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3 Essential Things to Know Before Applying Scholarships for Somali Students

If you are a Somali student who wish to further your education in another country, and you don’t know how to find the right scholarships for Somali students to support your study, you came to the right page!

In this article, you will learn how to choose from a wide range of scholarship opportunities. We will start from getting you to know what your country is most focused on economically, then we’ll match those major economic sectors with various fields of study that you can choose from – which can be advantageous to your country’s economic well-being — and work our way towards informing you about what to consider before you apply for the most suitable scholarship according to your needs.

Photo: @deannaritchie on Unsplash

Know Your Country: Somalia

Despite experiencing two decades of civil war, Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittance / money transfers from abroad, and telecommunications. Unlike the pre-civil war period when most services and the industrial sector were government-run, there has been substantial, albeit unmeasured, private investment in commercial activities. This has been largely financed by the Somali diaspora, and includes trade and marketing, money transfer services, transportation, communications, fishery equipment, airlines, telecommunications, education, health, construction and hotels.

By far, the most important sector of the economy in Somalia is agriculture, which earns about three-fifths of the country’s foreign exchange and accounts for 60.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the main economic activity is not crop-farming but livestock raising. Agriculture in Somalia can be divided into three subsectors.  The first is nomadic pastoralism, which is practiced outside the cultivation areas. This sector focuses on raising goats, sheep, camels, and cattle, and has become increasingly market-oriented. The second sector is the traditional, chiefly subsistence, agriculture practiced by small farmers. This traditional sector takes two forms: rain-fed farming in the south and northwest, which raises sorghum, often with considerable head of livestock; and small irrigated farms along the rivers, which produce corn (maize), sesame, cowpeas, as well as fruits and vegetables near towns. The third sector consists of market-oriented farming on medium and large-scale irrigated plantations along the lower Jubba and Shabeelle rivers. There the major crops are bananas, sugarcane, rice, cotton, vegetables, grapefruit, mangoes, and papayas.

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Somalia’s most valuable resources are its pastures, which cover most of the country. Somalia has few mineral resources – only some deposits of tin, phosphate, gypsum, guano, coal, iron ore, and uranium – and both quantity and quality are too low for mining to be worthwhile. However, the deposits of the clay mineral sepiolite, or meerschaum, in south-central Somalia are among the largest known reserves in the world. Reserves of natural gas have been found but have not been exploited.

Despite its destruction during the fighting which took place in 1991, Somalia’s telecommunications system had revived by 2010 with various new telecommunications companies providing the missing infrastructure. With 20 privately owned Somali newspapers, 12 radio and television stations, and numerous internet sites offering information to the public, the expansion of Somalia’s telecom industry was reported in 2010 to have provided one of the clearest signs that the country’s economy was growing.

Choose a Major to Study Abroad

Choosing a major for your studies is a very important decision to make, since it will affect your career path. You need to have passion in what you decide to be in the future. In other words, you are encouraged to pick a major that is in line with your career goals and what you are most passionate about. If you are, however, one that hasn’t found your callings, you may want to consider the majors listed below. After all, if you want to study abroad with a scholarship, choosing one of these majors might just boost your chances in receiving the scholarship you apply for, since most scholarship programs have preferences in the fields of study.

The point in acknowledging the major sectors in Somalia’s economy before getting to the scholarship information is that one of the best ways to getting a scholarship easier is to choose a major of study that is related to one of the most focused economic activities in the country. In this case, the economic activities include agriculture as well as telecommunications and media. The agriculture sector consists of various work fields, including marketing, food processing, and export activities. This leads to the following options of fields to study:

  • Agribusiness
  • Agricultural and Life Sciences Education
  • Agricultural Systems Management / Technology and Management
  • Agricultural Sciences / Economics / Biochemistry / Communication
  • Agriculture and Society
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Science / Ecology
  • Biology
  • Culinary Food Science
  • Dairy Science
  • Entomology
  • Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability
  • Environmental Policy and Decision Making
  • Environmental Science
  • Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Food Business Management
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Plant Health Management
  • Plant Pathology
  • Sustainable Plant Systems
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If you are interested in telecommunications and media, you may want to consider the following majors:

  • Advertising
  • Communication and Media
  • Communication and Technology
  • Communication Studies
  • Communications
  • Film and Television
  • Journalism
  • Mass Communication Studies
  • Media and Cinema Studies
  • Network Engineering and Security
  • Projection Design
  • Public Relations
  • Scene Design
  • Sound Design
  • Sound Recording Technology
  • Telecommunication Media Studies
  • Telecommunication, Media and Society
  • Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Find the Right Scholarships for Somali Students

Scholarship opportunities are widely spread all around the world. Anyone can pursue their studies inside or outside their home country with the help of financial aid. There are two types of financial aid: need-based and merit-based. The need-based financial aid varies in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study or loans, and is available to help your family pay for your studies. Need-based financial aid is awarded based on your family’s financial circumstances. Some need-based financial aid is considered “gift aid”, which means that the money provided is a gift to you – you do not need to repay them or give anything back in return. There are two kinds of gift aid: scholarships and grants. Should you be a gift aid receiver, your goal is to maximize this type of aid before seeking other sources of help. Then there’s “self-help aid” which requires something in return from you. Loans require you to repay with interest. Meanwhile for work-study, it requires you to put in hours of work to earn the funds.

On the other hand, there’s merit-based financial aid. This is usually awarded in the form of scholarships or grants and is awarded based on your academic and/or non-academic performances. Your GPA and other reports on demonstrated academic (or non-academic) activities will be considered during the selection process.

Many scholarship opportunities are competitive, hence, you need to make sure that you are applying for the right scholarship, which is based on what you need and which one of them suits you the most. As you decide, make sure you search scholarships for international students in general or that are specifically aimed at Somali students.

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The next thing you’d want to do is to decide whether you want full support of scholarship or split the costs for your studies into two with the scholarship. There are two types of scholarships: full scholarship and partial scholarship. The fully funded scholarship will cover all the needs for your study, including tuition fees, books and living expenses, travel costs, and insurance. If you want to work while studying at your study destination, and you know you can afford to pay part of the study and/or living expenses, you can consider a partial scholarship. Partial scholarships may vary according to the amount of expenses that they cover (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% for tuition fees only).

Narrow down your options a little more by focusing on what major you want to study. This may be easier if you are looking for a scholarship that is provided by a specific university. These university scholarships are usually offered through the departments. However, if you are looking for a scholarship from a wider range of options, you can use a scholarship search engine to help you. Scholarship search engines can be easily found online. Also, make sure you pay attention to what level of study the scholarship is available for. Is it for undergraduate or postgraduate studies? Choose according to what you’re applying for.

Once you have found the scholarship that is most suitable for you and your needs, check all its requirements and prepare the necessary documents. Follow the entire procedure of application and hope for the best.

Give your best statement when writing essays for your scholarship application. Showing how you can contribute towards your country’s economic development upon completion of your study can boost your chances into getting the scholarship. Choosing a major to study that is strongly related to your country’s most focused economic activities can be advantageous for a successful scholarship application. This applies especially for scholarships that are provided by the local government, with or without partnership with the other country’s government.

    1. Cabdi wasac July 25, 2019
      • Sartaj Alam August 13, 2019
    2. Ahmed sa`ad September 9, 2019
    3. Abdiqadir abdinur September 20, 2019
    4. abdulrazak diria September 26, 2019

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