Plus programme scholarships
The Opportunities Fund is available for UK Undergraduate students eligible for the Plus Programme who attend a partner summer school in 2023.
Plus Programme: Opportunities Fund
If you have access to the Plus Programme and secure a place on a summer school in 2023 that lasts less than 28 days, you will be eligible to apply for the Opportunities Fund to help towards the costs of attending. Applications up to £500 are considered. Funding is limited and therefore not guaranteed.
If you are not sure whether you have access to the Plus Programme, please visit the Plus Programme website for information about eligibility and how to join.
You must be a UK Undergraduate student with access to the Plus Programme (eligibility criteria apply).
You must apply via the Study Abroad Office to secure a place on a partner summer school that lasts less than 28 days.
Please visit the Opportunities Fund webpage for further information about eligibility and application deadlines.
How to apply
Apply for a place on a summer school. You must apply via the Study Abroad Office. Visit the summer schools webpage for more information and to enrol on the Study Abroad Office Minerva organisation. If you have any questions about this application process, please contact the Study Abroad Office.
If your summer school application is successful, you must then apply for funding by following the instructions on the Opportunities Fund webpage. The deadline to apply for the Opportunities Fund is Tuesday 13 June 2023. If you have any questions about this application process, please contact the Plus Programme team.
Please note: if you withdraw from your summer school after the Opportunities Fund has been made, you will be required to repay the funding in full.
Please see below for testimonials from students who have received similar scholarships in previous years. Please note: scholarship amounts may have varied.
Ria-May – First Year Student, Chemistry, 2022
I attended HWR Berlin Summer & Winter school at the Berlin School of Economics & Law in 2022. Without this funding I would not have been able to attend the summer school. The funding allowed me to enjoy myself during the programme, where I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. I was able to go out and experience Berlin without the stress of money bearing down on me.
This summer school changed my outlook on life a lot. I was able to experience a different culture in detail and learn more about the world. It has helped me to realise that my view of the world and my experiences are not the same for other people. As well as the personal side, I was able to reinforce my German language which will go a long way as I continue to study German alongside my main Chemistry degree. Learning a language is really important for me for career goals, as well as personal and academic goals. Being able to work abroad has always been a dream of mine. Studying abroad has fuelled this drive even more.
Be fearless and do it. 3 weeks might seem like a long time in the short term, but it flies by. You learn so much about the world and yourself in such a short amount of time. While it was definitely overwhelming at times, I have zero regrets. Thanks to this scheme my financial situation didn’t have as much impact on my opportunities.
Karolina – Third Year Student, History, 2022
I attended UCPH International Summer Program at the University of Copenhagen in 2022. The Santander scholarship contributed towards the programme fees. The summer school was an unforgettable experience. Each lecture was a fieldtrip, where we learned about the architecture and urban planning of Copenhagen. In the afternoons, we had independent fieldtrips. The lecturers were very friendly and answered all of our questions. I got to study subjects outside of my degree, which was very interesting and eye opening. It was exciting being in a new country alone, but all my course mates were friendly as we often did things together outside of class time. Participating in this course has made me think about pursuing an Architecture degree in the future. I have also thought about working in Denmark because I really enjoyed the vibe of the city and the people were very nice.
In terms of practical advice, [...] my accommodation was very nice, and public transport is also very good and efficient. There are many rental bikes which are easy to use. The weather changed a lot, so pack layers as well as summer clothes, and good walking shoes. If you are nervous or unsure, you should still go. As cliché as it sounds, everyone is in the same boat and keen to make friends.
Connie – Second Year Student, Civil and Structural Engineering, 2022
I attended Spanish Language courses at the University of Malaga in 2022. I would not have been able to participate in this summer school without funding from the Santander Scholarship. This scholarship allowed me to pay for the Spanish course itself, as well as my apartment while in Malaga. Without this funding, I would not have been able to afford to live while studying, and it made my experience a lot more enjoyable. When in Spain, I was also able to travel to local areas, such as Ronda and Nerja, which were incredible experiences.
During this summer school, I met some incredible people from all around the world, and learnt how to communicate in another language, which is something I never thought I would be able to do. It has changed my outlook for the future dramatically, as I am now considering one day living in a Spanish- speaking country. This scholarship has opened me up to more of the world, as I am now able to travel in South America, which is something I plan to do next summer. Without this funding, I would not have been able to learn Spanish, so travelling in South America would be a lot more difficult.
I would say don’t be scared to go alone. You will make lots of friends, and everyone is very friendly and talkative! Studying abroad is such a great experience, you can fully immerse yourself in another culture and learn in an environment that may be outside of your comfort zone.
Ernesta – Second Year Student, Sports Science and Physiology, 2022
I attended VU Amsterdam Summer School at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2022. The Santander scholarship allowed me to pay for my accommodation at my stay in Amsterdam which opened up many opportunities of meeting new people taking part in the summer school. With the scholarship I was able to explore more opportunities during my stay at Amsterdam through travelling, sight-seeing and experiencing the culture. This scholarship reassured my decision to take part in a summer school as it meant that I could focus more on the experience rather than having to think about my expenses as much.
