Funded Cultural Exchange Programs

“Not better, not worse, just different!” This is a go-to motto amongst exchange students when they discover new traditions and peculiarities of their host countries. Cultural exchange programs have become a solution to building bridges between countries and creating opportunities for collaboration. In this article we will cover several scholarships for creatives to immerse into new cultures and benefit from new connections.

Cultural projects and exchange programs have sprung in the last thirty years as it’s become apparent that building stronger ties through educating students and professionals leads to international collaboration and has a multiplier effect on communities. Cultural programs tend to celebrate diversity and create new networks of talents. Such experiences promote mutual understanding and respect which plants seeds for international friendship.

With full scholarships and funding available, such opportunities become a valuable experience preceding international career and studies. Below are several examples for residencies and programs that support promoting cultural diversity through creating new work and sharing it on the global arena.


Global UGRAD Program – Fully Funded Semester in the US

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, also known as the Global UGRAD Program, provides one semester scholarships to outstanding undergraduate students from around the world for non-degree full-time study combined with community service, professional development, and cultural enrichment. Application deadlines vary by program and region.

The scholarship covers international travel, tuition, room and board, accident/sickness insurance, a small monthly stipend, and funding for books. Participants will live in campus housing facilities with American peers. The program is administered by World Learning on behalf of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Main criteria:

Candidates should be over 18 years of age and enrolled as an undergraduate at any accredited university, public or private. Applicants should have completed secondary education in their home country. Application includes submitting an essay and official academic transcripts for years of university study as well as two letters of reference with English translations. Applicants should check their country’s US Embassy website for further details

Meeting new people
Meeting new people


Two Year Cultural Exchange in Arezzo, Italy

Applicants are invited to join the two-year Rondine World House Program and receive high level training on topics related to conflict management, communication abilities and methodologies. Through formal lectures, seminars and non-formal activities, the training provides essential tools develop opportunities for social impact. The Call for the 2021 program will open in Autumn 2020.

Rondine Cittadella della Pace is an organization committed to reducing armed conflicts around the world and spreading its own method for the creative transformation of conflicts in every context. During the program, participants can experiment innovation through conviviality, daily activities, non-formal and formal education. World House fellows are involved in institutional events, media exposure, voluntary and charity activities. The last part of the program is a professional and academic specialization, which includes the attendance at a master course or other school of high professionalization in Central Italy (Tuscany, Umbria).

Main criteria:

Applicants should be interested in topics such as conflict transformation, communication, human rights, cooperation and global sustainability. Candidates should be aged 21-28 and hold a Bachelor degree by July 2 2021. Eligible regions: Balkans, Middle East, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Mali, Colombia.


The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture

The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture strengthens artistic and cultural cooperation and focuses on increasing the exchange of knowledge, contacts, presence and interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture. The program comprises three forms of funding: mobility, network, and residence funding. The deadline is on 19 October 2020.

Mobility funding is intended for the travel and/or stay of professional artists or cultural workers within Nordic and/or Baltic countries. That is: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the Aland Islands.

Main criteria:

Only professional artists and cultural workers such as curators, producers, fiction translators, cultural editors or researchers can apply. Mobility funding can only be granted for individuals or groups of up to six persons per application. To apply for mobility funding, the applicants should reside in the Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Åland Islands) or Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania) but it is not necessary for applicants to have Nordic or Baltic nationality.


Sacatar Residency Fellowships in Salvador, Brazil

The Instituto Sacatar provides eight weeks of unstructured time and an appropriate space for creative individuals to develop new work. Specifically, a residency fellowship at Sacatar provides accommodation, a private studio for creative work, catering and logistical support. Each residency typically lasts eight weeks and there are three to four residency sessions each year.

The first week of a Sacatar residency provides an overview of the cultural richness of Bahia, including optional tours of the island, the town of Itaparica, and the city of Salvador. In the second week, the Brazilian staff of the Instituto works with each artist individually to help the artist engage, as desired, with the local culture in ways appropriate for that artist.

Main criteria:

The residency is open to artists from around the world. Knowledge of English is required. Towards the end of each residency period, artists need to present the work they have completed during their residency.

Cultural diversity helps broaden vision
Cultural diversity helps broaden vision


#MobilityFirst! Travel Funding for Artists from Asia and Europe

Mobility First! is the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)’s travel grant for artists and cultural professionals provides funds to selected cultural professionals in Asia and Europe to participate in professional development activities abroad. This year’s program is cancelled due to Covid-19-related travel issues, however, it will resume at a later stage.

Mobility support is provided to selected applicants for travel from Asia to Europe and Europe to Asia. The Mobility First! grant is intended for covering international travel and visa costs only. Accommodation and any other costs (such as per diem, registration fees etc.) are excluded from the grant amount.

Main criteria:

Applications are welcome from individual artists/cultural professionals who are nationals/citizens of any Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partner country, working in any artistic genre, e.g. visual arts, performing arts, film, heritage etc.

Cultural exchange programs tend to be an eye-opening experience both for the participants and people in their host communities. Exchanging ideas results in unexpected initiatives and approaches that in the end help multiply the benefits and transfer new practices to local actions.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

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