HI USA’s new Explore the World program is an exciting opportunity providing 98 $2,000 travel scholarships to young adults interested in taking an educational or service learning journey. It’s received a lot of interest, which means it’s really important to submit a compelling application that conveys your passion and commitment to learn, grow, and give back if selected.
To help you put your best foot forward, here are 7 tips to keep in mind when writing your application:
1. Follow directions.
First, make sure you are eligible to receive the award before starting the application. Review the program details so you know what’s expected of you, and make sure you are answering the question that is asked.
2. Have a journey in mind.
We are looking for applicants who already have an educational or service oriented trip they want to take. You don’t have to have all the details worked out, but pin down your overarching goal: study abroad, volunteering with youth in a developing country, a language immersion program, etc. Provide detail about the type of work/travel you would be doing and any other information that shows you’re committed to this trip.
3. Know your purpose.
In addition to knowing what you want to do, be clear about why you want to do it. How will this journey help you reach your personal or professional goals? What kind of impact can you make on the community you’re visiting and what skills/knowledge will you bring home? Paint the picture of the greater good this trip will create. For inspiration, read testimonials from past scholarship recipients.
4. Consider logistics.
While $2,000 is a lot of money, it most likely won’t cover everything. To ensure award recipients can actually take the journey they’re proposing, we want to make sure you can cover the other costs. Let us know you’ve thought this through, including how much you anticipate the whole trip will cost and how you will pay the balance.
5. Let your passion shine through.
Your submission doesn’t need to be a formal essay. Rather, your responses should give us a sense of your personality and make us feel your passion to take this journey. Let us in on what inspires you and make us believe the world will be a better place once you return home.
6. Choose your words carefully.
Each question has a maximum response of 200 words. That can go really quickly when you’re describing a travel opportunity you’re passionate about! Consider typing your responses on a separate Word document first. This allows you to print, review, revise, and come back to it a few days later with a fresh perspective.
7. Get a second set of eyes.
Using the Word document you created, have a friend, family member, professor, or coworker read your application before submitting it. Not only will they help catch typos, they may have valuable insight as an unbiased third party about how to strengthen your story. Once you have their feedback, copy and paste your final answers into the online form.
If you don’t get selected this year, you can always try again next year. And in the meantime, you can have an international experience right in your own backyard. Stay in any of our more than 50 hostels nationwide, and you’ll meet travelers from more than 100 countries without the cost of an overseas plane ticket! You can also volunteer with us and share the place you call home with an international community of travelers. If you would like to learn about other HI USA programs, please join our travel scholarship mailing list.
Best of luck and happy travels!