Next week, the World Affairs Council is gearing up to begin the 10th annual Global Travel Scholarship program by closing the nomination phase. Supported by generous regional individuals, foundations, and corporations, over 90 students have gone through the transformative experience provided by the Experiment in International Living.
The Council launched its Global Travel Scholarship Program in 2004. Since its inception, 91 area students have been given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of a foreign country, an experience that many of these students might not have otherwise had. The Scholarships awarded by the Council cover the full cost of The Experiment’s programs. The Council also pays for each student to obtain a passport.
The Council focuses on recruiting Scholars from city schools, suburban communities hit hard by the economic crisis and the loss of the steel industry, and rural areas. The Council works closely with teachers and after-school programs in these districts, soliciting nominations of students whom the teachers and mentors believe are mature enough to handle the cross-cultural nature of the Program. Those students who advance to the final round are interviewed by the Council’s Selection Committee.
Each Scholar spends three to five weeks in their designated country. Depending on the program and country selected, the Scholars have an opportunity to participate in community service projects, language training, regional exploration, outdoor adventure, or the Arts. All of the Scholars live with a local family for part of their time abroad.
This past summer 20 Pittsburgh-area juniors were selected and they traveled to 14 different countries. Their experiences varied from England to Botswana from Peru to Thailand. Upon their return to Pittsburgh, they have become fundamentally changed. As Heaven Brown, a student from Cornell High School, mentioned in her essay, “My experiences during the rest of the trip only added to my self esteem. This journey has only inspired me to venture out into the world even in my own area.”