Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship

The Fulbright Commission the Netherlands’ Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship provides the opportunity for talented Dutch high school graduates to study at an American university for one year with a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission. The scholarship is intended for high achieving, socially involved students whose parents or legal guardians cannot afford to pay for their studies in the United States.

The Fulbright Commission selects one or two candidates per year. In the selection process, preference is given to candidates with a diverse background. This includes diversity in the broadest sense: including geographic diversity, different socio-economic backgrounds, historically disadvantaged populations, members of minorities, people with disabilities, etc. Our Commission is dedicated to providing this opportunity to motivated, applied students who are curious about studying in the United States but would otherwise not have the resources to do so.

This scholarship covers all costs with this year-long study program including:

  • Fees for standardized tests
  • Visa fees
  • Transportation to, from and within the United States
  • Books
  • Health insurance
  • A budget of $23,000 for tuition, fees, room and board
  • A limited budget for participation in additional cultural events

The Fulbright Commission is actively looking for partner universities that will consider these students for admission and can offer supplemental scholarships to cover tuition, room and board.

After selection, Traiblazer Opportunity Scholarship recipients receive ample support from the Fulbright Commission throughout the application process, and several pre-departure orientations to ensure that they arrive in the U.S. well prepared.

We’d like to thank the sponsors of this scholarship: jetBlue, the Tjalling Roorda Foundation, and the U.S. Embassy the Hague. If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring a Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Past recipients of the Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship

Oumaima and Elise received the 2023 Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship for the 2024-2025 academic year. They will study at Denison University in Ohio, starting August 2024.

Read more about Oumaima and Elise below!

Photo: Oumaima and Elise with Ambassador Shefali Razdan Duggal, at the 2023 Fulbright reception


Elise in a few words:

I would describe myself as ambitious, active and dedicated to things that are important to me, such as school, work, friends and hobbies.

Favorite leisure activity:

In the spring and summer, running is my favorite hobby, but in the winter months it is definitely playing the piano.

Favorite subject in high school:

I find economics the most interesting. This is because my teacher talks a lot about current economic developments, which makes me see economics not only as a school subject, but also something that affects my own life and the lives of people around me.

Future plans:

After my gap year in the United States, made possible by Fulbright and the U.S. Embassy, I plan to study econometrics at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

How are you preparing for the gap year in America?

From the moment I was told I would get this scholarship until today, I have been taking the SAT and TOEFL entrance tests, writing essays and orienting myself to universities, among other things. Now I am keeping myself very busy with preparations for my final week of tests and, of course, the exam period coming up! Meanwhile, I am corresponding with coaches from the Track and Field team of one of the universities I applied to.

What do you expect from the year in America?

Learning a lot about American culture. Also gaining new knowledge related to economics, math and languages, and of course English.

What advice would you give to students considering applying for the scholarship?

Definitely try! I had totally not considered studying abroad, let alone in America, prior to being told about the scholarship. Nor was there anyone close to me who had already undertaken something like this in their life, so it was a very unexpected and at the same time wonderful opportunity for me. One other thing I would like to say is that you should definitely not be intimidated by the amount of data required to apply for the Trailblazer Opportunity Scholarship. For me, the application was obviously incredibly worth it because, like Oumaima, I received the scholarship, but in addition, writing my cover letters also prompted me to self-reflect, which is also valuable.


Oumaima in a few words:

I would describe myself as broadly interested, eager to learn and creative. I am always looking for the next way to develop myself and enjoy doing many things at once.

Favorite leisure activities:

My favorite hobbies are writing and acting.

Favorite subject in high school:

In high school, social studies is my favorite subject. I like to think about politics and current events.

Future plans:

In the future, I hope to do something with media and have a job where I can create on my own. I also see myself traveling as much as possible and especially not settling in one place.

How are you preparing for the year in America?

I am actually trying to make as few plans as possible for my year in America and let everything come to me. Who knows what new experiences I will get to have!

What do you expect from the year in America?

I expect and look forward to meeting new people who can all teach me something new.

What advice would you give to students considering applying for a gap year in America?

I would advise others who want to spend a gap year in America mainly to not think too much and just go. Embrace the unknown!