• Forge your own path Let the adventure begin!

  • Forge your own path Discover the world in your way!

  • Forge your own path Choose your own way!

  • Forge your own path Embrace your originality!

  • Are you curious about life and want to get to know other countries and people?

    We’re offering you the chance to embark on a unique and unforgettable journey. You will be on the road for at least four weeks, will meet new people and deepen your interests. And best of all, you get to decide where to go! Because this journey is entirely your own.

    Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

    Apply now

  • Do you want to discover the world, but don’t have enough cash?

    We’ll give you 700 euros – totally independent of your academic achievement, your parents, or your nationality. The only important thing is that you have a plan and do your own thing. You can get far and experience a lot with 700 euros, as you can tell from the short reports (german only) of our many travellers! 

    Are you ready to strike out on your own?

    Apply now

  • Do you want to discover the world in your own way but don’t feel like mass tourism?

    Neither do we! With our scholarship you’ll move independently in a country of your choice*. Without flying - because the journey is part of the experience. It's up to you alone where you spend the night and whatever else you need to live. That’s how you discover places that you fall in love with at first sight, as well as those that you start to appreciate after the second glance. 

    Discover your world!

    *If you are not from Germany you either have to travel to a German speaking country or you have to have a subject related to Germany in order to submit a successful application for a zis scholarship.

    Apply now

  • Have you never travelled alone before?

    Then look forward to a whole series of adventures. We will be happy to give you travel tips and help inspire you to find an exciting research topic. That’s how your journey will become unforgettable - and you’ll not only discover new things, but also yourself. And that is more exciting than it may sound - let yourself be inspired by the experiences of other scholarship holders!

    Are you ready for your adventure?

    Apply now

Your challenges: "travelling alone" doesn't mean being "lonely"


Your journey should be the beginning of a new you. That’s why you should do it alone: to extricate yourself from your usual environment, be more open to meeting other people, and immerse yourself in the peculiarities and cultural characteristics of your host country.

Get going
without flying

Approaching your destination slowly helps prepare you for what awaits. Flying is not suited to a journey towards self-discovery. Becoming aware of the distances that lie between the home country and the host country is a vital part of the zis project.

Keeping to
your budget

Travelling on a budget makes it easier to get in touch with the local population and avoid the traps of mass tourism. Sensibly managing a tight budget of 700 € is also a skill that will be useful throughout your life.

At least four weeks of travel

Your journey should last at least four weeks so that you can truly engage with your topic on a deeper level. Of course you can also travel for longer, as far as your time and scholarship allow – and as long as you continue to pursue your topic!

Writing your
project report

After your journey you will submit your project report or alternative documentation, your travel diary, and your list of expenses. Your report has to be at least 8000 words long. Adding photos or sketches will also make it interesting for others to read. A map showing your travel route is also a useful addition.

Your project – 3 steps to the journey of your life

Because this is your journey, it's up to you to decide which travel topic best suits you. Whether it’s art, nature, sports or politics – it’s your interests, talents and inclinations that matter. Tell us in your application what it is that connects you to your topic and what links your chosen country to it. Depending on your topic, you can also create a piece of art or craft instead of a written project report or choose an alternative way of documentation. If you want to do this, please let us know what you have in mind and tell us about your experiences and background knowledge in this field. This also applies to photo documentations. As the topic of the journey should serve your personal development, we reject topics on principle which only seek to deepen the field of study. 

1. Before the journey…

If your application is shortlisted, you will no longer be on your own in the further preparation of your trip. You will be supported and personally mentored by a person who has extensive experience with zis journeys. They will give you tips, answer your questions and, ultimately, approve your scholarship as soon as your plans have matured.

Any questions?

2. During the journey...

As soon as you‘ve started your journey, you’ll have to stand on your own two feet. You’ll organise your time, manage your expenses and find your contacts. Your topic will be your key to the country and its people. You will gather impressions and experiences and visit people who have something to say about your topic. You'll see how it's possible to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country in only 4 weeks. Your travel diary, in which you’ll capture your daily impressions, will be your constant companion.


3. After the journey...

After your return, you‘ll have three months to summarise your impressions and experiences in a project report, a piece of art or craft or an alternative documentation. You should report on what you discovered about your topic on the journey, and how the trip changed your perspective and views. You can be creative and illustrate your topic with pictures or other material. Producing an artistic piece of work is another great way of capturing your experiences and questions surrounding your journey topic.

Need inspiration?

Your mentors

About 30 volunteer mentors from various professions work for the zis Foundation. Most of us have gone on a zis journey ourselves. Our tasks include the selection and supervision of the travel projects. We meet every year in March to select the new travel projects and discuss the previous year’s trips.

If your application is successful, your future mentor will personally contact you and help you with your travel preparations. Even after your journey they will be there to support you with the development of your project report. All reports are read by at least three mentors. Afterwards, you will receive detailed feedback from us.

Your application

zis scholarships are open to young people of all nationalities. It doesn’t mater if you’re still at school, doing an apprenticeship, studying or taking a gap year. The age limit is 21, so you can’t have turned 21 by the time you start your journey. You don’t need to have any specific prior knowledge or experiences abroad to participate.

Your application has a good chance of succeeding if we are persuaded by your interest in your chosen topic and you have a realistic journey idea. We recommend that you download the fact sheet for scholarship holders. If you have any questions about the application, we are happy to help you. Call us or send as an e-mail

If you want to travel in 2024, apply by 15 February 1 March 2024! The application portal will be reopened no later than 1 December 2023.

Deadline1 March2024

Any questions?

Phone: +49 (0)7553 / 919 437
Mobile: +49 (0) 178 / 1980101
Monday - Thursday: 8.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. (CET)
Wednesday: 3.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. (CET)

The zis-books

A book on zis was published on the 50th and 60th anniversary each. The books are available in German only and can be purchased at the zis office.

> Excerpt "Reiseziel Erfahrung"
> Excerpt "Jugendliche entdecken fremde Kulturen"