The Explore the World scholarship was created because HI USA believes travel should be as much about making a difference in the places we visit as it is about exploring those places. We also believe that travel should be accessible to everyone, and shouldn’t be limited because of the cost involved. These travel scholarships are just one part of our commitment to inspire a new generation of travelers by supporting their big dreams to better the planet. Thanks to this fund, eight residents of the Bay Area, each with different backgrounds and different goals for a trip abroad with a service learning or educational aspect, are able to start making their mark on the world. The hope is that these young men and women return with a new sense of purpose and what it means to really be a global citizen – a member of a giant community that focuses on the things we have in common rather than differences that shouldn’t matter.
What is the Explore the World Scholarship?
The scholarship, which awards recipients $2,000 to help finance a trip overseas with a service learning or education component, is open to residents of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties aged between 18-30 years old. The applicants had to go through a competitive process, highlighting their plans for their trip to another country and how they’d be getting involved with their host communities. A committee of volunteers and HI USA staff members were then given the immense task of selecting the applicants whose plans seemed to fit the best with our mission, and who showed their passion for creating a tolerant world through a deeper understanding of people, places and cultures.
Who Are the Recipients?
The diversity of applicants for the Explore the World scholarships not only shows the variety of life experiences lived in the Bay Area, but also the many worthwhile reasons to travel with purpose and help one another because we’re all part of the same team. For some participants, like Glendy R., this will be their first time overseas. Glendy will be going to Honduras with Global Brigades, a student-led non-profit organization that works to empower communities in developing countries with sustainable health and economic solutions while respecting the local environment and culture. This particular trip will focus on providing medical attention and education on self-care and hygiene to residents.
A lot of the participants also drew on their own lives and personal experiences as inspiration for the good they want to bring to another country. Noel A. plans to go to Mexico and revolutionize the foster care system, having grown up as a foster child himself; while Ozichi E. is headed to Paris and London to explore black identity in these cities, which he believes hold “a peculiar relationship with blackness.”
Others were looking to further their existing efforts of international stewardship, stalled by the finances involved with trips overseas. For Piper S., her passion for mindfulness to global inequality can continue in Rwanda, where she’ll be volunteering with a non-profit legal-aid services organization and facilitating human rights workshops. And for Michael G., the Explore the World scholarship will allow him to return to Columbia, where he has worked as a high school teacher, so he can bridge the gap in educational access and provide tutoring and materials for youth in underserved communities.
Whatever the adventure ahead, these eight participants (and the other 73 scholarship recipients from across the U.S), will be spreading an important message that is at the very heart of what HI USA as an organization is about: through travel, we can truly build a better world. All it takes is a bit of action, and a lot of understanding.
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