Social Night and Homage to Seamus

Thu 18th July 2019 at 7.00 pm - 9.00 pm

Unfortunately Seamus needs to go back to the USA for personal reasons but he has written his experience in Durham for us in his reflections below.

Reflections of our scholar Seamus


This past year I have been a Rotary Global Grant scholar studying at Durham University for a MSc in Defense, Development, and Diplomacy. In the spring of 2018, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the scholarship by the Massachusetts district in the United States for the scholarship under the Rotary goal of peace conflict resolution. Coming into the UK, I had very few expectations. I did not know anyone at the university and very little about university itself. My uncertainty was immediately diminished by my warm welcome by the Rotary Club of Durham Elvet. At the airport upon my arrival I was picked up by their president, Tom Sharples, and was hosted in his house that night by him and his wife. The next day they dropped off me at the university as my experience at Durham began.

As my degree at Durham progressed, I was continuously supported by my local Rotary club of Durham Elvet. Rotarian Ann Southren immediately offered her home whenever I needed support, guidance, or a delicious meal. Additionally, the club members were always kind and curious about my background and studies whenever I came to the club meetings. At the beginning of the year I was able to attend the district meeting and saw robustness of the Northeast rotary community. Later in the academic year, I started giving presentations across the Northeast district with a fellow Global Grant scholar at Durham University, Freddie Campbell. Through these experiences I was able to witness the dedication of the Rotarians to serve across a variety of members and atmospheres.

Throughout the year, I have felt incredibly grateful to have been able to be given this experience through Rotary. My academics experience has been enlightening; my course works dives into the complexities of conflicts and the decision-making processes surrounding them in a manner I had not previous encountered. I feel I now have a much better appreciation of how conflicts are created and the process needed to successfully build peace after them. I also feel like my experience living abroad for a year has been truly life-changing. I have grown tremendously both emotionally and socially through learning how to live by myself for the first time, learning how to adapt to British culture, and learning how to make friends in a foreign environment. I believe all of these skills will be invaluable to me once in my future as I try to serve in my own capacity.

Next year, I will return to the US Army and serve as an infantry officer. I hope that my academic, cultural, and emotional growth this past year will better equip me for my profession. I will send approximately one year in infantry officer training in Fort Benning, Georgia and then will be stationed at the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I believe I will be able to serve more deeply in my role in the Army with the tools Rotary has given me as I try to put service before myself.

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