Personally, this allowed me to gain a lot more independence through travelling to a different country on my own and allowing me to gain confidence by meeting a range of people from all parts of the world. Academically, this has opened up opportunities for further studies abroad through having connections to professors with a range of different backgrounds and academic capability as well as making friends with individuals who have published articles. Having completed a course in advanced bachelors alongside career driven people who are in research has given me an insight into the possibilities available in the near future and the paths that I am able to take. Receiving the scholarship has opened up my mind more to potentially working/ studying abroad in the future. If an opportunity like this arose in the future I would 100% apply.
Take this opportunity whilst you can, you wont regret it! You will meet a lot of friendly individuals and make friends for life. I advise to plan your budget and have a certain limit on the money you can spend to make sure you don’t overspend. Keep in mind, most of the time you will spend will be in university which have cheap meal options which always helps with budgeting.
Lily – First Year Student, French and Politics, 2022
I attended the French Studies for Foreign Learners Summer School at University Paul Valéry Montpellier III in 2022. Without the Santander scholarship funding I would not have been able to participate in the foreign language summer school in Montpellier. It enabled me to consider what I would gain from spending 2 weeks in France, how it would aid me on my course and also how it could help me prepare for my year abroad. Due to the funding, I was able to explore Montpellier more and was able to spend money on cultural activities and experiences that were invaluable to my time there.
I gained many things from my summer school experience in Montpellier. Firstly, being in France surrounded by French was extremely beneficial for my French comprehension and speaking. This paired with daily classes focusing on grammar and vocabulary meant I was improving my French both in a classroom and more relaxed setting – teaching me different aspects of learning a language that do not come out in just an academic setting. Furthermore, I formed great friendships with the other people on my course, learning about their lives and experiences, with many of them having just finished their year abroad and giving me invaluable advice for my year ahead. Participating on the summer abroad has definitely made me realise what I want from my year abroad in terms of study or work placement and the type of location I would like to go to. It made me realise I think I would quite like to do a work placement abroad as I’d like some variation during my time at university. It also made me realise how much I love being in bigger cities and how for my year abroad I would like to be in one.
Its nerve racking going to a different country by yourself but the opportunity is not to be missed. Not only does it help improve your language skills, you meet both native French speakers and those who also have a passion for French who provide so much encouragement. It’s fun but you also feel like you are really doing something valuable. Everyone there is in the same boat and wants to make friends too.
Indiana – Second Year Student, Psychology, 2021
I attended Summer University DTU at the Technical University of Denmark in 2021. I am really grateful for the Santander scholarship because I would not have been able to afford to do the summer school without it. I was very fortunate that there was no tuition fee for the summer school itself, as my application for an exchange place was successful. However, I had to pay for my own travel, food and accommodation expenses. I would never have considered doing the programme without the scholarship, but when I realised if I had the scholarship it would cover the majority of costs I decided to apply.
I really enjoyed the summer school and I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to do it, thanks to the scholarship. I stayed in international student accommodation so I lived with students from all over the world, including Hungary, India, Malaysia, China and Brazil. We got on really well and I am still in touch with them. They introduced me to all their friends as well from even more countries. One night we did a potluck dinner where we all cooked food from our respective countries and shared it which was really fun and I learnt a lot about other cultures. The summer school itself was also really interesting and I gained a lot from it. It definitely looks good on my CV! I also travelled a lot into Copenhagen and explored the city. I gained a lot of independence from the summer school experience as I lived in a new country for a month without knowing anyone and had the best time.
I definitely recommend doing a summer school. I made so many new friends and learnt a lot: about myself, my summer school topic, and other countries and cultures.
Oakley – Second Year Student, Business Studies with Foundation Year, 2021
I attended a summer school on Cross Cultural Negotiation offered by Aarhus University in 2021. The Santander scholarship fund made the summer school experience possible. As Denmark is notoriously expensive, the scholarship paid for a lot of the essentials including accommodation, flights and COVID tests, which took the financial burden off myself as I knew the essentials were covered for. This made the process so much smoother and less stressful, as I just needed to fund any personal expenses.
My time in Aarhus was amazing and an experience I’ll never forget. I would highly encourage anyone considering a summer school to apply as I was able to get the study abroad experience without committing to a year. I’ve made many friends, explored some amazing places (Copenhagen, ARoS Art Museum, Infinite bridge at Aarhus beach etc.) and discovered a new interest in cross-cultural negotiation, which is an amazing course and incredibly engaging. It also opened my eyes to a different way of teaching. Søren, the lecturer, was experienced in his field and it was really inspiring to hear from someone so accomplished. He was also approachable and relaxed, so it was easy to ask for help if you needed it. The other students on the course were all friendly as well. Since most of them were Danish and most Danes are fluent in English, it was easy to get to know people.
