November 4, 2006

Where’s 104-year-old Waldo? Still working!

Spry Kansas senior raises bees and sells honey, just retired from running

I love this article!!!! :)

"I'm not a strong believer in retirement. I don't think retirement is in the Bible. Maybe it's there, but I haven't found it," he said.

"My running got so slow I could walk as fast as I could run," he said.

He attributes his longevity to many things _ genes, exercise, food, mental attitude and faith. Many in his family lived into their 80s and 90s.

McBurney believes in a healthy diet with lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, much of it grown in his garden.

"The kids in the city come home from school with nothing to do. They sit down in front of the TV with a bottle of pop and a sack of potato chips and they get fat, and fat is a killer," he said.
---> I think he figured out our childhood obesity problem

No drinking, no smoking
McBurney says he never smoked or drank alcohol, which he believes helped him live longer.

"I always got along fairly well without them, so I still don't know the taste of either of them," he said.

October 20, 2006

Just in case you didn't know, there aren't a lot of women in B-school...

So someone posts this on BusinessWeek boards:

The Yale School of Management has the highest percentage of female students of the top business schools in the U.S. and Europe, according to a recent census of leading M.B.A. programs.

With female enrollment at 38 percent for the class of 2008, SOM reported the highest female-to-male ratio of 27 prestigious institutions, according to a report released last week by the Forte Foundation. SOM was followed by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which has a female enrollment of 36 percent. The census showed an overall trend of an increasing number of women pursuing business degrees.

"Our mission of educating leaders for business and society cuts across gender lines in a fundamental way that is appealing to any prospective student who hopes to make a positive difference in the world," SOM Dean Joel Podolny said. …..

And then someone else posts this:

I would like to add that I am also very female friendly. I open doors for women, comment when they change hair style, try to refrain from staring at their chests, and I always say excuse me after I belch.

Looks like I have a lot in common with Yale.


October 12, 2006

Cameroonians Fight Breast Ironing

(I cant believe this!!! )
Ms. Magazine - August 4, 2006

Cameroonians Fight Breast Ironing
Breast ironing, a brutal practice meant to slow the development of young women's breasts in order to ward off sexual attention, is inflicted on a quarter of all girls in Cameroon, according to a recent study by GTZ, a German NGO.
An additional 3.8 million girls, nearly one-fourth the population of Cameroon, are at risk of breast ironing. The practice involves wrapping heated bandages around a young girl’s chest, then “massaging” or pounding the breast with stones, wooden pestles or hammers that have been heated over coals.

According to BBC News, many mothers and female relatives support the practice — though practitioners can face a three year prison sentence — because, they say, undeveloped breasts mean increased educational opportunity and protection against “sexual immorality.” GTZ’s research shows that women victims face serious health risks, including cyst formation, cancer, serious infections, and damage to skin and breast tissue.

In an effort to fight breast ironing, the Network of Aunties Association (RENATA), a local NGO composed of teen mothers, has partnered with GTZ to launch a television and radio advertising campaign explaining the dangers of the ritual. It is a personal mission for some members of RENATA, such as the organization’s Executive Director, Bessem Ebanga, who told Agence France-Presse, "The aim of RENATA is to prevent young girls from being subjected to what we were."

October 1, 2006

A 3.41 minute clip about Carrboro..makes me want to live there

It is sort of funny that I went from Austin, Texas to Durham, NC and this town called, 'Carrboro,' is just like 10 minutes from my house and it looks like it is a Austin double.

Check out this funny clip on You Tube.

September 29, 2006

Today PIPA, the organization I work for, has released a poll of Iraqis. The
poll was conducted earlier this month in Iraq and the results are what many
may have expected. Go to our website for the
article, questionnaire and full report.

Some choice findings.

71% of Iraqis want the US to gradually withdraw its troops within one year.
This number includes a strong majority of both Shias (74%) and Sunnis (91%).
Not to leave out any major ethnic/religious groups, an overwhelming 91% of
all Iraqis support the US leaving within two years, including a majority of
Kurds (79%). Only 9% of Iraqis want the US to stay until the security
situation stabilizes.

78% of Iraqis think the US is provoking more conflict than it is preventing.
Only 21% think the US is a stabilizing force. 77% of Iraqis think the US
plans to have permanent bases and 78% think the US would refuse to leave if

In addition, 79% of Iraqis think the US is a mostly negative influence in
Iraq. worse than their impressions of Iran (52% negative) and Syria (55%
negative). More Iraqis have a favorable view of Hezbollah (62% favorable).

Iraqis are also not confident that US military forces can protect their
security, with 84% having little or no confidence in US military forces.
Only 16% have a lot or some confidence. By contrast, Iraqis have more
confidence in the Iraqi police (71% some or a lot), Iraqi army (64%) and
Iraqi Interior Ministry forces (62%).

Because they do not perceive the US as willing to leave, 61% of Iraqis
support attacks against US troops, including a majority of both Sunnis (92%)
and Shias (62%). Only Kurds do not favor attacks against the US. This
finding is up dramatically from January when 47% of Iraqis favored attacks
against the US. The big difference? Though Sunni support for attacks is
unchanged, support for attacks among Shias has risen dramatically from 41%
in January to 62% in the most recent poll.

Hollywood tackles Mexican mystery

Hollywood tackles Mexican mystery
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Mexican police have charged a man in connection with a string of murders in a border town. The so-called maquiladora murders are the subject of two Hollywood films, one of which stars Jennifer Lopez and is due out in the US next month.

September 26, 2006

100 best employers for working mothers

More companies offer flex hours in order to retain female employees

This is good to know we have this force working for women.

September 15, 2006

Shanghai muddle over popular name

If you are trying to track down someone named Chen Jie in Shanghai, you may need a little extra help.

According to official statistics, it is the city's most popular name and is currently shared by 3,937 people.

But while the government wants parents to choose more unusual names, they are limited to those on a list of standard Chinese characters.

Over 1.5 million people in the capital, Beijing, have the surname Wang, the Shanghai Daily reported.

China has more than 700 family names, but the vast majority of people use one of the most popular 20 names.

September 10, 2006

Senate report: No Saddam, al-Qaida link

Long-awaited analysis also finds that anti-Saddam group misled U.S.

Note: I don't considering the totality of the circumstances, Saddam's connection to Al-Qaida and building up a nuclear weapons arsenal were the 2
main reasons we went to Iraq.

WASHINGTON - There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report issued Friday on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush’s justification for invading Iraq.

Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.

Republicans countered that there was little new in the report and Democrats were trying to score election-year points with it.

The declassified document released Friday by the intelligence committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

It concludes that postwar findings do not support a 2002 intelligence community report that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, possessed biological weapons or ever developed mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents.

The 400-page report comes at a time when Bush is emphasizing the need to prevail in Iraq to win the war on terrorism while Democrats are seeking to make that policy an issue in the midterm elections.

It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.”

Bush and other administration officials have said that the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq before the war was evidence of a connection between Saddam’s government and al-Qaida. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in June this year.

Click for related content
WP: Iraq sees record number of roadside bombs
Senate chapter on Saddam, al-Qaida (PDF file)
Senate chapter on Iraq National Congress (PDF file)

Partisan reaction
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the report was “nothing new.”

“In 2002 and 2003, members of both parties got a good look at the intelligence we had and they came to the very same conclusions about what was going on,” Snow said. That was “one of the reasons you had overwhelming majorities in the United States Senate and the House for taking action against Saddam Hussein,” he said.
--> so you knew there was no al-Qaida connection and no nukes?!!@#$

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., a member of the committee, said the long-awaited report was “a devastating indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration’s unrelenting, misleading and deceptive attempts” to link Saddam to al-Qaida.

The administration, said Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., top Democrat on the committee, “exploited the deep sense of insecurity among Americans in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, leading a large majority of Americans to believe — contrary to the intelligence assessments at the time — that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 attacks.”

