as little as 8 weeks. 
  • Consider the academic content of the program. While language study should be a substantial component of your program, consider looking into the additional academic coursework offered by the program. Many programs include a language component, while also incorporating other academic courses pertaining to specific fields of interest. Think about your field of study and what makes sense to you. 
  • Consider the in-country program support system. Some programs have full-time U.S. resident directors who help to overseas the academic and cultural programs, while others do not. Think about the amount of on-the-ground support you would like. 

For additional information on how your study abroad choice fits the Boren preferences, please see the Boren Scholarships Preferences page.

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