Funding International Travel

6441760-flags-globe-with-world-map-original-vector-illustrationFunding international travel, research, and conference experiences has been on everyone’s mind lately. Between a big NSF announcement and a university wide effort to increase Fulbright visibility (join the Iowa Fulbright group!), everyone seems to be thinking of going abroad.

In addition, Anna Hoffman, from UI College of Education recently contacted me for an interview about international travel funding. I was featured alongside my buddy from International Programs, Karen Wachsmuth. Karen handles Fulbright, DAAD, Boren, and Stanley awards here at Iowa. I handle a mish-mash of other international opportunities including Chateaubriand, IDRF, AAUW, and pretty much anything else you find in your SPIN and Grants 4 Hawks Searches.

During my interview, I offered Anna the following three pieces of advice about funding international travel.

1)       Be flexible. At age 24, I wanted to teach in Australia, and ended up getting an offer to teach in Germany. I went from knowing almost nothing about Bavaria to having it become one of my favorite places! This is not an unusual story; part of the magic of international study is growing from the experiences you don’t expect.

2)       Start early. Big opportunities (such as those offered by Fulbright) not only require well-developed proposals, but also language study, testing, and sometimes in-country experiences. It also helps to have an early record of success with smaller opportunities such as travel grants, conferences, and/or trips to archives.

3)       Find a Mentor (and other readers!). Nobody can replace a strong faculty mentor when you are developing your research project. Work closely with them to develop your project, gently remind them of deadlines, and make they have the information they need to support you. You will also want to find “educated generalists” that can read your proposal and help keep it clear and jargon-free. This is the kind of reading I do for students, but you can also work with [Anna and Liz J maybe? ] through the COE Grant and Research Services Center, Karen Wachsmuth at International Programs, or another reader.

Are you a University of Iowa graduate student who wants to find funding for international research? Contact dsp-gradgrants@uiowa.edu and I will connect you with the best resources for your needs. Undergrad? Contact the Kelly Thornburg from the UI Honors Program for the best resources.

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