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said it has long been known that prewar assessments of Iraq “were a tragic intelligence failure.”

But he said the Democratic interpretations expressed in the report “are little more than a vehicle to advance election-year political charges.” He said Democrats “continue to use the committee to try and rewrite history, insisting that they were deliberately duped into supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

Divisions slowed release
The intelligence committee issued a portion of its analysis, labeled Phase I, on prewar intelligence shortcomings in July 2004. But concluding work on Phase II of the study has been more problematic because of partisan divisions over how senior policymakers used intelligence in arguing for the need to drive Saddam from power.

Last November, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada forced the Senate into a rare closed-door session to discuss the delay in coming out with the new data.

The 400-page report covers only two of the five topics outlined under Phase II. Much of the information — on the intelligence supplied by the INC and Chalabi and the overestimation of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction threat — has been documented in numerous studies.

The committee is still considering three other issues as part of its Phase II analysis, including statements of policymakers in the run-up to the war.

An Alternate 9/11 History

By staying 'humble,' as he promised in 2000, Bush preserved much of the post-9/11 good will abroad.

September 9, 2006

Spanish fashion show rejects too-skinny models

Women with very low body-mass index not allowed on runway

You go Spain!!! Hopefully the rest of the industry in the world will follow suit.

September 8, 2006

Women migrants 'suffer double discrimination'

By Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent
Published: 07 September 2006

Women migrants who travel to Britain and other developed countries are
put at risk of exploitation and abuse because governments "overlook and
ignore" them, the United Nations says, and there is a "dire need" for
stronger co-operation between rich and poor countries to ensure
migration around the world is better managed.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed in a report that women now make
up half of the world's 191 million international migrants, compared
with less than 45 per cent in 1960.

They contribute billions to the economies of the countries they travel
to in terms of taxes and consumption, and are also more likely than
male migrants to send remittances to help their families in their
countries of origin.

But the report warned that governments in the West were not doing
enough to protect women from forced migration in the forms of sex
trafficking, enforced marriages and employment abuses. It also attacked
countries such as the UK for stripping Aids-ravaged countries such as
South Africa of key female workers such as nurses to plug their own
staffing gaps.

When female migrants arrive in Western countries, they often miss out
on health care because they are not aware of their rights and remain at
risk of exploitation from employers.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the UNFPA, said: "There is a
dire need for greater action to address the lack of opportunities and
human rights violations that lead many women to migrate in the first

"There is an urgent need for stronger co-operation between countries to
make migration more safe and fair. We call on governments to recognise
and value the contributions of migrant women and to promote and respect
their human rights."

She pointed to a new law in Sweden that prosecuted men who were caught
with sex workers rather than the women as an example of how the
problems of sex trafficking could be tackled.

Ms Obaid said that women often suffered double discrimination from
being both female and migrants. She added that rather than the
imposition of quotas, such as those being discussed for new EU entrants
such as Bulgaria, Britain should work with poorer countries to build up
their own education and health systems so that people were not forced
to travel abroad to escape grinding poverty.

But she also upheld the rights of people to travel abroad in search of
a better life. "Migration for economic well-being is a human right,"
she said. "These people contribute a lot to economies... Countries
should discuss together how to manage migration. If it is done well,
then it is a win-win situation for both the sending and the receiving

Her view contrasted sharply with that expressed by the new director
general of the Confederation of British Industry, Richard Lambert, who
warned earlier this week that the wave of cheap labour from eastern
Europe could put social cohesion at risk.

The UN report also revealed that claims about "floods" of migrants were
exaggerated. Since 1960, the proportion of migrants has remained
stable, accounting for 2.9 per cent of the global population. The US
takes the highest proportion of the world's international migrants, 20
per cent, compared with just 2 per cent in the UK. Refugees and
asylum-seekers represent just 3 per cent of all international migrants
in Europe.

Women migrants who travel to Britain and other developed countries are
put at risk of exploitation and abuse because governments "overlook and
ignore" them, the United Nations says, and there is a "dire need" for
stronger co-operation between rich and poor countries to ensure
migration around the world is better managed.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed in a report that women now make
up half of the world's 191 million international migrants, compared
with less than 45 per cent in 1960.

They contribute billions to the economies of the countries they travel
to in terms of taxes and consumption, and are also more likely than
male migrants to send remittances to help their families in their
countries of origin.

But the report warned that governments in the West were not doing
enough to protect women from forced migration in the forms of sex
trafficking, enforced marriages and employment abuses. It also attacked
countries such as the UK for stripping Aids-ravaged countries such as
South Africa of key female workers such as nurses to plug their own
staffing gaps.

When female migrants arrive in Western countries, they often miss out
on health care because they are not aware of their rights and remain at
risk of exploitation from employers.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the UNFPA, said: "There is a
dire need for greater action to address the lack of opportunities and
human rights violations that lead many women to migrate in the first

"There is an urgent need for stronger co-operation between countries to
make migration more safe and fair. We call on governments to recognise
and value the contributions of migrant women and to promote and respect
their human rights."

She pointed to a new law in Sweden that prosecuted men who were caught
with sex workers rather than the women as an example of how the
problems of sex trafficking could be tackled.

Ms Obaid said that women often suffered double discrimination from
being both female and migrants. She added that rather than the
imposition of quotas, such as those being discussed for new EU entrants
such as Bulgaria, Britain should work with poorer countries to build up
their own education and health systems so that people were not forced
to travel abroad to escape grinding poverty.

But she also upheld the rights of people to travel abroad in search of
a better life. "Migration for economic well-being is a human right,"
she said. "These people contribute a lot to economies... Countries
should discuss together how to manage migration. If it is done well,
then it is a win-win situation for both the sending and the receiving

Her view contrasted sharply with that expressed by the new director
general of the Confederation of British Industry, Richard Lambert, who
warned earlier this week that the wave of cheap labour from eastern
Europe could put social cohesion at risk.

The UN report also revealed that claims about "floods" of migrants were
exaggerated. Since 1960, the proportion of migrants has remained
stable, accounting for 2.9 per cent of the global population. The US
takes the highest proportion of the world's international migrants, 20
per cent, compared with just 2 per cent in the UK. Refugees and
asylum-seekers represent just 3 per cent of all international migrants
in Europe.

Does sex really sell? Perhaps not to women

Researchers gauged responses to photos of attractive women

I always wondered why they put sexy photo advertisments in womens magazines...

September 1, 2006

Chinese police end funeral striptease acts

Chinese police end funeral striptease acts
Traditional titillating farewells used to attract crowds for the deceased

Quote of the Month

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world
but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all. -- Anna

July 26, 2006

Ambassadorial Scholar thankful for Rotary's ticket to the world

Click to go to the article with photo on Rotary's website.

From Rotary World, April 2006
By Abby Breitstein
Rotary International News

Ruby Powers laughingly calls herself a "Rotary lifer," even though she has yet to join a Rotary club.

"I got started with Interact in high school, and then I spent two summers doing RYLA," says Powers, who is from San Antonio, Texas, USA. In her senior year, she attended a presentation by returned Youth Exchange participants and was struck by one similarity. "Every single one of them said, 'It was the best year of my life.'" Soon, Powers was in her own predeparture orientation for her year in Verviers, Belgium.

After attending the University of Texas at Austin, where she became president of her Rotaract club, Powers was ready for her next Rotary adventure. In the summer of 2004, she left for Barcelona, Spain, as an Ambassadorial Scholar. She had no plans for a service project, but right after she arrived, one found her.

"I got an e-mail about a woman whose son had a rare metabolic disease that could only be successfully treated by a doctor in Barcelona," she says. The family needed a place to stay, and Powers knew just whom to ask: the Rotary Club of Barcelona Millennium, who hosted her. Soon, she was the contact person for families from around the world, each with a very sick child.

