How to Write a Sponsor Letter for Traveling Abroad

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Travel can be expensive, but academic offices will sponsor curriculum-related trips.
Travel can be expensive, but academic offices will sponsor curriculum-related trips. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Traveling abroad can be expensive. It can also be hard to find funding for travel if the trip is not academically related. If the trip is for a class or school project, there will be many outlets to go to for sponsorship. The sponsor will often require a presentation, thank you letter or more after you return from your trip to see how the money was spent and the benefits you received.

Preparation

Create a budget for your trip. If you are unsure about various costs, such as plane tickets, lodging, country-specific taxes, food and ground travel, ask your advisor, read a travel book, use travel websites and find blogs of people who have traveled to your destination. Overestimate how much you need for food and factor in emergency money.

Calculate the amount of income you have. A sponsor will want to know how much other money you have raised or are willing to put into the trip. Do not expect one sponsor to fund the entirety of your trip. They are more likely to sponsor you if they are not the only source of income.

Find an appropriate office, department or advisor to ask. Colleges sometimes finacially support academic trips that align with the departments' missions. For example, if you are traveling to South Africa to learn about the post-apartheid government, ask the sociology and political science departments as well as the Center for African American Studies. The names of these offices will be different on each campus; review their mission statement and values as well as what classes they offer to determine if a request for funding is appropriate.

Write the Letter

Type your header in the standard business-style format. From the top, write your name, address and contact information. Enter down one line, putting space between your information and the date. Enter down another line, putting one more space between the date and the name, address and contact information for the person you are sending the letter to. Address the letter to the director or department head, even if you have never met them.

Write a greeting, for example, "Dear Ms. Smith," If you do not know who is going to be reading the letter, use "To Whom It May Concern:"

Enter down another line and begin your introduction paragraph. State your year in school, what you are studying and where you are traveling. Clearly state that you are looking for support for the trip and briefly list the areas that you still need covered. For example, you could write, "I am a junior in the Sociology department traveling to South Africa with a Sociology class. I am writing to inquire about the possibility of the department sponsoring my airline ticket."

Elaborate on the details in two or three short body paragraphs. Tailor the focus of the letter to the specific office, noting what you hope to learn and gain from the trip, how this will expand your educational experience and what you are willing to do for the department. For example, state that you would be happy to give a presentation or write thank you letters to sponsors.

Close the letter by thanking the reader for their time. Be clear that you would like to hear from them shortly about the possibility of funding for your trip.

Write a closing or sign-off. For example, professional closings are "Respectfully yours," "Sincerely" and "Best." Enter down a few lines and type your name. If you are mailing the letter, sign your name. If you are emailing the letter, you do not have to insert a real signature.

Proofread the letter. Have another person read the letter for flow, grammar, phrase editing and clarification of overall take-away points.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use professional language; avoid informal language and slang phrases.

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