At HI USA we think travel should be as much about making a difference in the world as it is about seeing it, so we’ve created Explore the World Travel Scholarships. Recipients of the scholarship receive $2,000 to help finance their international trip as long as they have an educational or service component to their itinerary. HI Richmond was able to award four scholarships this year - to Rachel A., Kevin G., Joshua G., and Brian S. The awardees will travel abroad, and incorporate service work in to their travels; upon return, they will discuss their experiences, and HI USA will be able to share photos of their experience!
This month, HI Richmond will highlight two of the Richmond CHF awardees: Rachel A. and Kevin G. We spoke via email to get to know them a little better!
What motivates you?
Rachel: Good food. Seriously though, I love experimenting with new recipes, foods, and ferments. I also really like to help people, so any time there is an overlap, I’m really excited.
Kevin: My motivation comes from an inherent desire to leave the world as a better place than it was while I lived, a hope to make a real difference in the world, for the better. I hope to achieve this through advocacy, compassion for people of all walks of life and spreading love and hope to those who may feel lost.
What’s an especially moving travel experience you’ve had?
Rachel: In high school, I was able to visit a slum in Thailand and give food to the families living there. Despite their lack of resources, these people were some of the most joyous and thankful people I’ve ever met. It was a great reminder to me that “stuff” can’t make us happy.
Kevin: I’ve had limited traveling experience, which is why HI USA’s scholarship is so amazing! It allows someone like me to find the opportunity to travel abroad and expand my horizons.
Where are you traveling with the CHF scholarship, and why?
Rachel: I am traveling to Italy with the scholarship. I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy for the food and history. I’m excited to work on an organic farm for a portion of my stay, where I will learn new things and help someone produce ethical food. The rest of the time, I plan on taking a cooking class or two, eating a lot, and visiting key historical sites.
Kevin: I hope to travel to Iran next summer with the scholarship funds. I am an Iranian American and I have been largely disconnected with my culture due to being born in the US and raised in a non-ethnically diverse area of Virginia. I’ve always yearned to reconnect with my culture as I have a great pride and sense of belonging within my Persian roots. I hope to improve my Farsi language skills, explore the social dynamics of Iran, and improve myself as a human being so that I can better give back to the amazing community I have adopted as my new home, Richmond VA, through my non-profit organization, I RISE (www.iriseorganization.com).
What advice would you offer for travelers?
Rachel: Be flexible. I’m mostly saying that to remind myself to be flexible. I tend to plan things out in fine detail, so when my plan is interrupted, I can let it ruin my trip. But the point of traveling is to experience the culture, and I’m able to do that better when I leave space in plans and allow myself opportunity to be flexible.
Kevin: I’m afraid I don’t have too much advice as of now! But hopefully I will have plenty after my travels next summer.
Stay tuned for next month, where we highlight the other two awardees, Joshua G., and Brian S!