Our Sponsored Rotary Global Scholar
Zipporah Arthur is an honours graduate from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and with the help of a Rotary Global Scholarship is studying for a Masters degree in New York.
Zipporah’s Master’s degree in Public Administration is very much geared towards Peace and Conflict resolution and will equip her for her ambition to provide education for refugee children in a safe environment.
Here is Zipporah’s blog with more to follow as her academic commitments permit.
New Beginnings (September Edition)
I did not anticipate the cost of housing in New York City. Taylor Eskew, my Rotary host mum (she and I established this as her title), was a tremendous help in finding a reasonable place to stay. Taylor referred me to the accommodation I currently reside in, it’s a women’s only residence for people studying or working in NYC, therefore it’s heavily subsidised. There was a three-month waiting list, but I managed to worm my way to the priority list.
However, my room was only available from September 17th onwards. This meant I would have to stay in a hostel (Taylor recommended this place) for a few weeks while starting grad-school which class started on September 4th. Living out of a suitcase essentially for a month was very difficult, but I’m happy that I managed to keep up with my work and school life.
NYU Wagner had an abundance of activities for incoming students. The best activity was the boat cruise which went around the Statue of Liberty. It was a completely free event and an open bar, which was a lot of fun! It was super nice to see my peers in a relaxed environment and having fun.
A couple of days before the boat cruise, we had a one day 9am-6pm orientation. I found it extremely valuable. It made me realise a ton of things I did not know and wished to find out more on. For example, the job roles in different organisations potentially differ from each other, and just really homing in on the specifics of where I want my career to go towards. One of the most impactful tasks during the orientation was “writing a letter to our future selves”. The idea behind this was nearer to the end of the term, when we have many assignments and exams and are likely to feel overwhelmed, our letters will be mailed to us to remind us why we came to NYU Wagner and what we are seeking to do. Another notable activity was an ice-breaker that involved eight people going into one room. We were then asked a series of question such as “give an example of when your identity has been used against you or created a negative experience” “give an example of when your identity has been used to benefit you or created a positive experience”. I found it really interesting the emphasis on identity and perception.
NYU Wagner has a great number of student groups. I was particularly interested in the student group, International Public Service Association (IPSA). I was rather eager and emailed them in the summer asking for details, how they operate and opportunities to get involved. IPSA held a welcome event in the middle of September and said they have board position openings specifically for the role, First Year Representatives. I spoke with a lot of people at the event who said they were interested in the role. Knowing there were numerous people applying for the role, but knowing only a few will get picked did not deter me. I applied for the role as I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved. Fortunately, I received an email that I got the position! Being a First-Year Representative for IPSA was essentially a way to get a feel for all the specific board roles such as “events, communications, president” to name a few, and see where those selected can help. I also opted to help in IPSA’s annual summit. This year the summit is based on technology and service delivery. Right now, we are just looking for people who work in the industry to come and talk on a panel in the summit.
This term, they recommended taking core classes as most of the classes I am interested in has a prerequisite which happens to be at least one core class. My classes are, Microeconomics, Management and Leadership, Institutions Governance and International Development, and Public Policy (four classes in total). NYU Wagner from time to time enjoy giving long names for class titles, so I slightly abbreviated one or two classes’ names. I waived out of Statistics as I took a few classes at the University of Kent (Thank you UKC!) which included stats.
I also attended a Rotary event in Harlem. It was their annual BBQ in a nice park. I donated some school equipment at the event as I believe the cause was for school-children in NYC/Harlem. I met some other Rotary Global Grant scholars at the event, one of the scholars I met previously over coffee so it was nice to see her again. On my way to the event, I got really lost and succumbed to taking an Uber pool as clearly my navigating skills were beyond inadequate at the time. At the event, I became aware of “Rota-Act”, which I found really fascinating considering I had never heard of it before.
Speak to guys again soon!
Before August 20th
For the past year I have been super busy volunteering in London and Greece, therefore I always had multiple things on my mind constantly. I’ve come to realise that this was a blessing.
Finding funding to study at NYU Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service, had been extremely difficult, so being occupied relieved some stress that I was going through. I came back from Greece in June and I still wasn’t entirely sure where I would gain funding and if I would be in the position to attend NYU Wagner. However, the day after I returned from Greece in June I received a called from Chris Barnet. This is my eyes was a miracle because if I were in Greece, I most likely wouldn’t have seen the call nor been able to answer the call, but most importantly I would not have been able to meet Chris and Brenda that same week – which was imperative in moving things forward.
Chris made me immediately aware of the quick turnover of everything will have to be, from meeting him, assessing whether to support my application, drafting the application, amongst other things. Fortunately, minus a few hick-ups, we were able to submit my application and here I am in NYC studying at NYU Wagner!
I would like to backtrack and comment on what happened between being granted funding and coming to NYC.
I received the documents I needed from NYU Wagner to apply for my visa on 10/08/2018. I had my visa appointment 4 days later (14/08/2018) and received my visa two days later (16/08/2018). In between my visa appointment and receiving my visa, I booked my flights to fly to NYC on the 20/08/2018. Essentially, I booked my flight without having my passport and visa. I will never do this again, as the tension was too much. In addition to the stress of booking my flight without my passport and visa, there was a slight problem finally picking up my visa. The company who had my passport said they didn’t have it on their system, in other words, my passport was not ready to be picked up (this was 4 days until I was set to fly). Thankfully, it was an error on their behalf (which took me persistently calling and emailing them to figure out!) and I picked up my passport in time!
The Tension and Stress Was Not Over
I now had the task of essentially packing my life into suitcases and buying last minute necessities in a matter of 3 days. This was accomplished!
Now for the GoodbyesI was overwhelmed with emotions. Knowing that as of two months prior, I was not sure where I would be getting funding to now my dreams are going to be realised, was such a shock to process.
I didn’t expect to say goodbye would be so difficult and emotionally straining. I knew the people I said bye to, I would see them in December (Christmas) yet, a wave of what I can only describe as joy, sadness and accomplishment overcame me and transformed into tears.
I was also very nervous post being awarded the global grant scholarship. I knew I would receive my passport, visa and then eventually fly to NYC, so my nerves were primarily influenced by something else.
During the summer I read The Alchemist, and one thing that stood out to me in the book was when you realise your “destiny” and your potential, it’s a very scary journey to now fulfil one’s capabilities. Especially, as you know what you want to achieve is very possible. This idea perfectly sums up where my nerves derived from.
I flew from London to New York to begin my journey in trying to further positively impact the world.