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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2024! The application portal will be reopened no later than 1 December 2023.