How to Apply for International Scholarships as a Nigerian Student

How to apply for international scholarships in Nigeria
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Do not be deceived that you don’t need education to succeed in life. Education in any of its diverse forms, is critical for the success of both individuals and a nation as a whole. Whether it is secondary, university, polytechnic/monotechnic, technical college, or vocational school. Education equips people with necessary skills to create and multiply wealth, as well as provide for their needs. And you can apply for international scholarships as a Nigerian student to get the best education for yourself.


You usually need to spend little or none of your money when you acquire an international scholarship (or a local scholarship). But you must acquaint yourself fully with the conditions before you proceed with it.

Do I Need an International Scholarship?

Know that your background and peculiar needs will determine which form of education is best for you, or affordable. For those individuals not particularly inclined to much scholarly work and extensive study, vocational or technical schools are critically recommended. Even those interested in acquiring top academic qualifications may still need vocational training at one point or another – we understand that. This is a cheaper and more practical-oriented basis for learning.

Nevertheless, the accorded respect and unlimited opportunities for social and career advancement that often comes with high academic qualifications, is well worth it.That is, if you can afford it. We know quality education can be expensive in the modern day. That is where scholarships (and grants) come to the rescue of the average Nigerian student. If you are ready to justify receiving quality education and enviable academic qualifications with stellar performance, then go for a scholarship. By all means do so.

There are myriads of local and international scholarships you can apply for as a Nigerian student. But you must be ready to meet the conditions. The primary condition being that you must be able to maintain above-average or exemplary grades throughout your study work.

Scholarship Conditions – Very Important*

You need to know the following about scholarships:

– There are fully-paid scholarships, and also partially-paid scholarships as well. This will be clearly stated during the application process.

– Sponsors/providers of international scholarships will clearly state which countries, communities, social class, gender, or age are eligible to apply. Watch out for those conditions.

– Most scholarship offers will even state the purpose or scope that the scholarship will cover. It could be for specific areas of research, for instance.

– The maximum (or exact) amount that will be awarded will be stated.

– Also, the material costs the scholarship money is intended to pay for will be stated. That should include costs such as tuition fees, food, travel, books and research materials. Whichever of these costs the providers/sponsors intend to cover will be clearly stated.

– Take note also that each scholarship lasts for a specified period of time.

– Virtually every applicant for local and international scholarships in Nigeria must have minimum of 5 Credits in their O’Level certificates. This could be WAEC (GCE or SSCE), NABTEB or NECO certificates.

– There are clear conditions about the minimum academic grades you must have and maintain before applying for each scholarship. In most cases, you must maintain above-average performance. For instance, it is common for scholarship sponsors to insist that undergraduates must maintain a minimum of 3.0 Cumulative GPA or above. Without this, such students may not continue to enjoy the scholarship throughout its duration. The higher your grades, the better your chances of obtaining one or more scholarships.

– There are also categories of students (or applicants) that can apply for each scholarship. Some scholarships are designed to assist undergraduates at a particular course level. It could be new intakes of universities for Bachelor’s degree (100 level); maybe 2nd year; or could be final-year (project stage) students. While some scholarships target Masters, or Doctorate degree students, especially those persons who have embarked on a particular research work.

Factors to Consider Before You Apply for International Scholarships

Before you even venture to apply for international scholarships as a Nigerian student, endeavour to learn more about the host country. Find out about the prevailing conditions in the place. And whether you are ready to handle it financially, socially and otherwise. Going to the internet to make your own independent research is something you must take very seriously.

Language Barrier

By now you should be quite aware that not every foreign nation speaks English as their official language. Expect to learn the language of your target country as fast as possible. You will need it throughout your stay. If you are not comfortable with learning a new language, then by all means target an English-speaking country.

Also note that there could be an advantage to eventually learning more than one language. Learning to speak and write at least one other foreign language could improve your chances of being employed wherever that other language is needed. For instance, in diplomatic missions, corporations, companies or jobs that require knowledge of two or more foreign languages. Your learned French, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, or other language exposes you to more job and relocation opportunities.

Climate of the Target Country

A Nigerian student should expect to encounter climatic conditions different from the tropical climate back home. Particularly if you are proposing to study in Europe, Asia, UK,or the USA – which are the common destinations. These are typically temperate zones that require special, thick clothing during winter. Even Australia can be very hot.

Unless you intend to study in the mediterranean parts of Asia, or South Africa; or tropical India and South America. Or even island nations such as the Caribbean or Pacific regions with somewhat mild weather conditions. Whichever the case, find out about their climate and weather conditions, and how it may affect your health. Then get needed materials ready and prepare ahead.

