Welcome back to my struggle story of how to prepare for studying abroad! Just kidding everyone. Fear not! Your heroine has returned for a listicle of tips and suggestions for all you Indigenous baby scholars.
Plan ahead and create a budget!Giphy
Depending on where you are traveling abroad, you may need more or less than what you expect. Research currency changes so that you can study in a place that is amazing and affordable. Talk to your financial aid office and see what they can do. Their job is to help students with finances and available options that best suit their needs. My financial aid office helped with showing me which scholarships will roll over to my study abroad institution and how much I would need to pay on my own.
Ask your college/uni for in-house funds or extra moneyGiphy
This follows the first tip. Your school may have supplemental funds or unknown scholarships to help students with specific criteria. As a native student, you may qualify for much of this money (*cough, cough* reparations). Please ask and schedule an appointment to make sure.
Search a year or semester in advance for study abroad scholarships!Giphy
Don't hold yourself back and apply to as many as you can! I highly recommend the Gilman Scholarship! Seriously, there is money out there waiting to be spent and you are no less deserving than the next. The key here is proactive research and LOTS of writing essays. Use that beautiful mind of yours and put it all out there, leave nothing out. You can do this. I promise there's no one else like you out there.
Ask – no – DEMAND your money from your local government!Giphy
I have no shame calling out my government. Our scholarship office outright said that they do not fund study abroad experiences unless they are a specific program/degree requirement. Because, "Students will take advantage of it and go just to go." Okay, and? Nothing is wrong with studying abroad and I ENCOURAGE ALL TO DO IT. You deserve to see the world and your ancestors would want you to receive the best it has to offer. Do NOT let your own people hold you back. Make your case, demand action, and do not remain passive.
Write to local businesses, banks, restaurants, etc. for financial supportGiphy
I found this out in high school, but you are allowed to write local businesses for money. Write them a letter of intent of what the money will be used for. Schedule a time to meet with a representative or owner to work out any details. Be clear, honest, and yourself. This is essentially a partnership so do your best to make a compromise and witness humanity at its realest. Just be sure to write, proofread, and rewrite the letter so that it sweeps everyone off their feet!
Set up an online donation accountGiphy
There are several third party sites like GoFundMe that help people collect money and it is completely legit. However, most will take a percentage depending on how big the amount donated will be. Just budget for it and you should be fine. There's also tons of banking and budgeting apps to get you started with donations from friends, family, family friends, mentors, etc.
This also follows the first point. Depending on where you want to study, you'll need to know how much to save for. Nothing wrong with saving money up from a small job during breaks or during the school year. It's hard work, but most dreams and goals require quite a bit of sacrifice and planning to come true.
Host an event! Powwow, song & dance, food sales, collection dance, yard sale, etc.Giphy
Now this one is a team effort. If you have the support and means that will not cost you more than you want to make, you do this one! I guarantee that if your government or financial aid office let you down, your community and relatives will always have your back. As a native student, I know you all got lots of cousins to spare for help. Go ask and see if this is something you can all do. It is also a chance to make the best memories, though it will require time, money, and A LOT of planning.
Round up your spare change and cash it outGiphy
We all got random change laying around the house or piling in areas we forgot about. Go scrounge around and collect what you can. You'll surprise yourself of how every penny helps and adds up quickly. There are machines that will give cash in return for coins (they also take a percentage of the money and your coins have to be clean enough for the machine accept).
Sell your indigenous art or skillsGiphy
If you're one of those artistic and creative Natives, unlike me, this is your chance to put your name out there and get rewarded for your work. No harm in doing something you're good at while working towards a valuable experience.
Underrated tip! Prayer has gotten me through so much and speaking your needs and hopes into existence carries more power than you know. However, this is only half of the work and the rest is up to you!
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