Thanks to HI USA’s hostel guests and generous donors, 81 young men and women from across the United States will be able to go on life-changing journeys abroad as recipients of the Explore the World travel scholarship. Launched as a nationwide project in 2016, the fund awards young adults aged between 18 and 30 years old with $2,000 that goes towards an overseas trip with a service learning, volunteering or educational component. Over 1,100 future travelers from across the country sent in applications, each highlighting a commitment to intercultural understanding through travel. Ultimately, it was up to teams of local volunteers led by a HI USA staff member to narrow it down to the lucky 81 winners, who will get the opportunity to experience other cultures while creating an impact in those communities.
Who are the Recipients?
The range of applications and recipients showcases the diversity of life experiences in the United States, and the endless opportunities there are for meaningful travel around the world. Some applied because they are first generation children of immigrants looking to connect with their roots, or they grew up in adverse conditions and hope to gain perspective by helping others in similar situations on opposite ends of the Earth. Others applied because their future careers would be benefited by experiencing life in another corner of the world, or they were looking to return to communities they once visited to lend a hand.
For a lot of participants, this will be their first time overseas and many would not have been able to go on their trips without the Explore the World travel scholarship. Winners will be traveling to provide medical education and support in South Africa, Kenya and Honduras; to immerse themselves in the languages and cultures of Japan and Spain; to tackle issues around race and gender in France and England. They’ll be learning about conflicts in the Middle East and researching firsthand the effects of global warming in Brazil. And most of all, they’ll be challenging themselves by being in environments unlike any they are familiar with and opening their minds to the different ways to live in the world.
Whatever the journey, HI USA is proud to be able to support the next generation of travelers who are showing what it means to be a true global citizen.
What is the Explore the World Travel Scholarship?
HI USA believes that travel is crucial for breaking barriers and building a more tolerant world as people recognize that the things we have in common are far more important than superficial differences. We also believe travel should be as much about making a difference in the world as it is about seeing it. With these ideals in mind, and with the knowledge that the opportunity to visit another country is a luxury that isn’t affordable or accessible to everyone, we created the Explore the World travel scholarship. Individuals who had already planned to go on a trip that incorporated HI USA’s ideals of purpose travel were able to apply for financial support through the fund, and recipients were chosen based on their ability to show how the experience would benefit themselves and others.
The process began with eager hopefuls filling out the detailed application form, outlining their travel plans and emphasizing why this was important not only for themselves but for the greater good. Then, 113 volunteers around the country pored through the applications before selecting finalists to participate in the interview stage. The volunteers also committed hours to spreading the word about the scholarship, reaching out to colleges and universities, study abroad programs, and other youth groups in their regions in order to make all possible eligible travelers aware of the opportunity. Altogether, volunteers spent a whopping 837 hours from start to finish. Over the next few months, HI USA will host awards ceremonies across the country to honor this year’s 81 winners.
In the upcoming months, we will be highlighting some of the Explore the World travel scholarship winners and their travels, so subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out! If you’re interested in this and other HI USA programs, be sure to subscribe to the travel scholarship mailing list.
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