Benin Study Abroad Scholarships
Study in Benin - Healthcare, Anthropology, Language Studies
Benin in Western Africa may be small and relatively unknown, but there are certainly students and scholars who choose to conduct studies and research there. Benin is poor, like many Sub-Saharan countries. There are healthcare shortages and crises—HIV/AIDS and malaria are a constant problem—as well as a poor educational system. Benin is a former French colony that gained independence in 1960, followed by a tumultuous period of political coups and instability. It now operates under a representative form of government and leaders are trying to halt corruption and foster the nation’s economic growth. French is the official language, though there are a handful of tribal languages dominant in certain regions.
Students engaged in anthropological and economic development projects will be right at home in Benin. There are few formal study abroad programs designed for Benin, and even fewer for students below a graduate or post-graduate level. Instead, look for scholarships and fellowships that target dissertation, thesis or independent study.
Fulbright Program Scholarships are some of the most competitive awards, thanks to their generosity and prestige. In addition, the Fulbrights often fund scholarly travel where others do not, such as Benin. The Fulbright Program offers grants to Benin for U.S. students and young professionals who want to pursue independent research, and to scholars who want to teach or conduct research in Benin. In addition, U.S. faculty and professional are eligible to apply for the Fulbright Specialist Program. The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants for two to six weeks. Participants must be fluent in French. The organization provides travel and healthcare warnings and recommends in-country universities where participants might focus their studies. Fulbright scholars to Benin can study an array of disciplines.
The West African Research Association (WARA) is funded by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Education and provides many programs headquartered at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal. Its programs are administered through partner universities and colleges. The goal of the organization is to provide scholarly collaborative programs including fellowship opportunities:
- WARA Pre-Doctoral Fellowships cover the cost of round-trip travel in addition to a $3,500 stipend to candidates who are finalizing their dissertation topic or are conducting research related to the completion of a master’s degree. Fellowships cover a summer term abroad in Benin or another West African country. Applicants be conversant in an African language spoken where they will be conducting research.
- WARA Post-Doctoral Fellowships are similar, except that they are specifically designed for scholars no longer working on dissertation projects. Awards are the same and study occurs in the summer term, as well.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison annually awards two generous Scott-Kloeck Jensen Fellowships to students in the Global Studies Program who have a focus on social justice issues. The SKJ International Internship Fellowship supports graduate students working towards a doctorate, while the International Pre-Dissertation Travel Fellowship supports overseas travel to field research sites for doctoral students. Awards are typically cover travel expenses. Recipients often are vying for sponsorship to developing areas in Africa, including Benin.
The University of Pittsburgh administers two scholarships through its African Heritage Room for study abroad opportunities anywhere in Africa. The African Heritage Room Committee awards $5,000 to an undergraduate. The Beulah Glasco Memorial Award, $3,500, is earmarked for graduates.