As she learned more about the disease and the Manuela Martinez Foundation, which supports work to treat it, Powers began talking to clubs and, last June, organized a fundraising dinner. She now says the foundation has become a personal project.

Back in the United States and in her first year of law school, Powers is grateful to Rotary for her Ambassadorial Scholarship. "[The message isn't] get a 4.0 and hole up in your room studying. It's go out there, build bridges, learn, and connect the world. I love that."

Learn about the Manuela Martinez Foundation at

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of Rotary World.

My summer in two sentences...

It has been crazy - finished my first year of law school, a week with family in MO, drive/move to TX, start a 7-week internship in San Antonio, one week in Mexico, move to Dallas, and start my 4 -week internship here. Now, I have just 3 weeks before we return and I have so much to do to prep for my life back in NC.

I read an article in Prevention about Americans have so little non-stressful time bc we are always surrounded by cell phones, computer, telephones, internet, tv, blackberries, etc. I agree. I will find some good quotes from that article.

July 22, 2006

Just finished reading Barefoot Heart by Elva Hart Trevino

It is about a migrant Mexican American Texan family from the youngest daughter's point of view. It was good to read and compare notes on experiences in Mexico, Texas, and midwest as being a mix of Mexican and American.

It actually inspires me to write a book sooner than later......

I saw a guy I went to HS with at my grocery store in Dallas

We went to hs in the late 90's in San Antonio and saw each other after about 5 years since meeting up at UT, at the local downtown grocery store in Dallas.

I think I might just start making a list of occurences that help explain my blog's url.

re: Daniel Pearl's 'We are watching you....' posting on BBC

Daniel Pearl's post on BBC News

You are right; you have the right to read what is openly free to the public.

The last part mentioned about student interns writing about their experiences on the blog for their friends reminds me of a similar occurrence on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in 2004. A Senate staffer maintained a blog where she wrote about her sexual escapades using code names for her lovers for her friends to follow the story. Soon it was discovered by people other than her friends and decoded. After being fired, she later wrote a book.

Thanks for showing me technorati site.

July 4, 2006

Report: CIA unit that hunted bin Laden closed

N.Y Times says officials don't see al-Qaida as hierarchical as it once was

no comment.

Ode to Frequest Flier Miles...etc.

So I finally got around to reading this article about frequent flier miles and how to use them, etc.

I feel like there are a lot of people who dont know how to use them, get them, etc. and they are this scary topic of ' I know I could benefit from them but I dont know what to do.'

My grandmother has flown to more countries than I have and I just got her signed up for 2 airlines programs this last May. I feel bad I hadnt mentioned it to her before but I think I thought she already knew about it.

I got my first miles in 1999 when I flew to Belgium and back. Within a year and a half, I had a free flight from all my continental travels.

I also have received one free flight with United and one with Southwest. In total, I have racked up 3 free flights, each iwth a different airline. I should have a free one with United and SW soon.

My husband and I got the United Credit Card in 2004 probably and use it all the time. I just ordered the Southwest CC because I fly SW all the time and it looks like they have the best program out there.

Here are the links to some articles:
Mileage programs: Been great to know you

Airline Miles - Useless? Part Two

June 20, 2006

Smart, Skilled, Shut Out

Intel agencies are desperate for Arabic speakers. So why do they reject some of the best and brightest?

I know someone who this happened it must be happening to a lot of skilled people.

May 27, 2006

Abuse plagues Muslim women in Germany

Immigrant women, especially those from Muslim countries, find themselves isolated and mistreated by husbands clinging to sexual and marital attitudes alien in the adopted country.'s Rachel Elbaum tells the stories of two these women and what is being done to help them.

When society gets in the way of sexuality

Culture clashes with human nature in the strangest of ways

Koro, the anxious feeling that your penis is retracting back into your body, is often described as a “culture-bound” psychiatric disorder. Sometimes, episodes of koro come in waves, almost epidemics. Some victims believe that if the penis shrinks far enough into their bodies, they’ll die.

Dhat syndrome is another so-called culture-bound disorder. Victims of dhat syndrome come to believe that semen lost during sleep, through masturbation, or by having sex, is literally draining them of life force. They can feel lethargic or weak. Some have great sexual performance anxiety.

For example, Caucasian women were much more likely to masturbate than were African-American, Hispanic, Chinese or Japanese women. Almost half of Hispanic women engaged in oral sex once per week or more, but only 10.5 percent of Chinese women did. Just over 70 percent of African-American women had intercourse once per week or more; 41.5 percent of Japanese women did.

May 22, 2006

Iran pushes Islamic dress code for women

Fears rise that Tehran will restore mandatory head coverings, overcoats

'Now on Tehran’s busy streets, only some women adhere to the strict code of the chador. Others are seen in scarves that leave almost their entire heads bare, showing blonde-highlighted hair, and brightly colored formfitting jackets, called “manteaus,” that stop just under the waist, revealing jeans and sandaled feet with painted nails.'

Oh no, painted nails!! That reminds me, I need to get a pedicure.

1470 miles in 4 days - Durham to Dallas to San Antonio

I finally made it. Burak and I drove 1200 miles from Durham to Dallas then we unloaded our cars to set up our apartment in downtown Dallas. Then I drove to Austin, had dinner with a great friend, Ann, and then drove on down to SA. I start my law internship at Legal Aid in downtown SA tomorrow AM. 8AM!

This is going to be a great learning experience. What is like to live in SA after leaving it 7 years ago? Where do I want to end up, in Austin, Dallas, Round Rock, etc? What do I like about Texas? Can I live with this crazy heat? What is like to work in a law office? What will I actually be doing?

Anyway, I have a lot of questions but I hope to find a lot of answers these next 3 months.

Stay tuned...ok, now for a nap.

April 21, 2006

U.K. crackdown on wild bachelor parties abroad

Britons to be charged for seeking government's help when things go wrong

It blamed an increase in anti-social behavior on holiday on the growing number of no-frills airlines offering cheap flights.

When we lived in Barcelona, we knew at least 3 ppl at 2 separate companies that catered to these parties in Barcelona. With the pound so strong, a weekend in Barcelona was so cheap for Brits. They would often be at the touristy places so I wouldtn see them. It was a known fact that the Brits couldnt hold their liquor though.

Funny to actually see an article about this....

April 13, 2006

'Honour killing' brother jailed - Turkish siblings in Berlin

A 19-year-old Turkish man has been jailed for nine years and three months by a German court for shooting his sister in a so-called "honour killing".

There are 200,000 Turks in Berlin alone..
This girl that was shot by her brother must have been 15 when she was married to her cousin. Then she has a 5 year old at 23..must have had him at 18.

This story is just sad...Girl tries to make the most out of her life but can't because of her family and family's culture.

For more about Honor to love BBC news for giving a lot of background information at each article they cover...

Q&A: Honour killings explained

March 18, 2006

Nine Steps to a Perfect Career Fit

By Susan Pines, Jist Publishing

James Leahy, 39, of Cincinnati has held and resigned from more than 20 jobs. "I've built fences, inspected property, worked in sales and done home remodeling, to name a few." Currently he works in distribution and warehousing.

Did unhappiness cause him to leave most of the jobs?

"Definitely," Leahy says. He added that he's never found just the right job or had a true career focus.

Career Satisfaction Elusive for Many

While most people have not worked in 20 different jobs, Leahy is not alone in his career dissatisfaction. Half of all Americans are unhappy in their jobs, according to findings by the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group. In addition, most people can expect three to five career changes and 10 or more job changes in their working years, reports the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Many people spend years unhappy in their careers," says Michael Farr, author of "Overnight Career Choice" (JIST Publishing).

"Some move from job to job, searching for more-fulfilling or better-paying work. Others say they fell into a career without asking it if suited them. Still others follow in the footsteps of a parent or pursue a hot field."

Career indecision and unhappiness have high stakes, both in pay and personal satisfaction.

"You are more likely to enjoy, stay with and be successful in a career that suits your interests and skills. For these reasons, you would be wise to spend some time considering what you want out of your work," Farr says.

