Summer Travel Grant FAQs
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How many awards are given each year?
This number varies from year to year depending on funding available.
How much is the award?
The awards are up to $3,000.
How competitive is the application process?
The program for 2021 is open to students from any college, but they must have a proposed project that relates to their area of study. Priority will be given to students who have completed 2 years of language work in the relevant language prior to the intended travel; have no prior travel experience in the area of travel; and are Asian Studies majors. Awardees must be enrolled at Cornell in the semester following travel. Applicants should have a strong cumulative GPA, a well-articulated project, and submit an appropriate budget. We try to be fair and award proportionately to each country, and make sure that less-represented countries have an equal shot. This means that students who apply to go to East Asia may face stiffer competition than students who apply to go to South or Southeast Asian countries.
I've only taken one year of Asian language, can I apply?
Yes, you can apply as long as you have a firm commitment to taking a second year of language when you return. However, please be aware that you will face stiff competition from students who have more language experience (have already completed 2 or 3 years). Priority will be given to the students with more experience, though we have made awards to students in their first year of language study.
I've never taken any Asian language, can I apply?
No - these travel awards are for students studying an Asian language at Cornell University.
What if I've already been to the country?
The answer depends on the time and nature of your travel/visit to the country and the pool of applicants any given year. Travel awards are designed primarily for students who have worked hard to study a language, but have not been able to travel to the country, so applications from students who have not traveled to the country before will be given a higher priority than other applications.
I'm a freshman, can I apply?
Yes, freshmen can apply. However, priority will be given to students who have completed 2 years of language work in the relevant language prior to the intended travel; will be continuing study on Cornell campus following travel; and have no prior travel experience in the area of travel. We have awarded to first-year students in the past, but not many.
I'm a senior, can I apply?
Unfortunately you cannot. The Asian travel award competition is for individuals who will be continuing studies on the Cornell campus following their travel.
I'm a graduate student, can I apply?
No, these travel awards are only for Cornell University undergraduate students. Graduate students should check with the East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia area program offices to find out about other opportunities.
I'm not an Asian Studies major; do I still have a chance?
Absolutely! We want to encourage students from all colleges, majors, and minors at Cornell to benefit from the opportunity to spend a summer in Asia to further study the language, or to explore the area and culture of an Asian country.
I'm not in the Arts College, can I apply?
Yes, but priority is given to Asian Studies Majors and Minors.
What do I have to do while I'm abroad?
As a part of the application process we ask that you formulate a plan of activities for your travel experience. We ask that you spend at least 3 weeks in the country of your choice, and longer, if possible. This could include participating in a course of study, taking an unpaid internship, volunteer work within the country, or travel to various parts of the country. The only thing you can not do is work at a paying job.
Can I work while I'm abroad?
You may work in a volunteer situation while abroad, but only in an unpaid position (either an unpaid internship or volunteer work). You may not work at a paying job.
Do I have to enroll in a summer language program?
No, you do not, although some students choose to do so. It will certainly help with your language skills and provide a setting to meet people, and may help extend the length of time you can stay in a country on a budget of $3,000. However, we do not mandate that you study language while abroad - the choice is yours to make.
Who will help me plan my trip?
Travelers are expected to create their own itineraries and make their own travel reservations, and to be mindful of requirements for immunizations, insurance coverage, and Department of State advisories regarding travel abroad. However, your language teachers and teaching assistants are great resources, as many of them travel to Asian countries very often. They may be able to guide you on everything from airline fares to do-not-miss attractions. They may also know of language or study programs, or volunteering organizations. If you are granted the award and decide to go, we highly recommend contacting your instructor and asking for their advice.
How long do I have to stay abroad?
We ask that you stay abroad at least 3 weeks, and longer if possible. We do understand that many students need to take a summer job at home and will not be able to spend the entire summer abroad. We feel that 3 weeks is the minimum amount of time needed to begin to experience the country, and not just get a tourist's view.
What do I have to do when I get back?
Upon return, we ask that you submit a 10-page report on your summer experiences, and a copy of your plane tickets/stubs to prove that you traveled. And that's it! The deadline to submit your reports will be in the following September. Some students may be asked to make a brief presentation at the Asian Studies Fall orientation program. We also welcome any digital pictures that we can add to our website.
What if extenuating circumstances force me to cancel my trip?
When circumstances allow it, at the discretion of the scholarship committee, you may be able to postpone or re-plan your trip for the following summer or to a time prior to your graduation. You should maintain contact with the department if circumstances develop that might force cancellation.