Regarding how the summer school helped me, the travel process itself and just living in a different country taught me how to be independent, how to organise myself and get from point A to point B and just becoming more confident and assured in myself. All of these attributes really allowed me to grow as a person. The experience itself was a great example of challenging myself, demonstrating independent organisation and displaying a growth mindset by going outside my comfort zone, which are characteristics employers look for. Fortunately, this experience had a huge personal impact on me which prepared me for my year in industry and I have been lucky enough to gain a placement with Johnson and Johnson. Without this experience making me a more confident person and being able to use this experience to illustrate all the characteristics listed above, I don’t think I would have got the placement.
I would 100% recommend to anyone to take part in this scheme. It’s a great way to combine studying and travelling without committing the time or huge expense of studying abroad for a longer period. It’s also a great way to productively spend your summer if you don’t think an internship or volunteering is something for you. I gained a lot personally through my own growth, grew culturally as I got to travel around Aarhus and Copenhagen, meet other international students and learn about them, and found a new academic interest. Especially with the help of the Santander scholarship and the summer schools being such a short period of time, you don’t really have anything to lose by applying.
Daniel – Third Year Student, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 2021
I attended a summer school course on Climate Change offered by Aarhus University in 2021. I was originally unsure if I’d be able to fund it, especially in an expensive country such as Denmark. However, with the support of the scholarship, I was able to go and it turned out to be one of my favourite and most valued experiences. Other than assisting me to pay for my accommodation, it meant that I was able to go out after class with the people I’d met and create some amazing experiences through the city of Denmark.
The course itself was incredibly interesting and made me feel very encouraged about my newly chosen field and imminent Masters course. Furthermore, the professor who ran it was absolutely amazing. The other students on the course were another reason why this experience was so much fun. Being from three different disciplines on my degree in Leeds, I wasn’t regularly with the same people so I didn’t get a chance to make a great deal of friends through my course. On the summer school, being with the same people every day enabled me to make meaningful friendships in a short period of time. Overall this experience has certainly improved my studies as well as my overall employability. As I have recently moved my academic interest to a new field, I did not have a great deal of experience in this field for when I search for a job. For this reason, the experience and knowledge I have gained will be invaluable.
If I were to offer any advice to future participants in the scheme, it would be do the scheme! Doing a summer school can be incredibly worthwhile both for having a fun summer and for work opportunities. It has given me a great deal of interesting things to talk about in interviews. Furthermore, the opportunity to make friends from different countries is amazing and the experience as a whole is very enjoyable.
Aayan – First Year Student, Geography, 2021
I attended the online summer school “Divided in Diversity” – The European Union in Crisis? offered by the University of Tübingen in 2021. The Santander scholarship fund enabled me to participate in a summer school and offered funding for online schools which is what I was looking for. The entire tuition was covered by the scholarship which was really useful.
Academically, I gained greater contextual understanding around certain topics that my degree did not go in depth on, which certainly is beneficial now in my second year of university. Personally, the summer school gave me a lot of confidence and the opportunity to really push myself in a new environment by leading discussions and developing my communication skills. The overall experience was very positive and I would definitely consider applying for similar opportunities available to me.
It may seem daunting and could be really out of your comfort zone like it was for me but it is an ideal opportunity to develop personal skills not just academic, and I am glad I took the opportunity. Even an online summer school is very beneficial so it may be good for you if you aren’t as comfortable travelling abroad.
Kinga – Second Year Student, History, 2021
I attended the TU Dortmund International Summer Program online in 2021. The Santander scholarship covered the cost of the summer school, meaning that I was able to take part in it. I am very thankful for this and gained a lot from my summer school experience.
I was able to learn about subjects that I would otherwise not have had the chance to study. For instance, I learnt about 19th- and 20th-Century drama. Moreover, the courses were unique - like the course that concentrated on the cultural impact of cafes and coffee. As a consequence, my knowledge of the world has increased. Furthermore, I was able to learn about the history of Germany. This was an asset for my studies because I study History BA. The German language course meant that I now have a basic understanding of the language, thus I will be able to use it when I go to Germany. Additionally, this will be useful in the future because it is good to know languages in the global world that we live in today. Moreover, some of the assignments included group work. I worked with students from different countries which will be beneficial in the future because many jobs/companies are international and have international staff. Also, completing the assignments helped me develop analytical and presentation skills, which I will definitely use when completing my degree. What I found particularly nice was that it was a normal semester for German students so I gained a good insight into how the German university system works. TU Dortmund also offered a cultural program during which we learnt about Dortmund and Germany. We made German pretzels which I found very exciting. I believe that experiences like these make people understand different cultures better. Overall, the experience has made me understand Germany better as well as other cultures because of the international students and I am looking forward to visiting Dortmund one day.
If I were to offer any advice to future participants in the scheme, it would be apply for a summer school! I have been fortunate enough to take part in four different summer schools during my time at the University of Leeds so far, both in-person and online, and I could not recommend it enough. I have been able to learn so much about a wide variety of subjects. Also, the ability to talk to students who study in different parts of the world has been very eye-opening and greatly enhanced my cultural understanding. All the courses that I have taken were interesting and made me understand the world more.