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Sample of Statement of Purpose To Study Abroad

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Statement of Purpose To Study Abroad:

Nearly all study abroad programs and grant funding organizations require a statement of purpose as a crucial part of the application. Writing a successful statement of purpose for study abroad is a skill developed through patience, practice, and careful research.

Know the audience. The audience is perhaps the most important thing to consider: Who will review the application and make the final decision to fund the study or research abroad? Will the reviewers be experts in the applicant's field? Even the most conscientious and well-informed review panel will struggle through a proposal if it is full of jargon and written to be understood only by specialists.

To receive valuable feedback on making the proposal clear and understandable to as wide an audience as possible, I suggest that the student share a draft of their statement of purpose with a variety of people, including peers and faculty from different disciplines, before submitting it to the campus review committee.

As important as knowing who will be reviewing the application is knowing the criteria by which it will be judged. Are there specific requirements for the scholarship? What are the values of the organization or institution? The statement of purpose must express the common goals of the student and the funding agency.

Be clear and concise. The first sentences of the statement of purpose should say what the applicant is proposing to do. A common mistake is to begin a statement with background information on the topic or a summary of previous research.

Guidelines for the statement of purpose will often ask the applicant to discuss why they want to study abroad. Responses like "expanding global perspective," "increasing cross-cultural communication skills," and "participating in the world economy" have no place in study abroad grant proposals. Such vague and impersonal phrases suggest that the applicant simply wants a paid trip abroad. Cliches can be avoided if the stated objectives of the study or research abroad are specific, realistic, and relate directly to the applicant's future academic and professional goals.

Neatness counts. Given the fierce competition for funding, the appearance of the application is as important as the content. Read the application instructions carefully. Follow the instructions for formatting, and make no mistakes. A superbly written statement of purpose may wind up in the reject bin if the font is not the correct size or difficult to read or if there are typographical or spelling errors. A professional look is essential. The college or university computer service center or a commercial copy shop can to scan the application onto a disk, allowing for word-processing editing. The final application should be printed with a laser printer.

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