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An academic fellowship is a form of financial award given by a foundation, government, or company to an individual or group of persons such as a school. Fellowships are of different categories which are: scholarship for students, visiting fellowship, postdoctoral fellow, award fellowship.

What Fellowship entails

Scholarships for students can be taken by undergraduate or postgraduate students. Visiting fellow is usually provided by an agency whereby they give out an allocation that allows the beneficiary to visit a laboratory. A postdoctoral fellowship is for individuals who have completed their doctoral studies. There are various types of agencies that issue postdoctoral fellowship, some of them are the government, a university, or company. Award fellowship is usually given to an individual, group, or foundation. Academic fellowship means a lot if you want to achieve academic success. Although a fellowship grants money to the beneficiary, it is not a scholarship. It requires the beneficiary to complete the task before the fund can be released. Scholarship on the contrary is used solely for the payment of tuition and once it is awarded, it does not require a progressive report on the award. Fellowships are offered to experienced researchers and are merit-based. They are offered to those who have proved enough research competence at an advanced level usually at the doctoral level. They are awarded to those who have promising research in a particular field.

Fellowships Abroad

  • Medical fellowship: which is usually offered to medical students who have completed their residency but wish to receive further medical training within their sub-specialty. For instance, a doctor who completed a residency in anaesthesiology may wish to further a career in geriatric anesthesiology.
  • Graduate Fellowship: is usually for graduate students who wish to have a reduction in their tuition cost for postgraduate studies. Fellowships may also include a cost of living stipend and health insurance
  • Postdoctoral fellowship: is designed for those who have completed their doctorates but still want additional time devoted to study and research. This fellowship is usually awarded to people who wish to become experts in a particular subject. Usually, it involves teaching and conducting research. It provides funds for coursework and extracurricular projects.

Fellowships in Africa

Africa as one of the fast-growing continents has a reasonable number of scholars around the world. However, due to some major constraints, Africans lack some of the resources to match up with their counterparts, consequently, some developed countries have been up to the task of offering fellowship programs to African students.

Top 10 fellowship Opportunities for Africans

There are quite a number of fellowships and scholarship opportunities opened to African students in different parts of the world. Here is a list of the top ten fellowships available to African scholars:

  1. Chevening Scholarship: which provides financial support to study a master’s degree at any of the UK’s leading universities. There are about 1,500 Chevening scholarship offers available for each academic cycle. The benefits include; payment of full tuition fees, travel expenses, study grants, excess luggage allowance, visa application, and monthly upkeep to cover accommodation and living expenses.
  2. Rotary Yoneyama Foundation: Rotary clubs in Japan offers scholarship opportunities to African students to partake in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Japanese institutions. The scholarship comes with a monthly allowance of 140,000 yen.
  3. Schwarzman Scholarship: it is a fully-funded scholarship that is worth $350 million for international students to study in China. Benefits include full tuition fees, international flight fare, books and supplies, laptop and smart phone, health insurance, and a personal stipend.
  4. DAAD Scholarship: this scholarship is for students in developing countries, while some of the benefits are: flight fare, tuition fees, stipend, medical insurance, settlement allowance, German language course enrolment fee.
  5. Cambridge Trust undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship: this is a university of Cambridge scholarship for scholars around the world. Benefits include visa application, full tuition fees, and international student fees, accommodation, meals, medical cover, stipend, access to internship opportunity, air ticket fees, mentorship, and leadership development.
  6. MasterCard Scholarship: the foundation is offering scholarships to students who applied for undergraduate and graduate programs at MasterCard partnered schools. Benefits include full tuition fees, accommodation, meals, books and supplies, monthly stipends, medical aid and travel costs.
  7. Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG): It is a scholarship program targeted at graduates between the ages of 25 and 35. Benefits include fully funded tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses.
  8. Ireland-Africa Fellows Programme: the programme is organized to equip future African leaders. The award covers, course fees, flights, living costs and accommodation.
  9. University of Nottingham (Malaysia campus): This award is for those from developing countries registered for taught master’s programmes at Malaysia in science, technology, and education-related courses. It is a fully-funded programme.
  10. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships: on a yearly basis, the Swiss government offer fellowship programme to PhD, Postdoctoral, and research for African students and other countries. Benefits include tuition fees, monthly stipends, airfare, lodging allowance.

Studying overseas especially in some of the developed countries abroad is highly enriching and sometimes marks the beginning of a turnaround in a student’s career. However, as productive and encouraging as it seems, it usually comes with a major constraint in terms of finance, for this reason, some institutions and organizations set up fellowship programs to assist students with good academic performance and drive for career advancement.