Nine Steps to Your Best Career Fit

A large body of research gives nine predictors for career satisfaction and success, according to Farr's book. By thinking about these factors in an organized way, you can make the right career choice in a short time.

Farr suggests you take a few hours to consider the following nine most important components of an ideal career before thinking about specific job titles:

1. What are you good at?
List your top skills and abilities. Think about your personality traits, such as honesty and enthusiasm; your general skills that are useful in many jobs, such as writing clearly or an ability to prioritize; and your job-related skills learned through education, training and experience.

2. What interests you?
Write down your top interests. Are you good with computers? Do you have a knack for repairing engines or furniture? Do you enjoy photography? Do you have a flair for numbers? Do you like to help people solve their problems? Consider all of your interests.

3. What motivates you and is most important to you?
Prioritize the values you would like to include in a career. Do you want to help society and others? Would you like to have authority? Do you want creative or exciting work? How important is variety, independence, recognition, good pay and security to you? Think about what you really want from your career.

4. How much money would you realistically like to earn?
Mull over the money issue now so you can make a good decision when you receive a job offer. If you found the perfect job in all other respects, what would be the least pay you would accept? What is the reasonable lower end and upper end of pay you can expect on your next job?

5. What level of responsibility do you want?
Decide how much responsibility you are willing to accept in your ideal career. Do you like to be in charge? Are you good at supervising others? Do you want to be accountable for the performance of others, of a department, or of a territory?

6. Where do you want your ideal job to be located?
Consider where you would like your work to be located geographically. Are you willing to move? What kind of a commute do you want? Do you want to be near relatives or public transportation? As you add criteria, you will have fewer places to look for your job, but you may end up with what you want.

7. What special knowledge would you like to include in your career?
List knowledge that you have gained from school, hobbies, family experiences and other formal and informal sources. Are you a good cook? Are you talented at home decorating? Do you like to work with kids? Do you have a good understanding of investments? As you fine-tune your career choice, include one or two of your special knowledges. They could make you a unique applicant in the right setting. For example, a public relations specialist who knows a great deal about bicycle racing would be an ideal candidate at a bicycling association.

8. What kind of work environment do you prefer?
Define what you did and did not like in past work settings to create your ideal work environment picture. For example, do you like to work outdoors? Do you prefer a small or large organization? Does a quiet work space appeal to you?

9. What types of people do you like to work for and with?
Identify the types of co-workers you prefer. If you have ever had a rotten boss or worked with a group of losers, you know why this is important. Do you prefer creative types? People who are friendly or who keep your relationship very professional? Do you want a boss who interacts with you all day or one who lets you work independently?

After you define these nine ideal career factors, Farr suggests that you use them to research specific job titles and employers and keep the factors in mind during job interviews.

"Although you may need to compromise, getting as close as possible to your ideal career choice will likely pay off in success and satisfaction for years to come."

Susan Pines is the Associate Publisher of JIST Publishing and is responsible for managing some of JIST's best-selling reference products, including Overnight Career Choice, Best Jobs for the 21st Century, and College Majors Handbook. She has dedicated her career to helping people by making complicated labor market and career information understandable, accessible and beneficial.

February 22, 2006

The deal would put six of the largest ports in the hands of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates

Bush threatens veto in ports row
US President George W Bush says he will veto any law blocking a deal giving an Arab company control of six US ports.

He (Bush) called on opponents to explain why they opposed a Middle Eastern firm taking over when they did not oppose a British company being in control.

Republican Congressman Pete King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said: "I will fight harder than ever for this legislation, and if it is vetoed I will fight as hard as I can to override it."
...Thank goodness!

Critics fear an increased risk of terrorist attacks, pointing out that the UAE was the home of two of the hijackers involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"We all deal with the UAE on a regular basis. It's a country that's been involved in the global war on terror."

February 21, 2006

So which place is better for women who want to make it to the top?

Forget all the talk of equal opportunity. European women can have a job—but not a career.

"Women, it seems, can have a job—but not a high-powered career.

Why is this? Simply put, Europe is killing its women with kindness—enshrined, ironically, in cushy welfare policies that were created to help them."

"We have got to get more women into the labor market," says Vladi mir Spidla, the EU commissioner of Employment and Social Affairs. Declining birthrates and aging populations threaten the financial stability of almost all European nations, he explains. With a massive skills gap and pension crisis looming, the Continent must bring in more high-level workers. Immigration—the main solution thus far—presents obvious cultural challenges. Taking better advantage of existing female populations is an obvious answer.

Denying the Holocaust happened can get you jail time...

British historian David Irving has been found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry and sentenced to three years in prison.

Czech Republic

February 20, 2006

Friend doing Peace Corps in Romania - Her 5th update

Hello all,

Hope you are all doing well and making it through the winter, wherever you are. Here the weather is finally warming up to the 50s, but in recent weeks it was so cold that the Black Sea froze over, which apparently hasn't happened in 30 years People were driving from Bucharest just to take pictures and prove they were there "when it happened."

We've been back to school now for about 6 weeks and the kids finally seem to be getting back to work mode. The first semester finished up in January, and I was pleased to see that most of my kids made it through the exams, even though taking exams during the year is quite a new thing for them. The 9th graders, to whom I'm teaching American history, were tasked with writing a story about a fictional character in early America. They had never had a "creative" exam, but for the most part I was happy to see they got the idea. The Romanian teaching method in English is still putting most emphasis on grammar and not content, so it's my job to give them skills in this area. We also had an essay-writing contest sponsored by Peace Corps Romania, and one of my students was very happy to learn she'd won third prize at the national level.

Between the semesters we had a one week break, but it was so cold I didn't really venture out (although the situation inside my apartment wasn't much better). Instead I worked at warming up the kitchen by making new dishes with the vegetables available at the market place right now: carrots, turnips, potatoes, and onions. Of course Romanians are quite good at making things with these ingredients and my host mom has been helping me out. She gave me two whole pickled cabbages to take home and make soup with (they have a keg with about 100 in it), and that turned out reasonably well. My little gas stove seems to be working better but I still fear it could blow up when I light it.

Outside of work, I've been spending time with my host family, which usually just involves watching Romanian TV (lots of traditional singing), eating more than one should, and discussing various conspiracy theories involving the Americans and Russians. Romanians are well- known for their love of conspiracies, and to be a good guest you should have a knowledge of many different theories. I've also been spending time with my site-mate, Kelly, from Chicago, who will be leaving at the end of the school year. We have been cooking American food together, and next week we are planning a taco party for our fellow English teachers.

The next month will be bus-, and hopefully I'll be able to get out more as it warms up. At school we'll be doing a 7 week writing workshop, learning that we can write and don't need to plagiarize. We'll also be practicing for our school play, which will premiere in late April. I'll also be away from my site to Bucharest for my host granddaughter's baptism and to the mountain resort of Sinaia for a safety and security conference. I like my town but sometimes I'm glad to see other places as well.

I'm sure some of you have heard that the bird flu is now widespread (among poultry) in Romania, and you may have even read the BBC article saying Romania's sanitary conditions make it likely to soon have a human case. This may be true but there is no reason for worry right now. The bird flu is in my area (some neighboring villages are in quarantine), but Romanians don't live in close quarters with their birds and never play with them. Since most people here watch TV obsessively, they are well aware of the dangers and probably won't try to hide sick birds. So for the moment, don't worry too much about this.

That's it for now,

La Revedere!


February 7, 2006

Japan's Princess Kiko expecting a baby

Possibility of male heir comes as country debates royal succession law

All in the name of having a boy.........

'Conservatives have promoted the idea of reviving princely houses abolished after World War Two or even resuming the custom of royal concubines in an attempt to widen the potential pool of male heirs.

“Very frankly, before there was a system in which the emperor could have several wives,” Yoichi Masuzoe, a lawmaker with Koizumi’s ruling party, said before the news reports.

