Applications have closed for Summer 2020 and will reopen in the Fall

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Scholarship Details

Illustration of Travel Photography

Find untold narratives through your lens. The Visual Storyteller Scholarship provides high school students and recent graduates the chance to go abroad and tell stories from behind a camera. We’re looking for students interested in travel photography and documenting unfamiliar cultures and new adventures with creativity, honesty, and empathy.

Two full merit-based scholarships to learn and practice photography, videography, filmmaking, and design skills on an AFS summer program abroad.


How it Works

Travel Photography and video program journey

Get real world creative experience and professional mentorship.

Both of the two scholarship recipients will get to borrow* a digital SLR camera from AFS-USA to capture their journey, program highlights, and everyday life abroad. *Students will be required to put down a $500 deposit which will be refunded upon the safe return of the camera. See details of the agreement below.

Scholarship recipients meet with our Director of Marketing to workshop their skills and plans to tell their story abroad.

Muslim Girl Photographer

How to Apply

Choose your top three of the four available countries/programs. We will try to send winners to their top choice, but can’t guarantee it.

Write a short essay (200 words minimum – 500 words max) explaining why you want to go abroad and what you hope to learn and capture about unfamiliar places, people, customs, activities, and cultures.

Ask an educator or community leader (who is not a family member) to be your reference. We will call or email references; a formal letter of recommendation is not required.

Create a portfolio of 6 photos, 1 video, and short captions (150 words max) for each. Your portfolio must be your own work and:

  • Have a cohesive theme or story connecting each piece that evokes a sense of adventure, meaning, or inspiration that other people will want to be a part of. It does not have to be about travel, but it should show us some kind of transformative journey or cultural experience
  • Include at least 1 photo of a landscape or cityscape.
  • Include at least 1 photo of a people interacting or community.
  • The video must be 3 minutes minimum – 10 minutes maximum. This should be the centerpiece of your portfolio and inspire a desire to join whatever community or activity is shown. Upload your video to YouTube and share a link for our judges to view.

Enter your short essay and portfolio! The deadline has been extended to March 30, 2020!

We’ll follow up with finalists for more info, contact their references, and choose two winners by late-April!


Visual Storyteller Photo Examples

Travel Photography

For Parents and Educators

Beyond the full scholarship, what are the benefits for students?

  • Develop creativity, design-thinking, and artistic focus.
  • Improve technical photography, filmmaking, and digital arts skills.
  • Learn from professionals (AFS Marketing Team) who create and use photos, videos, and art in their daily work.
  • Practice presenting creative work for review.
  • Build a resume and portfolio for college applications and creative career paths.

To learn more about how your young travelers will grow and be supported by AFS while abroad, visit our Parent & Guardian page or our Educator page.

Scholarship Agreement

Scholarship recipients will be required to pay a $500 deposit to cover most of the cost of the camera if it is damaged or lost on program. This deposit will be refunded upon the safe return of the camera to AFS-USA after the program ends. Read the full agreement here.