Scholarships for Sri Lanka

Sit Beneath the Ancient Sri Lankan Bodhi Tree

If you didn’t know where Sri Lanka was before the killer Tsunami of 2004, it’s likely that you do now. Thanks to this unfortunate and devastating natural disaster, Sri Lanka is “on the map.” The country is well known for its beauty and its adherence to a strong Buddhist culture. Many students choose study programs in Sri Lanka that emphasize cultural themes, anthropological studies that examine the continuing political and ethnic unrest, and still others, for the chance to explore ancient ruins.

Government Scholarships

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships provide disadvantaged undergraduate students with generous study abroad scholarships. Eligible applicants wishing to study in Sri Lanka must be Pell Grant recipients and possess a strong academic record. This is a federally funded program that hopes the next generations of Americans are exponentially more multicultural and internationally savvy than previous. Gilman Scholars may earn up to $5,000.

The David L. Boren Scholarships are available in undergraduate and graduate versions. This scholarship for service program offers eligible applicants up to $26,000 and a 1-for-1 deal: after graduation recipients work a year for the U.S. government in exchange for a year of scholarship funding. Even better are those applicants who actually are bucking for a long-term career with a national security agency. The most applicable destinations of study are those deemed “of interest” to national security, including Asian countries such as Sri Lanka.

Private Funds

Rotary International funds hundreds of Ambassadorial Scholarships each year, most of which assist students whose abroad studies are focused on humanitarian projects and related programs. Sri Lanka is a country where Rotary-minded students can sink their teeth into projects stemming from sustainable development to rebuilding efforts still in full swing from the 2004 tsunami. Ideal Rotary students have superior academic records, leadership abilities and a strong sense of social responsibility. Recipients must share their Sri Lanka year abroad experience with Rotarians after their return to the U.S. Ambassadorial Scholarships max out at $26,000.

The Blakemore Freeman Fellowships are meted out to graduate students and professionals with at least a 4-year undergraduate degree. Eligible applicants must be able to demonstrate an educational or professional need for advanced Asian language study. While the native language of Sri Lanka is not among those most popularly supported, the Blakemore Fellowships are still open to students who have a demonstrated need to study the Sinhala language in Sri Lanka.

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers funds a generous fellowship program: CAORC Multi Country Research Fellowships. The program is designed to provide Ph.D. students with up to $9,000 for an approved program of research that includes at least two countries in the CAORC network. Eligible applicants interested in pursuing research in Sri Lanka may apply for the fellowship based on their interest in studying at the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies. The nature of these awards indicates that applicants must present innovative and highly evolved research proposals with direct relevance to their intended destination of study.

College Scholarships

University of California-Davis sponsors an annual summer abroad program in Sri Lanka, which is open to all students. Students are eligible to apply for UC-Davis scholarships, some of which change from year to year:

  • STA Travel Scholarships are funded by the student travel organization by the same name and help eligible students offset the heady cost of travel with modest $500 scholarships.
  • UC-Davis International Relations Education Abroad Scholarships also give away $500 awards exclusively to UC-Davis students. Candidates are reviewed on the basis of academics, financial need and the applicability of Sri Lanka to the student’s major and intended career goals.


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