So You Want an International Scholarship Opportunity?

  • Liberty students of all disciples can apply for various scholarships to study abroad, such as the Fulbright Program.
  • From the Fulbright to P.A.R.E. scholarships, Liberty applies its mission statement to engaging with other cultures.


It is difficult to find someone at Liberty University who is not familiar with the school’s simple but straightforward mission statement: “Training Champions for Christ.” But how does this statement challenge students to be a Champion for Christ beyond the halls of Liberty and the borders of America?


“Liberty University is a vision, a vision you can tell from the mission statement,” Edna Udobong, associate professor of law at Liberty, said.


And according to Udobong, who is also the advisor and scholar liaison for the Fulbright Program at Liberty, international scholar programs like Fulbright are the “mission for the vision” in Udobong’s words.


Through several upcoming internationally competitive fellowship opportunities, Liberty plans to prepare its students to champion a more global impact by widening the scope of their training through cultural exchange.


Cultural exchange programs offer different cultures the opportunity to educate each other about their countries, values and ideas through teaching, research and interaction through the arts. Students who participate in this experience will increase their potential for reaching the nations and cultures of the world for Christ as they prioritize knowledge sharing and cultural understanding, informed by faith.


“We’ll have a variety of opportunities available next year for students to take a step toward getting out there to be part of the world, to be prepared for it and to serve,” Udobong said. “That’s the goal.”


Collectively, the international scholar programs at Liberty will offer students, faculty, and international administrators the chance to go to over 150 countries. There is no limit to which disciplines or areas of study applicants can come from when they apply for grants offered through the Fulbright & Fulbright Affiliate Programs at Liberty.


There are other internationally competitive awards that the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Ron Hawkins, has approved, and will be available to the internationally-minded Liberty applicant. These include the George Mitchell Scholarship (based in Ireland), the Schwarzman Scholarship (based at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China), the Marshall Scholarship (based in the UK), the Rhodes Scholarship (based at the University of Oxford in the UK) and several more grant opportunities that cross over 145 borders around the world through excellence in leadership, service, and academics.


These programs are coordinated by Professor Udobong and supervised by the Provost and Chief Academic Officer.


Another unique and extensive opportunity available to Liberty scholarship applicants with an international mindset is the Provost’s Award for Research Excellence (P.A.R.E.).


The P.A.R.E. stands as its own achievement, offering a grant ranging from $2500-3500 to promote and support gifted students’ creative endeavors in all disciplines at the domestic and international levels. But it also paves the way for applying to and participating in the prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright program. The P.A.R.E. application closely models that of the Fulbright application, encouraging applicants to go the extra step and apply to Fulbright.


“It is meant to prepare students two years before they even apply for Fulbright,” Udobong said. “We found that our students need more time to understand what Fulbright is all about and to get them into the rigorous Fulbright application process. We want them to feel relaxed when they apply for Fulbright after the application experience with the Provost’s Award for Research Excellence process, as the award process mimics the application for Fulbright.”


The first five P.A.R.E. winners completed their summer grants in August. Connor Schonta, a P.A.R.E. winner shared, “I visited the JFK and FDR Libraries, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and the Library of Congress. It was a two-week road trip of the nerdiest kind, but one I’ll always cherish.”


“It was also wonderful experiencing such esteemed schools as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. At a conservative school like Liberty, it can be all too easy to dismiss these universities as elitist or overly liberal. However, I found the people I met to be kind and helpful, and the universities themselves possess such rich environments for curiosity and inquiry. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities afforded to me through P.A.R.E.”


Applications open for the P.A.R.E. grant on Nov. 14.


Other scholarship opportunities and their application deadlines are available upon request of Professor Udobong, who can be reached via email at or via phone at 434-592-5460.


Watch for the next article in this internationally competitive scholarship series, which will focus on Fulbright and personal student and faculty testimonials!


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