Equatorial Guinea Study Abroad Scholarships
Once in a Lifetime Study Opportunities
If the mass appeal of France or Italy or the eastern draw of China or Japan doesn’t entice your study abroad sensibilities, you may be looking for something a little more adventurous to accent your college career. Though West Africa might not be the first place you think of when you picture yourself poring over ancient languages at some foreign university, Equatorial Guinea on the West African coast might just be the place for you.
Don’t let its diminutive size fool you – this country may be small, but is reportedly rich in corrupt politicians, reserves a regular headline for political coups of the week, and has engaged major oil players in its wealthy petroleum resources. While its structure and political system is not naturally set up to be the most welcoming of environments for students, it is one that is sure to fascinate once it’s been gotten past.
This study abroad opportunity is not for the faint of heart or the unprepared student traveler. The typical African miasma is present—poor healthcare, poor people, and poor leadership—while the high-dollar distractions ironically attract the most media hype for the country’s sensational headlines. But above and beyond the standard issues of the mainstream, students and scholars may engage in studies related to biodiversity, politics or healthcare that, for the right student waiting to delve into them, promise huge leaps in development and social change.
Huge strides in social medicine, sustainability and politics are needed in the country, and studies of these key subjects are attracting smart students in these fields from all over the world. Those who are searching for scholarship funding and financial aid for their trip to Equatorial Guinea will be pleased to find some monetary compensation for their high-adventure academia abroad. Below we have listed some of the best bets for funding to study and explore the country, both from the federal government and from private colleges.
Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are awarded to hundreds of underprivileged undergraduates each year. The generous awards offer Pell Grant recipients, who are necessarily low-income, a financial leg up in the realm of international study.
Students who were once neglected by study abroad programs because of their monetary status are now engaging on an international plane and gaining experience for the rest of their lives in such non-traditional destinations as Equatorial Guinea. Eligible applicants must be undergraduate students from a four-year or two-year institution. Students with multiple social and economic challenges are encouraged, and their academics must also be top-notch. Awards are a maximum of $7,000.
African countries on the whole continue to be of extreme interest to national security. Many of these underdeveloped and developing nations, including Equatorial Guinea, are areas of significant concern to the US in the realm of healthcare, economy, and politics. For this reason, the National Security Education Program funds study abroad to such regions as a way of beefing up its own resources through offering training to enthusiastic youth.
The David L. Boren Scholarships are awarded to upper level undergraduate and graduate students with a primary interest in national security careers. Boren Scholars are usually engaged in intensive language and culture studies, or in other fields related to the sciences, politics, international affairs or technology. Following graduation, participants are placed in national security jobs where they ideally will use their knowledge of Equatorial Guinea. Awards are between $20,000 and $25,000 and cover a year of study abroad for this excellent package deal offered by the federal government.
West African Research Association
The West African Research Association (WARA) is funded in large part by the U.S. State Department and is part of Boston University’s Center for African Studies. The purpose of WARA is to facilitate programs between U.S. and West African scholars, between students and professionals that increase cultural understanding and at the same time provide viable scholarly collaboration between the coasts.
Part of the WARA program includes fellowships for students wishing to conduct research in Equatorial Guinea or another West African country. Students will want to have a well-defined and intentional plan of research or study in Equatorial Guinea before applying for one of these esteemed opportunities:
- WARA Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowships are specially designed for students in the early stages of dissertation research. Applicants may be in their last year of graduate work with a clearly defined dissertation proposal. Research must be able to be conducted over the course of a summer term. Awards cover all travel expenses plus $3,000.
- WARA Post-Doctoral Fellowships are designed specifically for those scholars beyond dissertation work. Scholars must be able to complete research over the summer term. Awards again cover travel and an extra $3,000 cash.
The Center for Education Abroad at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania offers many foreign study choices, among them a program in Biodiversity and Economic Development in Equatorial Guinea. This intensive semester-long course engages students in service learning, fieldwork in biodiversity and packages the whole in cultural curricula. The purpose is to provide a full understanding of the challenges faced by contemporary West African countries trying to fend for themselves in a rapidly globalizing world and at he same time take inventory of natural resources and ecosystems at risk.
Students may apply for the program scholarships awarded on the basis of financial need, primarily, and then merit. Between $500 and $2,000 may be awarded per student for this comprehensive and unique program for all-inclusive study in Equatorial Guinea. The program is offered on and off in conjunction with several other programs in Africa, so check with Arcadia directly to see when they are offering it.
Drexel University’s Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program
The Bioko Biodiversity Protection course is a very special program opportunity that provides the means for eight students per class to delve deep into the flora and fauna of Equatorial Guinea. Individual research projects may be carried out at the Moka Wildlife Center on the island of Bioko, which is part of Equatorial Guinea. Students will busy themselves with courses through the National University of Equatorial Guinea in Malabo, the capital, and explore topics of tropical biodiversity conservation. For housing, students will alternately live in group housing in the city and tents when in the rural locales.
Any student interested in advancing their language skills and ecological passions in this unique biosphere should consider this program, which provides credit in environmental science courses as well as a great experience to put on a resume. Spots are available for both a fall and winter term. As a bonus, because this is a program sponsored by Drexel University, all of a student’s financial aid that they are currently receiving will travel with them, including any scholarships they may have.
More Opportunities Available in Equatorial Guinea
Arcadia University most definitely has the monopoly on the small pool of study abroad programs in Equatorial Guinea, but those available through schools like Drexel and Boston University are also strong and are well backed with funding. If you have gotten in touch with your school’s study abroad office, financial aid office and/or West African studies department to see what they offer in terms of scholarship funding, you have already taken the first step towards creating a comprehensive financial package for yourself.
Many schools will even let you create your own study abroad program to the country of your choice in the event that they don’t have a specific program already established with that country. Check with your university to see if they offer this option, as more than likely they will not have a program in the small country of Equatorial Guinea already in place. If not at one of the few schools with a study abroad program for the country, you are more likely to have success with government resources like the Boren and Gilman scholarships offered to those who are low-income or willing to work for their education.
The West African Research Association will prove to be a helpful overall resource to you as you plan your studies, as their primary purpose is to encourage academic flow between the US and West Africa through students like you. Something you may even want to consider taking initiative in is individual membership in WARA to further plant yourself as a serious student of the region and have access to all of its resources. Any student deeply driven to study in the arresting country of Equatorial Guinea should be able to find an appropriate option from the few available monies in this niche arena of pursuit.