“This was the safety valve to keep the masculine line, but today it is impossible,” added Masuzoe, who is in favor of changing the succession law.'

February 5, 2006

Japan's 'nerd culture' almost mainstream

Subculture of comic books, life-sized dolls takes over Tokyo neighborhood

This is sort of scary. Does this help explain why women are getting married later if at all in Japan?

February 3, 2006

The French are getting taller and fatter

Study aims to help designers understand the sizes and shapes of clients

The average French woman today is just over 5 feet 3 inches tall and 137.6 pounds, compared to 5 feet 2 1/2 inches tall and 133.6 pounds in 1970.

The average height of an American woman, for example, is 5 feet 4 inches, and the average weight is 164.3 pounds, according to a study released in 2004 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

--> I am taller than the average American woman! I always find these things interesting. Whenever I live abroad, I have a hard time finding certain things that fit, like shoes. I am a size 11 in American women and 43 in European sizes. That is really hard to find in Mexico!!

February 2, 2006

My happy week! Jan 29-Feb 4

All of January was random (El Paso, San Antonio, Rotary conference, start a new semester of law school, find a summer job, make sure I get my private loan so I can pay my bills, buy a 2nd car, do my winter pro bono project, don't drop my responsibilities with my MK business, write a Rotary Scholar handbook,etc.)

Well maybe, 'busy' is a better word.

But this last week starting with Sunday has been great and I figure even if really no one reads this, I want to tell the world that I am really happy.

Good things
1. Had some epiphanies at church Sunday
2. Held a Baby shower for a friend Sunday
3. Got offered a generous speakers fee for a conference in April
4. Got offered the summer internship with Legal Aid in San Antonio
5. Signed my private loan check so I can have some money these next few months (was noticing I needed enough to pay the rent today so I realized I had to go sign the check)
6. My driver side car window works! (It wasn't working for a while)
7. I started an official club at school with some friends, Carolina Law and Policy Association and it will be what we think is missing, a policy focused group for us to network and learn from (It went from idea to club in less then one week!)
8. I was elected Carolina Public Interest Legal Organization's Vice President-Secretary.
9. My husband got a job offer with American Express
10. My husband got a 2nd interview with McKinsey in Atlanta this week.

Wow! This is so awesome. It is sort of like a story I heard on a Christian radio this week. This certain type of bamboo will not grow in height for 5 years but within 90 days will grow a ridiculous amount. Basically, you can work really hard for something and then all the sudden a lot of good things come from it.

So this is my official be happy, life is good week!
Ruby :)

February 1, 2006

Bush urges end to oil 'addiction'

Bush address
President George W Bush has warned the US must break its "addiction" to oil, in his State of the Union address.

To me, the state of the union is like the Super Bowl to most Americans. Next time, I am going to invite ppl over to my house to watch it so we can comment along during the speech. I had never noticed the division between the Reps and Dems before - there was a bright line between the two seen everytime one group would clap or stand. It was fun to see all the players in one room together. Look forward to being back in DC.

January 26, 2006

Mini bio for AIESECers - Nomadlife

Grew up in San Antonio, Texas (Clark HS '99). Exchange student with Rotary to Belgium (French part) 99-00. At UT-Austin from Fall 00 - Summer 02. Was in Business Honors then switched to Government. Adam told me about AIESEC my first week of school, I joined and soon met my husband, Burak Subasi, trainee from Turkey. I was a Recruitment Dir. and Culture Team VP (first officer to hold the position).

Moved to DC with Burak the summer we got married (June 2002), worked for the Committee on Homeland Security on the House side. Got the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to live and study in Barcelona, Spain. Burak and I took off from DC early to live with his parents in Turkey (western coast - can see the island of Lesvos from the beach). Then we went to Spain for a year. While in Europe, met up with many AIESECers and started an Austin AIESEC listserv for members in the 2000-2003 time frame.

Now Burak is at Duke MBA and I am at UNC Chapel Hill Law. We started in Aug 2005 and my hope is to get back to Texas as soon as we can. :)

Yes, our name is Burak (Subasi) and Ruby (Lichte)Powers now.

Keep in touch,

January 25, 2006

The Scholar’s Guide to being a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

1. Introduction
2. Expectation and Goals
3. Necessary Tools
4. Highly Suggested Tools
5. Before you leave
6. Packing
7. During your study period
8. Things to Consider
9. After your scholarship period
10. Final thoughts

1. Introduction
I was inspired to write this Guidebook based on all the things I learned from trial and error, living in five countries, and by asking LOTS of questions.
I would like to credit The Compleat Rotary Scholar by Andrew Neck and the 2004-2005 Ambassadorial Scholar’s Handbook for their assistance during my year.
I don’t intend for this Guidebook to be all encompassing of what a scholar should know, but more of a guide on things that might not have been mentioned or considered in preparation for the scholarship period.
I credit my last decade’s worth of Rotary experiences in allowing me to write from a Rotary inspired point of view stemming from Interact to RYLA to Rotary Youth Exchange to Rotaract to Rotex and most recently the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. I also thank my various study/live abroad experiences resulting from my Rotary Youth Exchange Year in Belgium, my college exchange semester in Mexico, my two months visiting my in-laws in Turkey, and my year in Spain as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

2. Expectations and Goals
Make sure you have your expectations in check and a list of goals to guide your scholarship period.
It will definitely be a life-changing experience. You will get out of it what you put into it. Each scholar’s experience is unique. Be prepared for things never to be the same again. As a fellow scholar said it best, ‘Normal will be different when you return.’
Don’t have lofty expectations that your scholarship money will afford your own flat/apartment to yourself and you will be able to afford to travel all over with your scholarship money. Your stipend was created with you being a student in mind. Anything beyond necessary you will have to foot the bill. Plus, to maximize travel, have some savings in the bank set aside just for that purpose to minimize regrets on not making the most of the experience.
Make goals in all different categories: academic, Rotary, personal, travel, cultural, lingual, etc. Have a list of goals before you leave. Keep them in mind as your time abroad progresses and feel free to change them as you see fit. It will help remind you what you thought was important before you arrived, help you chart your progress, and show you how your priorities change.
Last but not least, remember the purpose of the scholarship: to promote international understanding, goodwill, and world peace. Do a self evaluation occasionally to see if you think, through your actions, you are helping out with The Rotary Foundation’s mission.

3. Necessary Tools

Be optimistic. I can’t tell you how invaluable a positive, pro-active attitude is to making the most out of your scholarship.

Open Mind
To all scholars, especially if this is your first time out of the country, make sure you keep an open mind. The thought that most comes to mind under this topic is, ‘Just because they do things differently in another country, doesn’t mean it is wrong.’
When I lived in Belgium, I hated how all the stores closed during the lunch break so I could never get my errands done when I actually had the time. Later on, I realized everyone closed the stores at lunch to go home and eat with their families. I saw that what was once an inconvenience for me actually had a great reason that I came to appreciate.

“Can do” Spirit
What if you aren’t given a Rotary club until 2 months after you arrived, the club you are given is an hour away by train, and you aren’t given a Rotary counselor until half way through your scholarship period? Answer: You make do. Find a club, get one closer to you if one exists, and force the club to give you a counselor. That all happened to me and I still had a great experience. It probably will not be so bad but the bottom line is you need to get over these hurdles because you can and you need to.
You have to have a “Can Do” (you can do anything you set your mind to) spirit if you want to make the most out of your experience. If not, you will come home with a lot of excuses and have lost out on many ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities.

Support System
Make sure you have a support system to keep you grounded through the tough times. My friends all over the world, accessible through email, help me transition to each new place before I find new friends where I am living at the moment.
Call your family or friends at home if you need to, but not too often. You need to make new friends to rely on where you are living or you won’t be truly ‘living’ where you are located.

