Travel scholarships available for students to go abroad

BY JOSEPH HERNANDEZ
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Heads up, intrepid world travelers: Hostelling International USA is offering scholarships to help young nomads hit the road.

Blair Brettschneider of Chicago received a travel scholarship last year and used it to travel to Rwanda.(HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL USA)
Blair Brettschneider of Chicago received a travel scholarship last year and used it to travel to Rwanda.
(HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL USA)

Applications are being accepted for HI USA’s Explore the World Travel Scholarship, which awards dozens of recipients $2,000 each to help pay for international trips with an educational or service component.

One of last year’s recipients, Chicago-based Blair Brettschneider, used the scholarship to travel to Rwanda — her first solo journey abroad.

She saw the trip as an opportunity to strengthen her work at GirlForward, the nonprofit she founded that works with resettled refugees in Chicago and Austin, Texas.

“I work with adolescent girls and help connect them with community support, education programs and mentorship,” said Brettschneider. “This (trip) was a chance to learn more about where some of them come from.”

Mission in Africa
For three weeks, she explored the African nation’s history and culture. She also connected with Girl Effect Rwanda, another nonprofit with a mission similar to hers.

“I started GirlForward five years ago, but my time with Girl Effect reinvigorated my sense of excitement and purpose for working,” she said.

The trip inspired Brettschneider to put into practice some of the lessons she learned about staffing a nonprofit and branding.

“I definitely benefited from the personal development,” she said.

Ultimately, this is why the scholarship was created: to expand the definition of responsible travel, offering recipients a chance to pay it forward.

For 18 and up
“The scholarship is great for anyone with a project in mind but no budget to travel,” Brettschneider said. “You get the chance to pursue your work.”

To apply, you must be 18 to 30 years old and a permanent, legal U.S. resident living or studying in one of HI USA’s 13 metropolitan areas.

Applications will be accepted through May 15, and finalists will be interviewed to determine this year’s 81 recipients.

Visit www.hiusa.org for more information.

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