Rotary created the Ambassadorial Scholarship in 1947 for one purpose only: To further
world peace by integrating scholars into different cultures. They felt that
an exchange like this would lead to better understanding of the world for the
scholar and everyone he or she met during the year.
Every year, Rotary sends OVER 1000 scholars from countries all over the
world to integrate into new cultures, go to school and do service projects.
In the 57 years of this scholarship, more than 30,000 scholars have been sent
abroad. Each year over $26 MILLION DOLLARS are spent and it is ALL raised privately
by the Rotary Clubs of the world! The sheer numbers make this VERY powerful for world peace and understanding.
Here is how it works. All Rotary Clubs are separated into different districts
in thier state or country. Each club donates a set amount of money to the district for scholarships
each year. Then it is the district's job to hold interviews and choose one or more scholars
to go abroad. After that, it's the scholar's job to further international
understanding and friendly relations in the assigned country.
The Scholarship covers all expenses under $25,000 dollars and some districts
raise enough money to give more than one scholarship. Sometimes three or four!
I learned about the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship through the VERY effective
efforts of Dr. Jim Duban, Director of the Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships
at the University of North Texas. He is a HUGE asset to our school! If it wasn't
for his constant training and support, I never would have won the scholarship.
My Sponsor Rotary Club is Denton-South, located in the same city as the
University of North Texas. They trained me incredibily well for my year abroad and
even helped me buy the digital camera so I could make this website!
My Rotary District is 5790 (North Central Texas) where my sponsor club, Denton-South is located.
This district has 62 clubs and over 3500 Rotarians. Each of them donated money for me and another scholar to go abroad!
And ya know what takes the cake?
If my Mom or Dad had been Rotarians, I could have never applied for the
scholarship. That's right! To avoid politics, Rotary does not give this
scholarship to thier own, only to people outside of Rotary.
I got to know Dr. Duban, the Denton-South Rotary Club and District 5790 very
well because I applied for 3 STRAIGHT YEARS. I guess the third time was the charm!
A few days after my third year of applying, District 5790 Governor Chuck Kurtzman (2003-04)
called and told me I had finally won! I was excited beyond belief!
From there, they sent me to the Ambassadorial Scholar Elect Training Seminar
in Austin, Texas to learn all about the purpose of this scholarship. Rotary
makes this seminar mandatory for all scholars and it was THE BEST preparation I could have received.
It was there I learned I was going to Spain!
Rotary has the scholar choose 5 cities and they decide where the scholar is
needed the most. My choices were all Spanish speaking: Madrid, Spain; Seville, Spain;
San Juan, Puerto Rico; Mexico City, Mexico; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
From that point it is our responsibility to gain acceptance into a university....
Give speeches (in the foriegn tongue) to as many Rotary Clubs in our host country as possible....
Join the Rotaract Service Club with other young professionals in our assigned city...
Do as much community service as possible...
Integrate into the culture by speaking the language, learning to cook the food...
and in my case, learning the music.
Sharing the sponsor culture with the host culture....
And learning about the world through contact with as many people as possible!
In 2005 Rotary is celebrating it's 100th anniversary!
In addition to doing community service projects all over the world,
here are a FEW other things they have done:
Click HERE- for the Highlights of my Rotary Scholarship Year