After a competitive application process, 6 Los Angeles-Area residents each earned a $2,000 Explore the World scholarship on behalf of Hostelling International USA (HI USA) to help finance an educational or service learning trip overseas.
HI USA is committed to creating a more tolerant world, and these scholarships are building a new breed of young travelers inspired to make the world a better place by providing the financial means to go abroad.
This scholarship was open to residents of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Bernardino Counties, ages 18-30, and winners displayed a strong desire to deepen their understanding of other peoples, places, and cultures. Awardees include:
Angela Vo, 19, Santa Monica College
After losing both of her parents at a young age, Angela credits her teachers and two older brothers for getting her through a difficult early life. She’ll be traveling to Vietnam to work in small villages with the elderly as well as in orphanages so that she can now help care for those in need.
Ruqayya Ahmad, 21, UC Irvine
A first-generation American and the second person in his family to attend college, Ruqayya’s trip is inspired by not only his passion for travel but his desire to make the world a more peaceful place. An international studies major, Ruqayya will be traveling to Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia with an organization studying conflict analysis and resolution.
Ruby Ortega, 22, California State University of Channel Islands
Ruby’s first trip overseas will take her to Germany for a Euro-Economics class at DHBW University in Karlsruhe. Ruby hopes this trip will help her to “truly develop a worldly outlook on a global scale.”
Amy Fan, 22, UC Irvine
Amy fell in love with French language and culture in high school, but growing up, her family never had the financial resources to travel abroad. Now in college, she’s been accepted to a study abroad program in Lyon, France, where she’ll study French literature and conduct a video project interviewing French LGBT students.
Emmeline Kim, 22, University of Southern California
Emmeline will travel to Spain for USC’s study abroad program in Madrid. An aspiring doctor, Emmeline became fascinated during a medical service trip to Mexico with how her bilingualism in Spanish and English helped to bridge the communication gap between patients and visiting doctors. Studying in Madrid, she hopes to strengthen her Spanish skills, and will be shadowing doctors in a local hospital to learn medical terminology in Spanish and observe doctor-patient relationships.
Ismael Canizalez, 25, UC Irvine
Ismael has never flow in a plane before, but this summer he’ll be taking off for Washington, DC; New York City; Jordan; Israel; and the West Bank. Ismael will be traveling with an organization that studies conflict resolution. He hopes to take what he learns home to Oxnard, CA, where he is involved with an organization that offers peace-based after-school programs for children and parents in gang-affected communities.
These scholarships were administered by HI USA’s Southwest Region through a volunteer committee. With hostels throughout Southern California, including three in the Los Angeles area, HI USA strives to connect travelers and community members across the region.
“We’re excited for these 6 individuals to share a bit of Los Angeles with the world, and to experience firsthand the transformative power of travel,” says Sue Schaffner, Vice President, Southwest Region. “HI USA believes travel should be accessible to everyone, and this is just one way we are helping make that possible.”
This effort is part of HI USA’s nationwide Community Hostelling Fund initiative, which presented 81 $2,000 scholarships in 14 locations across the U.S. For more information, visit www.hiusa.org/travel-scholarships.