GRSP Update
Include GRSP Students in Your Holiday Plans ... and Consider 2018 Opportunities


By the time you receive this newsletter, many students will already be out for the Christmas holidays. For those of you who hosted students during the Thanksgiving holidays, you will remember it always, as many students cooked dishes from their countries to share with your families. My extended family has been the beneficiary of dishes from all over the world – from fabulous homemade chocolates and Danish to tabbouleh and Turkish coffee. Every student that comes through the program talks about how wonderful our Thanksgiving holiday is.

With Christmas on the horizon, we are madly planning our Rotary Christmas parties, so be sure to include your student. If there are other GRSPs on campus, it is always fun to invite them as well. Just be sure it doesn’t conflict with their hosting club’s Christmas plans. As usual, the students are planning trips to New York, Chicago and Florida and other locales, so be sure that your student understands that they can’t make a car trip to California in one day. Many students come from countries they can cross in a matter of hours, so they don’t think twice about a trip to the west coast here. Also be sure that your student is not alone in the dorm on campus. If they are rooming with another international student, it might also be fun to include that non-GRSP international student in your plans. Just tell your student that you are open to that idea and let them extend your invitation.


For those of you who have looked at the selection book, you will note that the Endowment will be subsidizing the tuition, room and board with $5,500 per student. Also, calculations are being doubled-checked to be sure that those clubs that donated $50 or more per capita to the Endowment last year will also be receiving an incentive/rebate check soon. Please remind your treasurers to send in your GRSP Endowment contributions before the end of the year, so that there will never be an issue with the Internal Revenue Service about which year you made your donation.


Because of the high cost of tuition, many clubs are partnering to host a student. This is a great method to reduce the burden of costs, but can be tricky when selecting a student. There are many ways to partner – some clubs have equal partnerships and others have partnerships based on the number of Rotarians in each club, sharing the cost by percentage. There are as many ways of selecting a student as there are partnerships in the district, but your trustee can be of tremendous help. We do have some partnership opportunities in our district for next year, so if your club is interested in participating in the program, please get in touch with your trustee.


The Barbara M. And Donald L. Thomas Peace Award of $1,500 is given by the Roswell Rotary Club to a deserving member of the current year’s GRSP class who exhibits the spirit of the GRSP program and who is in need of additional financial assistance. An application must be submitted by the sponsoring club, along with a letter from the president of your club or host family and a letter from the student explaining how he or she intends on using the award and how it might impact their life. The deadline for receiving the application is January 15, 2018. Please contact Jacque Digieso at (770) 851-3435 or at her email address of digieso@bellsouth.net for an application.


This scholarship is still a major award to a US student - an all-expense paid trip to Oslo, Norway next summer. Rotarian families are indeed eligible. The scholarship is open to students between the ages of 20-24 who are single and have completed their college sophomore year. The student will travel to Oslo, Norway for classes beginning on June 23 and ending on August 3, 2018. The application must be turned in to the GRSP office no later than December 31, 2016. Ask your trustee for details or check out our website at www.grsp.org . We were fortunate last year to have two students from District 6900 at the Oslo International Summer School. You heard from Emily Marosek last month, but Emily Cantrell, sponsored by the Rotary Club of North Columbus, also won a scholarship opportunity. Here is what Emily had to say about the experience ...

"On February 16, 2017 I received a call that would change my life forever. When I answered the phone, I was told that I was one of three students who had received the Georgia Rotary Student scholarship to study abroad in Norway. To say I was thrilled was an understatement. The opportunity to travel abroad in Norway was a once in a lifetime experience that has changed the way I look at not only other cultures in general, but the people from those cultures.

While in Oslo, Norway, I made some of my closest friends who come from all around the world. At the University of Oslo, I took the Norwegian Architecture and Design course, which I found to be extremely interesting and beneficial. During our classes, we got to spend time wandering around the city and learning about the history that made Norway the way it is today. While everyone always tells you about how Norway is the happiest country in the world, no one takes the time to learn about how they became the way that they are. Learning about everything that Norway has gone through to become the independent, joyful, and peaceful country they are today really helped me appreciate the culture more.

While there, I had the opportunity to travel. I started my journey to Norway three weeks prior to school starting, and spent time exploring France and Denmark. While I was completely blown away by all of the sight-seeing and opportunities I was given there, it quickly hit me that this was just the beginning of my travels. Once school began, I was quickly on my way to my next adventure on the very first weekend. Between the program at the University and the Georgia Rotary Program, we were to choose one excursion of our choice to go on along with another trip we would take to Bergen, northern Norway. The excursion I chose was a weekend trip to Sweden. This trip was full of beautiful sights and opportunities to meet people who I was traveling with, who came from all over the world. While gone, I also got the opportunity to travel to Denmark, Holland, and back to Sweden again. These trips, while short, were spent with friends who I had never met until Norway brought us together and created memories I will forever cherish.

My biggest eye opener during this trip was one night during dinner in the Blindern dining hall. While we were sitting there, in a country that was completely foreign to all of us, there were conversations going on all around me in more languages than I could even imagine. This was a complete culture shock to me and really made me stop to think about what was going on around me. While there are so many conflicts between countries currently going on, this group of students can still come together at the University of Oslo and work together as a whole. In the comfort of the University of Oslo, there were no more disagreements and no problems between people of different cultures. We were just a group of young adults appreciating everyone’s different values, meeting people who would forever change our lives, and working on creating a happier world to live in without conflict.

I will never be able to thank Rotary enough for giving me this amazing experience. Norway will forever have an impact on my life that I could never fully explain and that is all due to the Georgia Rotary Program for granting me this scholarship."

Posted by Lynn Clarke
December 5, 2017


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