Social and Cultural Factors

The much-touted ‘cultural shock’ is real. You may need to adapt to the culture and habits of the town, city, or country where you intend to study. It is best to find out about the peculiar nature, laws, culture and habits of your target country. That is, before embarking on the study trip. This will definitely keep you out of trouble.

You also need to find out if there are social challenges to surmount there. And if you can cope with it. For instance, how well do they accommodate foreigners? Is there any racial bias problem? And how have older foreigners who settled in the area been coping?

Availability and Variety of Food

Find out about their local foods, and how well you can adapt to it. Also find out about food vendors that sell Nigerian foods, who may be resident in the target country. Or may be living around the town of your study. Check also the possibility of bringing local food and materials from home with you.

Travel and Living Costs

Does the scholarship condition allow you to work on a part-time basis? And does the school allow you to combine work and study? You need to find out.

Also find out if you have enough money (or access to money) to spend for yourself when necessary. Particularly money that covers travel flights, feeding or getting provisions outside the scholarship money. When such scholarships funds are not yet available at any time, you must be able to fend for yourself. Please endeavour to plan ahead for any such eventuality before everything else. So that you would not end up being stranded, or facing situations beyond your control in a foreign land.

Fellow Nationals That Could be of Assistance

It could be highly beneficial to you to find out if there are fellow responsible Nigerians in your target country. Especially those living or working close to your town of residence. Getting to know such fellow citizens and connecting with them, may prove useful to you along the line. They could help you get critical help or materials, or even shelter you when necessary. If you have a relative that might be of assistance in that country, it will be good to connect with them.

Method of Teaching

You will likely encounter a different mode of teaching in your target country. Something quite different from what you are used to back home. You may face more tasks from, and keener supervision by your lecturers and course advisers. Also be prepared to handle a diverse range of learning tools and resources available both online and offline. The ultimate aim is to bring out the best in you. Be ready to stay focused.

Reasons to Apply for International Scholarships

Course Availability – Not Available in Nigeria

If your desired course is not available in any indigenous tertiary institution in Nigeria, it may propel you to seek for an international scholarship. Take for instance certain specialized engineering courses. Even in tertiary institutions where your intended course may be available, perhaps the school does not have enough teaching resources. You may end up not getting in-depth or thorough training in that course, as one would expect.

Rather than being stranded or frustrated, you can apply for an international scholarship that would take you to schools that offer such courses.

Better Job Opportunities and Living Conditions in the Near Future

Who does not want a better life? The common notion of seeking for greener pastures has been a trend in Nigeria for decades now. An international scholarship is a quick route out of the uncertainties of the Nigerian economy and socio-political landscape. Taking a student visa and acquiring an international scholarship may guarantee you a better future, if God wills it.

Not only do many foreign countries and universities provide better study packages. There are also more rewarding job opportunities available after you complete your studies in such countries. Countries in Europe and North America, some Asian countries and Australia usually offer such incentives.

If you can succeed in extending your stay for up to ten years (in most cases), you may be granted citizenship. You may do this by embarking on more than one consecutive study plan. If you have examined all your options for relocating into that country, and a scholarship is available for you, go ahead. Make good use of it.

Sources of International Scholarships for Nigerian Students

There are various sources of international scholarships for Nigerian students. You need to be alert and search for such opportunities regularly, especially on the internet. They include:

– Bilateral education agreements/cooperation between the Nigerian government and the government of other nations. For instance, between Nigeria and Japan, Nigeria and the USA, Nigeria and the UK, to mention a few. It normally involves student exchange programmes between appointed universities in the two countries. Such bilateral agreements are usually publicized in the schools involved, in newspapers and on the internet.

– Philanthropists and charity organizations within and outside Nigeria also offer international scholarships to top-performing or promising students.

– Religious organizations. Religious leaders and organizations are amongst the foremost sponsors that offer international scholarships to students.

– Numerous individual foreign higher institutions offer international scholarships to Nigerian students who qualify for them. Many European, American, Asian and Australian universities offer international scholarships to foreign students on an annual basis.

– Specialized training institutes and government parastatals in Nigeria (and elsewhere) also offer international scholarships. National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) are such examples.

– International or world bodies, such as WHO, UNESCO, World Bank and a host of others, also offer international scholarships to Nigerian students.

Useful Links

For a detailed list of available local and international scholarships available to Nigerian students (2023), you can read the following article:

Best Scholarship Opportunities for Nigerian Students. Or click THIS LINK.

Also click THIS LINK to check for How to Access Educational Grants in Nigeria.



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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.