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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

TravelAid - Day 5 - Dollars for Scholars

JWOC runs a sponsorship programe which gives out scholarships to promising and talented university students by paying their university fees of 360 USD per year. About 50 students had applied and it is our task now to figure out who the are the 6 most deserving of them. It's a scary task with lots of responsibility if one considers how many doors are opened by a degree.

For their application the students were asked to write an essay in which they explain why they should be given the scholarship. The short answer is: because they are poor, very poor. The long answers did not often say more than that, but when they did the stories were touching, sad, clever and creative. The most outstanding application was a narrative including dialogues about divorce, palmtrees, future dreams and growing up in rural Cambodia - it made us all appreciate how lucky we are to be born in rich countries.

A few things were intersting to us: hardly any girls applied. Then, some students either used the same book or copied from each other: their essays were identical to the dot on the i. Apparently though, copying from others is not seen as a bad thing. Obviously, anyone who showed evidence of original thought was much more likely to get an interview. ALso, a huge part of the application / CV was dedicated to the family. The students volunteered information on their parents', siblings' and grandparents' age, heigth and weight, occupation etc.

We have now chosen 15 studnets to be invited for interview...the interviews will be a story for another day...

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