Fundraising to support your studies

When international students think about funding their postgraduate studies in the UK most think first about scholarships. However, many enterprising international students successfully secure private funding for their studies. One such student is Nevena Skobic (postgraduate student from Serbia studying a master’s in Chinese studies at the University of Oxford). Here, she gives us her tips on how to go about securing private funding to achieve your UK postgraduate study dreams!

Over to you Nevena:

It’s impossible to cover all the private funding types each country offers, so I’ll bring up some examples and sources of private funding that may exist in your home country:

  1. Start your own crowdfunding campaign – with the help of your friends and family, you can share your story on the internet and let the audience donate. Sending a young hopeful from their country to a prestigious university by donating a little bit will undoubtedly be exciting for them and make them feel proud. Useful crowdfunding platforms include GoFundMe and JustGiving;

  2. Search for the firms and companies interested in providing financial support – these can be large corporations with the local branches in your home country, or even small, developing companies that would gladly invest in a young and bright student who would be willing to use gained knowledge and skills to boost their businesses in return. This way, you could also be guaranteed a job right after you’ve completed your studies;

  3. Look for education-related organisations, institutions, associations, charities and NGOs – you can contact both UK charities and those in your home country. Check out this list of registered UK charities . They may offer financial support or, at least, advise you on how to obtain some funding;

  4. Get in touch with celebrities in your country – whether they are famous sportsmen, businessmen, actors, academics, members of the royal family or scientists, I’m sure that getting into a prestigious UK university will wow them so that they’d be more than happy to promote you on their influential social media accounts and/or launch a crowdfunding campaign. Additionally, many celebrities own their funds and humanitarian organisations, so they may be willing to donate too;

  5. Visit the relevant Ministry of Education/Government website and/or contact them – many countries’ governments or Ministries of Education offer funding opportunities for their students who wish to study abroad, so you may find this type of search quite useful;

  6. Reach out to the media – let your voice be heard and your story be told to the broader masses! Don’t hesitate to rely on the media’s role in gathering the necessary financial means for they’d definitely be proud to be the ones who’ll share your story and speak about how you have been admitted to an outstanding top-class university! They’ll be able to attract more readers/viewers and you’ll be exposed to numerous companies and organisations who may hear about you this way. Hundreds of generous countrymen may donate if you decide to promote your crowdfunding campaign. It really is a win-win situation, isn’t it?

  7. Look for the local scholarship branches – the government and relevant Ministries in your home country may cooperate with some well-known scholarship foundations. For example, University of Cambridge’s PEXIM Scholarship that is offered to the students from Serbia and North Macedonia is listed among scholarships on Ministry of Youth and Sports’ website. This may facilitate your scholarship and/or private funding research.

Even though gaining any sort of funding may be difficult, don’t give up at the very beginning and try to explore as many funding options as possible. You may be surprised with the results of your search!

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Nevena Skobic
Nevena is a postgraduate student from Serbia studying Chinese Studies at Oxford
Published on 12 May 2021
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