Business Cards
As a Rotary Youth Exchange student in high school, Rotary provided me with business cards with my home address, email address, phone number, emblem of the exchange program, and my photo. Yes, my photo. I have been told having a photo on my business card is very Rotary-esque and sometimes it can be a shock for people. In the end, when you are meeting people all the time in countless places, having a photo on your card is a great help in jogging the memory.
There is no mandatory rule for sponsor clubs to provide a scholar with business cards. This is what you do:
A. Get them
1. Collect the contents of your card
a. Find a recent headshot of yourself that is flattering (no mug shots, no nightmare driver’s license photos) and have it digitalized or in good shape for scanning.
b. Have your sponsor club’s district and name.
c. Confirm your host club’s name and district number. If you do not have that information, put your future district number and the city where you will be studying.
d. Decide on which email address you want people who meet you ‘over there’ to use to contact you. I would suggest a web based email address such as gmail (free with lots of storage), yahoo (great for listservs and potential websites), and hotmail.
It doesn’t have to be a new email address. For example, I used my old personal one. Don’t use a work address (why would you?) Some people made addresses just for their year (ie KatyinSpain@.., joedownunder@..)
If you want to use your name but it might be hard to spell for a foreigner, just use your first name or something easy for most languages.
You might think choosing an email is simple and it can be. After living in so many places, I have to write which city/country and which affiliation I meet a person with their name in my contact list. You might want to do the same since you could receive an email one day, years later, and not remember who is contacting you unless you wrote yourself a note.
e. List your website and/or blog site. More on this later but if you are going to have a website and/or blog, have it set up before you leave so you can have it on your card.
f. Download a Rotary wheel or the Rotary Foundation icon from You’ll find various sizes and colors under downloads.
g. Think about whatever else should be on your card, such as a quote, your permanent address, cell number, etc. Keep in mind, you might move and/or have a new number and address when you return. Plus, you want to keep the card simple. It is important not only to catch the eye and keep the font large enough to read, but also to keep the costs down of printing the 500 or so cards.

Note on local mobile phone number while a scholar:
I didn’t know my mobile number until I arrived in Spain. I would simply hand write the number on the back of the cards of people who wanted it. When I returned, I had the remaining cards, without my Spanish number on them, so I could easily just handwrite my new mobile number for my new location.

2. Get the cards made
a. Ask your Rotary club if they would provide you with business cards. What better practical aid to help you build friendships and long lasting relationships?
If there is hesitation when the question is presented, ask if there is a printer in the club and if they could do it for a discounted price (or better yet, for free!).
b. Try to get a student discount at a local printer, use your own connections, get them done online (many are free online), or do them yourself.
c. Go to a FedExKinko’s (or a similar printing store) This is what I did. Advantages include being able to talk to the person or persons making your card and having it done the way you want it. Plus, you can play around with the colors, fonts, etc. and know how they affect the price. Plus, it will only take a few days to complete so you can have them made shortly before you leave once you have all the pertinent information collected. These cards will represent you so make sure you are happy with them.
d. If your club agrees, why not combine the best of both worlds; design and print the cards on your own and send your sponsor club the bill. This way you get what you want and they help you with those extra set-up costs.

3. Obtain a business card holder
Now you have your cards, but you need a place to put them. A great gift before you leave is a card holder. When you are exchanging cards at a Rotary meeting or similar function, this small touch shows class plus you have a place to put the new cards you just received. If your parents or friends are searching for a thoughtful gift before you leave, have them give you a personalized business card holder.

B. Use them
1. Have them on you.
You’ve gone to all this trouble (hopefully not too much) so you need to have these cards on your at key times if not always possessing a couple in your purse, wallet, or backpack. Examples of key times that you’ll beat yourself up if you don’t have them are scholar district/country conference at the beginning of your term, Rotary District/International conferences, and most Rotary meetings. You’ll never know who you are going to meet and when you’ll meet them, so take the American Boy Scout rule to heart, “Be Prepared.”
2. Swap them with key Rotarians – presidents, governors, etc.
You never know how having the direct contact info of a key player will help you throughout your scholarship term.
3. Advertise them.
I always mentioned at the end of my speeches that I would pass on my card to anyone interested and that it contained my website URL, blog and all other essential contact info.
4. Make notes on them.
Do you know how many people in how many clubs in how many countries you can meet in a few months to a couple of years? Unless you have a perfect memory, make sure to follow this advice:
After you meet someone and exchange conversation and cards, make short and exact notes about that exchange on the back of their card.
Examples: They are the president of X club and like yachting (maybe you can go yachting with them if you ask.) Put as much info as you remember at the time on the card so you can refer to it later.
This advice is essential. I have hundreds of business cards from my youth exchange year, my work experience, and now from my Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar year. You are building your network and this is a key way to do it.

Rotary Club Banners
Each Rotary Club should have a banner. They always have a Rotary wheel and the name of the club. The rest of the design is up to the club to make it unique and to differentiate it from all other banners. When designing the banners, clubs are asked to use symbols and pictures of aspects from their community.
For example, my South Austin Rotary Club banner has a picture of the state capitol and is designed to look like the Texan flag. Many Barcelona banners have the Sagrada Familia or some other Gaudi piece displayed.
You will need roughly one banner, from your Host Rotary Club, for every speech you give. It will be fun exchanging and collecting them. Make sure you get them before you leave.

A. How to use them
Before a scheduled presentation, let your club contact know you will be bringing along your banner and would love to exchange it for their club banner.
At the presentation, take your banner up with you with your notes or what you have to the podium. Basically, have it handy.
After you end your presentation (and after the Q&A session, if you have it), you’ll want to present the banner to the club president (or representative). They will hopefully have theirs in hand.
Usually the president will say a few short words of thanks and accept your banner. This is the photo opportunity you should be ready for. Before you go up to speak, have your camera on and ready for someone to catch you speaking and the banner exchange. If you don’t get the banner exchange shot right after your speech, stage it at the end of the meeting and get the photo. No one will know the difference.
B. What to do with them after you return
It is customary to give the banners to your sponsor club once you return for them to show how many clubs their club representative, you, have visited.

Gifts from Home
There is no better way to share how much you appreciate your friendship than by giving a sincere gift from home. Not only is it a gift, it shows you cared enough to bring a gift all the way from your home. It represents something about yourself.
A. What should you bring?
Gifts that can be used in the kitchen (mugs, aprons, etc.), that can be put up on the wall (plaque), t-shirts, unique food from your home, jewelry, magnets, post cards, etc.
People to give them to:
• host counselor
• host club president
• friends
• university administration
• host family

When you take them to your new country you know you won’t be bringing them back. This is great in terms of luggage issues. Be realistic. Don’t buy too many heavy and fragile items. Keep it simple. Also don’t buy something you can easily get where you are going. You want the gift to be unique.
If you have someone visiting you from home during your year, make sure to have them bring something special you can use as gifts if you think you are running out of them and/or you can get something a friend in your new country would really appreciate.

My story:
I gave only a few things out. It really meant something to me if I did give a gift and my friends appreciated it.
One thing my Catalan friend wanted from the US was Suave deodorant. I know it might sound silly but I had my sister bring 3 large sticks from the US and my friend was very happy because she couldn’t find them in Barcelona.

Travel Guide Book
I really don’t know how you can make the most of your year without a travel guide of your host country and surrounding countries. Not only do they give you concise histories of a region, points about the culture, countless suggestions on things to see, and where to stay, but they just save you so much time and headache. Suggested books area Lonely Planet and Let’s Go.

The only problem with the popular books like LP and Let’s Go is that many people read the same advice. Hence, they eat at the some suggested restaurants and stay at the suggested hostels. This usually takes away from the original “charm” the reveiewer first found and usually raises the prices.
That being said, they still do a great job, have a wide range of writers and travelers, and have users helping update them. Plus, you will find other travelers at those places in the guide book who can share advice and/or who might want to travel with you.
Another point of caution, do not always accept what the book says as true. Prices change, times change, and hostels relocate without notice. If it is important, call or email in advance to confirm what the guide says is true.

