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World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
September 29, 2011

I am a senior in high school, who, up until recently, has experienced other cultures and participated in world events only through community service projects and fundraisers (such as raising money for Haiti survivors, etc) in my school. Never had I imaged the opportunities awaiting me through the Pittsburgh World Affairs Council.

I first heard about the Council at the end of my junior year, after being nominated by a teacher for the Council's Travel Abroad Scholarship. I researched the Council and scholarship, and thought, 'Why not give it a shot!' Looking back now, that was a life-changing decision. From the first introductory seminar I attended about the Travel Abroad Scholarship, the Council has opened, and continues to open, countless doors for me. Since then, I have traveled to China as an Experimenter in International Living, experiencing the culture of this foreign country for a month. I've come back a more broad-minded, worldly person. This remarkable experience has, sincerely, shaped the way I intend to live the rest of my life. I owe it to the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

In addition to the amazing feet of sending me to China on full scholarship, they were there every step of the way to ensure that my experience was a rewarding as it could be. It was. Through pre-departure and welcome home seminars they sent me off and brought me home safely. Now that I've returned, I take pride in being a part of the World Affairs Council family. And it does truly feel like a family. I met and formed a tight-knit group with the 17th other recipients of the scholarship. We still stay in touch and share memories of our trips. Beginning college applications and the scary transition into the "real world" the Council administration has helped me with advice in career paths, letters of recommendations, and stand as examples of people in fields that I would like to one day pursue.

Back from China, I am now participating in the World Affairs Council's Apprenticeship in International Affairs. I look forward hearing from professionals in international relations fields at each seminar and know that they will continue to shape my career path.

The Council has brought me to the point I am now. It has shaped how I view my future. They have taken my view of my life and future in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and widened it to encompass the entire world. It goes without saying the number of opportunities and experiences they've opened my eyes to world-wide, and I am more excited than ever for my future.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer