International experiences that boost your CV

Cape Reinga

As I near the end of my undergraduate years I must think carefully about my next steps. What will I do? Where will I go? Oh, and how?

The elusive real world no longer feels so abstract. I have to think about how I fare against a qualified and competitive workforce. Well, for me this is a little different. I am applying for postgraduate study and I feel comfortably nestled in the world of academia. Still, graduate admissions don’t come easy. I strongly believe the major bonus to my applications are my international experiences.

Studying and working abroad are excellent ways to boost your CV. They are also huge character building processes. In the last two years, I have studied in New Zealand and worked in the Netherlands. I also fit some ‘just-for-fun’ travelling in between.

Auckland skyline
Auckland skyline by night. Photos from my exchange.

Financially, I used to think such escapades were pipe-dreams. Many of you might be thinking the same thing. I’ve put together a short list of great ways to gain experiences abroad that also offer financial support.

PS. You can click on the headings for more info! 

Principal’s Go Abroad Fund 

PGAF intends to aid short-term international excursions that have some benefit to you and aren’t necessarily academic. It awards at least (!) 250 students with between £350 and £700. You are in complete control over how you spend your time, but if you need some inspiration head to the Go Abroad page.

Erasmus Grants

If you want to gain some real working experience, Erasmus Grants are available. These allow you to take up exciting internships or traineeships in Europe. You can snap up exciting partnerships already recognised by Erasmus, but you are also welcome to find your own internship. Different amounts are available depending on where you go and what you are doing. You must also spend at least 2 months abroad.

Leiden canals
Canals in Leiden at sunset. Photos from my Erasmus internship in the Netherlands.

Global Study Awards

A huge £10,000 scholarship is up for grabs here. GSA hopes to enable more young people to study abroad in tertiary education. GSA offers the award to both undergraduates and postgraduates. One condition is to have taken an IELTS test (this is an English language test), as the fund is supported by the British Council IELTS. Native English speakers can take the test too (but at their own cost). Prospective international students interested in Edinburgh should apply!

Global Experiences

Go Overseas gives the GE internship opportunities a 94% satisfaction rating. As the name suggests, opportunities exist worldwide. GE assist you with everything, from finding an internship to housing when you get there. They even offer onsite orientations and assign you a dedicated Program Advisor. An incredible $25,000 in scholarships has been pledged, and affordable financing options are available. Check out their website for more details.

Projects Abroad

Interested in volunteering? Projects Abroad offer programs ranging from agriculture to medical care. The cost of these projects may seem daunting at first, but a lot of support and insurances are included. Even better – the team at Project Abroad help you successfully fundraise for your selfless expedition!


Top Tip: Student Finance offers higher loans and travel grants for eligible students who participate in an exchange.


These are just some ideas to get you started, but there are so many sources of funding out there if you dig a little deeper. I have researched them all extensively, so get in touch if you have any questions!