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 www.rotary.org. 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 yourdaddy.com, 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 www.rotary.org 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 www.rotary.org 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 www.cia.gov 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!