Cameroon Study Abroad Scholarships
Overseas Study - An Integral Part of a 21st Century Education
Cameroon may not seem like the first thing to come to mind when choosing exotic locales to study abroad, but once you zoom in and focus on the map a number of reasons to seek out Cameroon as a study abroad program become clear. The African destination country is a smorgasbord of fiery culture, many languages, and a plethora of geographical environments. There is also pertinent safety to be considered – Cameroon is also one of the least likely to erupt in civil unrest.
Aside from the American student’s desires to go and expand foreign knowledge and experience, there is a strong altruistic point in traveling to Cameroon as well. It is a country in dire need of medical aid and expanded education systems.
Many students and scholars seek out the region for an opportunity to participate in the ongoing HIV/AIDs-related programs in the rural districts and the cities. Research for posterity, history, and improvement needs to be done on the socio-political front, booming sustainable development, and the local art and culture. An American student is faced with a thousand faces of Cameroon to explore, develop, and learn from upon arrival. Any student with a strong desire to spend time in Cameroon is presented with the following options from the government, study abroad organizations, and private colleges for financing their travels and studies:
West African Research Association
The West African Research Association (WARA) maintains headquarters at the University of Florida, Boston University, Indiana University and Dakar, Senegal. The organization, funded in part by the State Department, is in the business of providing students, scholars and organizations with the resources to engage in American-West African communication and collaboration. Scholarships made possible through WARA include:
- WARA Pre-Doctoral Fellowships are given to eligible applicants for a summer of research in Cameroon or another West African country. Candidates must have a viable outline that clearly describes research to be conducted leading to a dissertation. Besides travel expenses, recipients also are awarded another $3,000.
- WARA Post-Doctoral Fellowships are available once the dissertation is done for those scholars with additional research studies to work on. Criteria are similar to the pre-doctoral fellowships as are the monetary awards.
See the WARA information page for programming through Boston University for how to apply.
Fulbright Scholarships to Cameroon are fully funded and best suited to doctoral level students whose primary studies are in the health sciences, including HIV/AIDs research. Other programs of focus may include political or social sciences and technology. These awards are extremely competitive. Eligible applicants should have skills with French, the primary language. Only the most serious candidates should consider this scholarship – applying for it is practically a full-time job.
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are hotly contested among undergraduate Pell Grant recipients. The program is a design of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is intended to provide traditionally underrepresented students, particularly those limited financially, with the necessary funds to participate in unique and challenging study abroad programs, such as Cameroon. Awards are up to $7,000 and are handed out to a few hundred qualified students annually.
David L. Boren Scholarships
Undergraduate and graduate students alike may qualify for slightly different versions of the David L. Boren Scholarships. The goal of this well-funded program is to train and recruit the next generation of national security personnel as well as turn out a highly trained, internationally savvy generation of Americans. Applicants are encouraged to seek out challenging and non-traditional destinations, such as Cameroon, and those of interest to the federal government. The preservation and maintenance of the currently enjoyed safety in Cameroon makes it fit the bill in this regard. Awards up to $25,000 are bundled with scholarship for service agreements. Preference is given to those applicants who express a career interest in national security, and in this case, preserving established peace.
Study Abroad Organizations
Participants in the Cameroon program through the School for International Training (SIT) have the unique opportunity to explore “Social Pluralism and Development” in the country. From a cultural standpoint students survey the epic number of ethnic groups all working to live harmoniously, and from the development stance students explore how Cameroon maintains its best qualities while all around it is changing. SIT scholarships include:
- The Compton Fund which provides scholarships to participants who are engaging in an SIT program that focuses on the environment or development, such as Cameroon. Preference is given to financially needy students who are also minority.
- The SIT Fund which represents the pool of most widely awarded scholarships. Almost any student may qualify on the basis of financial need. Awards vary based on need.
- The Diversity Fund scholarships are reserved for those applicants most underrepresented in study abroad programs, such as minority groups or those very financially and socially disadvantaged.
- The HBCU Scholarships go to participants from a Historically Black College who also present proof of financial need.
- The Sally Bragg Baker Scholarships are special awards that recognize remarkable female participants. Candidates are chosen for their dedication to multicultural exchange and passion for peace and understanding.
Whether you are focused on a specific area of research, like the environment, or you come from an underrepresented background, such as African-American, you will want to make sure and apply for one of these generous SIT scholarships. See their website for details on applying to this competitive program.
The University of Maryland (UMD) offers a summer study abroad program in Cameroon. The course is designed to be a “theoretical ‘journey’ in post-colonial studies.” UMD provides general study abroad scholarships to students with at least a 3.0 GPA as well as demonstrated financial need for the funds. Up to $2,000 may be awarded depending on need and number of recipients.
Opportunities in Cameroon
Because of the country’s small size and the specific nature of work and research that needs to be done there, the more direct and particular you are about your intentions in Cameroon, the better your chances are of getting scholarships from individuals and organizations who are in direct support of your work. The driven student will outline a detailed plan of why they feel a study in Cameroon will be beneficial to them, what they have to offer the country and what they expect the country has to benefit them.
Keep in mind other local organizations such as community centers and cultural and travel foundations that may have additional scholarship funding to offer you. Get in touch with your school’s study abroad office to inquire further into their West African programs, or perhaps even build a personalized foreign research program of your own to Cameroon.