My story:
For my year in Barcelona, I had the LP BCN, LP Spain, and LP Europe on a Shoestring guide books. The Barcelona guide was wonderful to lend to my guests in my absence during their excursions of Barcelona. My LP Spain was essential in hitting all the major regions of Spain and taking part in most of the festivals. The LP Europe was tremendous help during all my trips out of Spain especially during my 3-week Europe trip before returning home. Don’t leave home without a travel guide book!

4. Highly Suggested Tools

Digital Camera
Living as an exchange student in Belgium in 1999-2000, just imagine how much film I developed and had to ship home? Now-a-days, we have the glorious digital camera which is getting faster, smaller, cheaper, and can hold more pictures and videos each year. Why leave home without one?
You probably A already have one and/or B don’t need me to tell you how good they are. I will just give a couple of words of wisdom.
Having a digital camera means you can capture so many moments and share them easily with friends, family, and Rotarians back home.
A. What should I do if I don’t have a digital camera?

1. Ask your sponsor club for one.
I never would have thought of it until a scholar before me told me about it.
I proposed the idea with the intention of being able to update my website and share my experiences with people all over the world. My club told me to buy one and send them the receipt. They paid $350 for one and I paid for the extra gadgets and features out of my own pocket. It was much appreciated and I used it immensely for my website, gifts of photos, and presentations.
2. Buy a simple one yourself.
It is worth it and you can easily afford a couple hundred for this investment. Use your contingency fund to reimburse yourself if you want.

B. What should I have in addition to my digital camera?
• at least 2 batteries
• battery charger
• battery converter (if you need it)
• cord to transfer data from camera to computer
• memory sticks (I had 2 – 256 MB by now they have gigs!)
• carrying case

Cell/Mobile Phone
I don’t know if this is everywhere yet, but a mobile phone was essential to my social and Rotary livelihood.
The mobile phone network system probably works differently in each country but is mostly uniform in Europe. In Spain, I had the option of pay as you go/pre-paid phone or a contract (usually a minimum of a year). I couldn’t get the contract until I had a national identification number, so I opted for the pre-paid phone. At most internet cafes, groceries stores, and even at my bank’s ATM, I could charge my phone within a minute. They took out a lot of money for taxes though. I hear they do that even if you get a contract.
- Using your cell phone from home – it probably won’t work but double check
- Having to buy a phone – try to arrange to buy one from a scholar leaving the country (they won’t need it when they leave and will be happy to sell it.)
My story:
In Spain, no one wants to be pinned down to a meeting time in social circles. I would set a general day and time to meet and a text message or a call the day of would clarify the details. I soon learned about what was called, a “toque,” in which a person would just have an arrangement with you beforehand and would give you one missed call as a sign for ‘yes.’ You weren’t charged for missed calls so it was an easy way to communicate a simple message for free.

If you already have a decent laptop, take it. If you don’t try to find an inexpensive one before you go or a hand me down.
Reasons to have one:
- Doing school work from home
- Taking advantage of wireless internet (need wireless card) at cafes, school, and even at your place.
- Allows you to save money by avoiding cyber café charges.
- Writing Rotary reports whenever, wherever
- Downloading your digital camera pictures after a trip
- Using it for PowerPoint presentations to Rotary clubs
- Using it for diversion (play Solitaire, watching DVDs, etc.)
- Remember to look into proper converter/AC adapters, or buy one when you arrive

These days anyone can have a website. You can get them for free on yahoo or geocities. You can pay a minimal fee for you own domain name on, etc.
Reasons to have one:
- post stories, report, and pictures
- keep friends and family up to date on your life ( what you are learning, etc.)

Blogs are easier to have than websites. You can update them any time and anywhere that you have a computer and internet. This would be ideal for those not technologically gifted, and/or for people who don’t take a laptop.
You can get a blog for free at:
Reasons to have one:
Same as website and you can use your regular updates as a resource for writing your scholarship reports.

USB/Flash Disk/Memory Stick
This small little item was one of the most useful ones during my year. Whenever I needed to transport info from my laptop to a Internet café computer or my school computers, I could easily do it with my flash disk. Because I didn’t always have internet at home and I didn’t have a printer, this gadget came in very handy. It can also help you upload your website from an internet cafe if you don’t have an internet connection at home but have a laptop.
When I was abroad, I used one with 512 MB but I know they come larger and cheaper. I suggest checking them out at Costco or shop around online for good prices.

Listserv of friends, family, and Rotarians
Another way to make your life easier. If you want to send regular updates to friends, family and Rotarians, make a listserv of the usual suspects so each time you send an update, it will be so much easier.
Plus this is ideal when you are on the go and might not have your laptop or just want to share something without having to search through your address book.
My story:
I made a list serv of all the scholars in Spain. It helped in keeping in touch with the group and seeing who was where.
Do all the technological background work (website, blog, listserv) before you leave. You might not have access to internet as often once you are abroad.

Permanent nametag
What: A nametag with your name, title, host and sponsor district/club names.
- Making presentations and going to Rotary meetings will become a habit. Having a pre-made nametag helps your audience remember you.
- Makes you look professional
- Helps for when your name might be hard to pronounce in your host country – they at least have a cheat sheet!
Where to get one: Ask around your sponsor Rotary club or get one made for yourself (just like the business cards)

Contact information for Rotarians in Sponsor Country
Get this information before you leave, plus know who will be in office while you are abroad. Keep in mind that the Rotary year runs from July to June. You can get a lot of this information at under club locator.

Contact information for Rotarians in Host Country
Know how to get this information before you leave or at least once you get to your host country. You can get a lot of this information at under club locator. Many countries might not have all their information online and keep the current information in printed district-wide books. Make sure you ask around (start with your host counselor) and can find this essential information of clubs, presidents, and meetings times and locations.

My story:
Spain did not have a lot of updated information online. When I received the district book of clubs, meeting times, names, titles, numbers, and emails, I started contacted clubs to do speeches/arrange presentations.

5. Before you leave
- Do your research (you can get this easily by reading The World Factbook found at and also in the guide book, you need to buy, for your host country)
• Home Country
a) history
b) culture
c) politics
d) Headline Topics
e) Typical Questions to be prepared for
• Host Country
f) history
g) culture
h) politics
i) Headline Topics

- Contact alumni for first-hand, up-to-date, practical information. There will be a list in your Acceptance Packet. This is one of the best places to search for practical information that Rotarians and Rotary Scholarship Coordinators might not even know.

- Applying to study institutions can be tricky. If Rotary has sent former scholars to the same institution, get their advice, if the application process is not very clear from the school’s website. If no one has gone to the same school, get advice from other scholars who have lived in the same city because the application process might be similar. If you don’t get very far with that advice, I suggest two things: be super persistent with the study institution and find someone in the administration at the school to take you under their wing and guide you through it all. If at least one person knows about your unique (not an exchange student, not a native student, but a foreign student in the native classes situation), then beg their mercy on getting you through the process (applying, being accepted, getting the acceptance letter, paying for school, registering for classes, etc.)

- Have a list of important numbers, emails, doctors, credit cards, school loans, etc.

- Have the key information for deferring your school loans while you are abroad. Most lenders have forms online you must fill out and have signed by your study institution before you can begin deferring payment.

- Have your medicine prescriptions on you (contacts, etc.) Not only have your prescriptions, but have as much of them filled as you can afford to buy in advance, so you won’t have to worry about getting them filled abroad.

- Make a list of all your credit cards with phone numbers in case you lose them or they are stolen. You might want to leave a copy of this list in a safe place in caring hands back at home in case you need to call home for the number to cancel a credit card.

- Have a presentation prepared about your life before you arrive in your host country (translate it if you are going to a country of another language).

