Jungles of Borneo: Tiny Brunei is Big on Personality
What Brunei lacks in size, it makes up for in personality. The diminutive Southeastern Asian country of Brunei takes up just one tiny piece of the island of Borneo. (The remainder of this tropical island belongs to Malaysia.) It is at once ancient and modern: It enjoys vast wealth, thanks to extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, but has been ruled by the same family for six centuries and is awash in grand palaces. Popular study programs in Brunei are concentrated on the flora, fauna and indigenous peoples of the epic rainforests of Borneo.
If you want to trek off to Brunei, consider applying for a federally funded scholarship for international study programs. If you are in dire financial need, and are a Pell Grant recipient, you need look no farther than the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships program. It provides more than 2,300 scholarships of up to $5,000 annually for study programs around the globe, including Brunei. The program is reserved for underprivileged and under-represented students who would not otherwise be able to study abroad. Of course, applicants must have above-average academic records, and the more innovative the proposed course of study, the better.
- The Henry Luce Foundation funds dozens of philanthropic educational programs designed to offer top scholars once-in-a-lifetime access to an Asian culture, such as the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE). This would be a perfect fit for Brunei. The unique requirement of the Luce Scholars Program is the fact that the fellowships mix specialists with non-specialist from a range of disciplines, not just Asian studies. However, eligible students must be able to learn the Malay language. Luce Scholars must be recommended for the awards by faculty at their college, so investigate whether your school is affiliated with the Luce Foundation.
- The Council of American Overseas Research Centers offers Multi-Country Research Fellowships to scholars who must work in more than one country. To be eligible, only one country of the student’s choice is required to have an overseas research institute. Brunei does not, but other Asian locations do, such as Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Approximately nine awards of up to $10,500 each are given each year to doctoral or post-doctoral students. (Teams may also apply.)
- The Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre is part of the University of Brunei — and it’s a focal point for international study and research in threatened areas of the Borneo rainforests. The Kuala Belalong is only open to research scientists and assistants, government officials, and graduate and post-graduate students who have an approved program or project. Fellowships to study at the center may be available through your school’s departments of science, botany, biology or other closely related field, or through the study abroad scholarship opportunities. Check with your school officials.
- The Garden Club of America provides 26 merit-based scholarships, including the GCA Awards in Tropical Botany. The scholarship program, administered by the World Wildlife Fund, invites doctoral students to apply for funding allowing them to pursue a course of research in an area like Brunei. This valuable award makes it possible for recipient scholars to conduct research and establish conservation programs. Each year, two or more grants of $5,500 enable field study for tropical plant systematics and forest ecology.