OK, I’m new at this. Despite being a graduating senior looking towards grad school next year, I’ve never applied for a scholarship with a writing component. I want to make sure I’m striking the right tone here, and am genuinely clueless on whether or not I’m doing this right. Would someone have the heart to give it a quick once-over and give me notes?
I’ve got a second one, but I think it’s a bit much to ask you folks to read all of that. So here’s just the more important one, the statement of intent.
Here are the guidelines, but it’s a bit long. I’ve posted what I think are the most relevant requirements:
There’s also a strong emphasis on public speaking, as the winner has to do a bunch of public speaking events talking about the experience.
Now, my essay:
I firmly believe that I should be placed into consideration for the Academic Year Ambassadorial Scholarship because the goals of Rotary International intersect so perfectly with my values and future plans.
The information for this scholarship couldn’t have come at a better time. Although I have been fortunate enough to have the support of my mother and grandmother for my entire life, times are getting lean with the credit crisis. Combined, they have been in the real estate business for over seventy years and both agree that this is the worst year either of them has ever seen. Our savings have dried up with my mother racking up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills from some undiagnosable illness.
If granted this scholarship, my field of study will be Communications. My principle interest is in changing societal attitudes towards environmental protection. Here in Alabama attitudes are strongly conservative, and the voters give coal mines and power carte blanche to pollute our streams and waterways. Alabama has the greatest amount of biodiversity in the entire country, yet consistently ranks among the worst in the nation for environmental protection.
It’s not just the state of Alabama that needs an attitude adjustment, either.
Environmental awareness is arguably the most international concern. With developing countries quickly progressing to become the worlds’ largest polluters, there is a mounting international pressure to create a sustainable future, and this cannot be done if the message is not communicated effectively. The single greatest failure of communication from the environmental community is the breakdown in the linking of environment and health: according to a 2007 World Health Organization study, 40% of deaths worldwide are caused by pollution, yet most people associate environmental protection with endangered snow owls and cave shrimp.
This is why I want to go to school. This is what I want to change. This is my role in the world.
In my application, I have expressed interest in the Universität Erfurt, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Universität Salzburg, and Universität Wien. Each has been selected because it will not only provide me a top-notch education in the field of Communications, but because each culture has something new and unknown to offer. Austria, Germany, and the Philippines are all renowned for their wonderfully pleasant people.
The University of the Philippines Los Baños offers the world’s premier Developmental Communications program. Developmental Communications is the practice of applying the strategies and principles of Communications to bring about positive social change. I have two reasons for wanting to study in the Philippines. As I said, they have an outstanding Communications program. Also, because the majority of Philippinos speak English, I would be able to strike up friendship with residents of Los Baños. One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, the Philippines is an excellent location to continue my studies.
Two German institutions located in Erfurt and Münster are listed as well. I hope to study in Germany not only because I plan to improve my German speaking skills, but also because of its international excellence in environmental protection. I will bring back to America the communication strategies used in Germany to more effectively promote pro-environmental policies.
According to the CHE University ranking found on the DAAD website, Universität Erfurt is one of the top rated universities in the country with an internationally renowned Comunications department. Its strong emphasis in intercultural and political communications is essential to enact real social change and promote Rotary International’s goal of addressing the huanitarian needs of the world. One of the smaller towns in Germany, Erfurt is tourist hot spot, and most of its tourists come from other areas of Europe.
The Westfälische Wilhelms-Univerität Münster has a strong emphasis on technology and political communication. Again, one cannot separate politics from environmental policy, and my work history in IT will mean that I have necessary experience to successfully implent new technologies in spreading the message of international environmental cooperation.
In Austria, the two institutions I would like to study at are the Univerität Wien in Vienna and the Univerität Salzburg in Salzburg.
Vienna is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the entire world, and in this city specifically I would like to target my volunteer efforts at coordinating with the city government’s „Vienna, Naturally“ environmental awareness program. The Univerität Wien specializes in intercultural communications and boasts an enormous student body, where I would interact with students all over the world.
By European standards, the city of Salzburg is small. Only the fourth-largest city in the country of Austria, Salzburg is primarily known as the birthplace of Mozart. Salzburg certainly gets ist share of American tourists, but I would hate for the city’s impression of Americans to be only from our tourists. With a small student body of only 11,000, there aren’t many Americans residing in Salzburg. Were I to study at the University of Salzburg, I could use the University’s Center for Advanced Studies and Research in Information and Communication Technologies & Society, a research center dedicated to enacing positive social change, to further my goal of understanding the communication techniques needed to communicate across across cultures the link between environmental degradation and health risks.
One way I plan to bring American culture abroad is through my cooking. Having worked in restaurants most of my adult life, I’ve developed a passion for cooking, and hope to bring real Southern food wherever I go. I already hold regular dinner parties in my apartment now, and will continue to do so wherever I go.
Another way I will make sure my friendships endure with the people I meet abroad is to encourage them to come back to America and stay with me, and keep them connected with friends of mine scattered across. As a native English speaker, I will be happy to help my fellow students with their English language studies and hope for them to do the same for me.
After graduation, I will start my search for graduate schools, where I can continue my studies in International, Intercultural, and Environmental Communication. The short list for where I hope to be accepted right now are the University of Denver, Cornell, George Washington University, and Oregon University.
Ultimately, I hope for my career to bring me to a job as Director of Communications for an international environmental advocacy group such as the World Wildlife Fund or even to serve as a campaign lobbyist for groups like the Center for Climate Strategies, which is focused on helping the United States, Canada, and Mexico confront problems such as global warming and the need for clean energy and a safe environment.
Too many people around the world are dying from our increasingly polluted environment, and part of the problem is an unfocused communications strategy by movement that has been poisoned by a negative public image.
If you see fit to grant me this scholarship, I offer my promise to do everything in my power to promote Rotary International’s goal of bringing about positive change for everyone on this planet. I will not only to reach out to the culture of the city I am placed, but to bring some of it with to me, and use my education to put myself in a position where I can bring about positive social change, and encourage responsible use of the environment not just in Alabama but everywhere I go.
Well, whattya think?