- Go to a Pre-departure orientation about Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

- Network with the outgoing scholars you meet before you leave your sponsor country. You never know if you’ll be able to stay with them in their country while you are traveling through. Plus, they are great people and can be lifelong friends.

- Go to a few of your sponsor Rotary club meetings, so you know who you are representing, who to talk to for a matching grant, and who to send your updates to for the club newsletter/announcements.

- Attend your sponsor Rotary district conference, if possible.

- Make contact with your host counselor before you leave (if you have one before you leave).

- Be available for the media and write articles to your local papers advertising the scholarship with instructions and deadlines for applying for potential candidates.

- Take advantage of frequent flier miles for your trip. It will come in handy later down the road.

6. Packing

- Suggestions on Packing
• Check your airline’s luggage limitations in advance
• Put a lot in your carry on – huge backpack and small suitcase (they usually don’t weigh carry ons but you will need to be able to handle the weight)
• Get a list of packing suggestions from your college’s study abroad office
• Take as many suitcases as you can so you can bring them back full
• If you have someone from home planning to visit while you are abroad, tell them to come with empty suitcases so you can send stuff back!
• Don’t fill them – pack them, then take out half, then repack and try to take out more
• Keep in mind you will want to buy clothes of your new culture in your host country
• Keep in mind the climate and weather of your new destination

- What to Pack
• Business cards and holder
• Rotary Club Banners
• Picture book of your home city/state-these are great conversational pieces and a great aid to presentations. Rotarians love to see pictures!
• Gifts from Home (ideas: postcards, key chains, magnets, maps, etc.)
• Travel Guide Book
• Digital Camera (memory cards and batteries, battery charger, and cord to transfer files)
• Video Camera (a couple of blank tapes)
• Laptop (power cords, extra battery, adapter)
• USB/Flash Disk/Memory Stick
• Nametag
• At least one set of formal dress clothes (suit, skirt, slacks, shoes, etc.) for speeches
• Regular clothes for the weather and climate for the time you will be there
• Small pack of basic medicines (aspirin, cold medicine, Neosporin, band aids)
• Toiletries (Double check with the scholars currently in your host country, but in all the countries I have lived in, person hygiene products are a lot more expensive than in the US. I always stock up on makeup, shampoo, deodorant, etc.)
• A print out of your essential contact information/Address book/PDA
• Copies of your passport, visa, ID, school acceptance letter, etc.
• A small photo album of family and friends
• Journal/diary – or you could use blog or laptop for this
• Blow dryer that can convert – or buy one in new country
• Chargers and converters for everything electronic

7. During your study period

- Make the required amount of presentations to Rotary and non-Rotary audiences
o Use the speech guidelines given in the handbook
o Tailor your speech to your audience
o Use humor and make it interesting (A fun but sometimes sensitive topic: cultural differences you see between host and sponsor countries. I suggest asking a native friend to test your speech out on first to make sure you aren’t going to offend your hosts.)
o Give a message/share a gift – What do you want them to leave the presentation knowing or remembering from your speech?
o If in doubt, speak less and open more time to Q & A
o Be prepared for not using technology for your speeches because you never know where, when, and what the status of the meeting room will be.
o One great presentation prop: Have just one sheet of paper with a picture of your state, state flag, bird, flower, and a little history to share that you can pass around during your speech.

- Go to a Rotary or Rotaract club’s meetings regularly

- Get active with a Rotary or Rotaract club’s activities

- Create/take on a project for your scholarship period (remember about matching grants)

- Attend the host Rotary district conference, if possible.

- Stay knowledgeable about your sponsor and host countries (i.e. read the news)

- Keep your sponsor club/district contacts up to date on your activities and progress.

- Promote a positive image of your country and be diplomatic (you might be the only person from the US)

- Don’t leave your host country knowing your school library inside and out.

- Just say ‘YES!’ This is a good way to experience new things and meet new people. You won’t be invited again if you said ‘no’ the first time. Of course, keep it in the context of the mission of the scholarship.

- Don’t hang out with people from your country all the time and make sure you aren’t just hanging out with all exchange students. Make sure to meet the locals and have at least one friend in your host country you could go back and visit over the years.

- Explore your surroundings (i.e. travel around your city, outside your city, all over your host country, and to the nearby countries!)

- A really great way to have instant friends and tour guides, give more Rotary speeches, and learn about other countries is by contacting the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars in the region you are traveling to a couple of weeks in advance. I would ask my Scholarship Coordinator for the email addresses of the scholars in the country I was planning to visit. I had a great time meeting them and hearing about their experiences. If there was time, I would even speak to their Rotary club in their host country.

8. Things to Consider

- Rotary is different all over the world – the country’s culture impacts the culture of Rotary in that country. (For example just with food, for lunch at a Rotary club meeting, I was served milk in Holland and wine in Spain.)

- Host an American Thanksgiving, 4th of July party, etc.

- Don’t spend your holidays/vacation time back home, travel!

- Go to the festivals, weddings, funerals, cultural stuff

- Be thankful, show your thankfulness, and say thank you a lot to Rotarians.

9. After your scholarship period
- Speak: Do your required number (or more) of speeches once you have returned.

- Give back to the Rotary Foundation and Rotary through projects, speeches, article, and/or donations.

- Assist with orientations for outgoing or incoming Rotary scholars (it is a lot of fun!)

- Know it will take time to re-adjust to your life in your sponsor country. Remember what they told you about Reverse Culture Shock or look it up online.

- Become a Rotarian (Pay Rotary the ultimate compliment by becoming a Rotarian and continuing their mission.)

10. Final Thoughts

If you are reading this, you are one of 1,000 students serving abroad this year. You received a scholarship from the world’s largest private sponsor of university-level, international scholarships, the Rotary Foundation. If you choose to take this scholarship, you have a duty to Rotary and the Rotary Foundation to give to society what they are asking of you. You have a duty to past, current, and future Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars to speak, act, and give back. You can do all of that through philanthropic projects and publicity to help increase funding, to increase the number of scholarships given, to raise the number of scholars sent, to promote goodwill and understanding and to ultimately lead to greater world peace, the overall mission of this scholarship.
You have a big job ahead. It is a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun. It is definitely worth all your effort.

The Scholar’s Guide to being a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar: How to make the most out of your scholarship experience was written by Ruby Lichte Powers, who received a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, for a year of postgraduate studies in European and Middle Eastern studies, 2004-2005.

Copyright© 2006, Ruby Lichte Powers, 300 Alexan Drive #105, Durham, NC 27707, USA

All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced and distributed for training and orientation purposes only by Rotary International, Inc. and its affiliated organizations without additional publication permission. It may not be reproduced by other groups, organizations, or individuals, or for any resale or retail purposes, without written permission from the author.

January 24, 2006

U.S. Senate Resolution Designates 2006 as Year of Study Abroad

On November 10, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating 2006 as the “Year of Study Abroad.” The resolution, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), encourages initiatives to promote and expand study abroad opportunities. The resolution was also co-sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

The resolution:
1) Designates 2006 as the “Year of Study Abroad”;
2) Encourages secondary schools, higher education institutions, businesses, and government programs
to promote and expand study abroad opportunities; and
3) Encourages Americans to:
- support initiatives to promote and expand study abroad opportunities
- observe the “Year of Study Abroad with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and other activities.

The full text of the resolution (S.Res.308) is available through The Library of Congress website using the keyword search “Year of Study Abroad” or Bill Number S.R. 308.

January 14, 2006

Wal-Mart takes over the world

Giant changing the face of retailing, one country at a time

I find WalMart fascinating. After living in Europe, I know WalMart, if allowed, could drastically change their economy taking out all those mom and pop stores. I couldn't believe it when I saw WalMart in Mexico in 2002 and in Germany in 2004. This is a company to keep an eye on.

Survived exams, 3 weeks on the road, and now school again

I need to finish my Winter Pro Bono project, finish the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar handbook, and do school work in the next 3 days! Ah!