UndergraduateProgram : Overseas Travel and Cultural Immersion Program

The Olmsted Foundation sponsors Cadets and Midshipmen for travel to foreign countries every year. Fundamental policies of the program, participating institutions, and basic application procedures are described below.


As a result of the settlement of General Olmsted's estate, and the growth in Foundation resources, a program for overseas travel and cultural immersion for Cadets and Midshipmen at the three military Service Academies was proposed in 2000. Discussions and correspondence with the three Service Academies developed the concept, and funding was proposed and allocated at the November 2000 Olmsted Foundation Board of Directors meeting. Initial annual funding included $100,000 for each of the three Service Academies and this amount fluctated, depending on the value of the Foundation's endowment.

The Undergraduate Overseas Travel and Cultural Immersion Program was further expanded in 2003 with the authorization and funding by the Foundation of $50,000 to each of the three Services ROTC programs. The US Air Force program began in 2003, but due to complications in procedures and process for allocating funding, the US Army and US Navy ROTC programs did not begin until 2004 and 2005 respectively.  The ROTC program is temporarily suspended due to the level of the endowment.

The most recent expansion of the undergraduate program occurred in 2005 when the Senior Military Colleges and Title 10 schools (The Citadel, North Georgia College and State University, Norwich University, Texas A&M, VMI and Virginia Tech) were included under the umbrella program.  Currently, Virginia Tech, VMI and Norwich are participating in the program.


What it is:

  • Participants are to be Cadets/Midshipmen of the highest caliber, on track for commissioning as line officers in the US military
  • The program is to be considered as much a broadening and leadership development opportunity as an academic or scholastic opportunity
  • Candidates should receive full consideration of all aspects of their leadership potential and scholastic ability
  • Travel must be to and in a non-English speaking country with exposure to foreign language, diverse cultural perspectives and a consideration of the role of US policy in that country or region
  • The Foundation seeks to maximize the number of Cadets/Midshipmen participating while maintaining high quality of both programs and participants
  • Travel opportunities generally should be from 1-3 weeks in length, though there will be exceptions to this
  • Joint trips, with participants from different branches of Service and from different institutions, are encouraged and should be planned to the maximum extent possible
  • All participants are to be recognized and referred to, as Olmsted Cadets or Olmsted Midshipmen
  • The goal is for the maximum amount of money as possible to go directly to paying for Cadet and Midshipman travel expenses.
  • Therefore, the number of officer escorts is to be minimized, and administrative costs for programs should also be minimized (maximum admin costs allowable not to exceed 5%)
  • Grant amounts for the various programs are to be awarded on an annual, calendar year basis, not multi-year
  • There is no need for any institution to submit a formal request in order to be considered for following year grant funding
  • Financial accounting of funds and expenditures is required, year-end financial and travel summary reports are due no later than 15 October of the funding year
  • Carry over of excess funds to the next year is permitted; it normally will not affect future funding unless large amounts are not expended without justification
  • The Foundation requires feedback reports from participating Midshipmen and Cadets that document their experience and any recommendations they may have for the program
  • The Foundation will follow-up with each participant to inform them of the future opportunity to participate as an Olmsted Scholar once they are commissioned and on active duty

What it is not:

  • The program is not intended as funding to cover costs related to a university "semester abroad" program
  • Grant monies are not intended to fund formal exchange programs between US and foreign military academies
  • Olmsted grants are not a funding source for faculty or commissioned officers to conduct overseas research.
  • The program is not to be focused as an internship program to work at US military posts overseas
  • The programs are not to be narrowly directed at a small portion of restricted academic majors or only for those in liberal arts focused courses of study


Eligible Cadet sand Midshipmen need to apply to participate in the program through their specific institution. For general descriptions of each process and specific points of contact, go to How To Apply on this page.

The George & Carol Olmsted Foundation
80 East Jefferson Street, Suite 300B
Falls Church, VA 22046

Phone: 703.536.3500
Fax: 703.536.5020
Toll Free: 1.877.OLMSTED