Luci Prosapio and Zac DeLap, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Winners, Talk to

Two seniors at Pepperdine University, Luci Prosapio and Zachary DeLap, have been awarded the Rotary Ambassadors Scholarship. This scholarship will enable both students to pursue graduate study in a foreign nation. In this interview, we talk with Luci and Zac about their plans for international study and what it means to be an international ambassador.

By Sarah Wright

Luci Prosapio What made you decide to pursue graduate study in another country?

Luci Prosapio: I have always been interested in international travel and study, and I enjoy living and learning overseas. When I learned about the Rotary scholarship I was excited about the opportunity to not only represent the Rotary in another country, but also be able to continue my education.

Zac DeLap: I grew up in a multi-cultural household. I was blessed with the ability to travel around the world with my parents growing up, and I loved it. I wanted to soak up as much culture as possible, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. Tell us more about where you will be attending grad school. What will you be studying and where?

LP: I am planning to attend Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. While at NMMU, I hope to study in their Graduate Programme for Development Studies.

ZD: I will be pursuing a Master's of Professional Studies in International Relations at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. What is your major at Pepperdine? Will your graduate studies be an extension of your undergraduate work?

LP: I am an international studies major/intercultural communications specialization with history and Italian minors. My graduate work is related to my interests in international communication and development through international relations.

ZD: I majored in political science and also got a Certificate in Conflict Management from the Strauss Institute, which is the Pepperdine law school. The latter part of my political coursework focused on international studies, so my graduate studies will be an extension of that.

Zac DeLap What made you select the specific nation that you will be living and studying in?

LP: I have never been to South Africa. The opportunity to travel to a location that I am not familiar with, and to learn from people with a rich and diverse history, was attractive to me. I was looking for schools that had programs geared toward my interests and NMMU fit perfectly.

ZD: It was spur of the moment; New Zealand is a country that I have always admired, and I thought it would be a great place to live for a year. I am currently in a course on the International Relations of Middle Earth in which we study 'Lord of the Rings' and political theory, so getting to go to New Zealand after this course is pretty amazing. Hopefully I can be an extra in The Hobbit. How are you preparing for the transition to attending graduate school in a foreign country? Have you ever studied abroad before?

LP: I spent my sophomore year at Pepperdine University studying in Florence, Italy. It was a wonderful experience and taught me a lot about traveling and studying. Since I had moved to a new state for my undergraduate and I studied in Florence for a year, I have had experience living in a new location. These experiences have helped me prepare for my upcoming graduate studies in South Africa. I have been reading a lot about the school, the city and the nation to better understand its history and culture. I have been fortunate to meet and talk with many people who have traveled or lived in South Africa and get firsthand advice from them.

ZD: I studied for one semester in Lausanne, Switzerland, and I think that prepared me somewhat for this experience. But in Switzerland I had 50 other Pepperdine students with me so it wasn't an individual adventure like I will be going on to New Zealand. Prior to going to New Zealand I will be going to the Shaolin Temple atop the Song Shan Mountain in China for three months. I'll be going alone and living at the Temple to train in martial arts eight hours a day. This experience should be a little more intense than going to graduate school, so hopefully I will have absolutely no problem living alone in New Zealand after coming out of China. Do you want to come back to live in the U.S. after you complete your graduate studies, or are you planning to live abroad?

LP: I am planning to return to the United States after my scholarship period to finish my graduate work. I am not sure whether or not I will stay in the United States for good, however. I hope my occupation allows me to travel and live internationally.

ZD: I am definitely planning on living back in the U.S. However, I would not rule out living abroad for a few years. I hope to run for public office in the U.S., so I need to come back and settle down eventually. The Rotary Ambassadors Scholarship seeks to combat cultural misunderstanding about the United States in foreign countries. Why do you think international scholarship is such a good way of accomplishing this goal?

LP: Living and attending school in a foreign country is an excellent way to represent your nation and to learn about a foreign nation and peoples in a way that no textbook can teach you. The Rotary's mission is an excellent and important concept in today's global society and each time a scholar is sent overseas, international relationships are formed and important international understanding is developed.

ZD: The scholarship is great because it sends over bright minded individuals who are extremely motivated in whatever their passion is. These scholars who study abroad not only go to school, but also work with natives for a service project to help better the community. Through this project, whatever it may be, natives should be able to see that people raised in America are genuinely compassionate and place service above self in many instances. If you'd like to share any additional thoughts about the Rotary Ambassadors Scholarship, or about studying abroad, please feel free to do so.

LP: I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent the Rotary and the United States as an ambassador of goodwill. International understanding is of the utmost importance, and I believe that the work of organizations such as Rotary International is vital for our global community.

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