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Katrina Yu always had a dream to study overseas but never thought it would be possible due to the costs. However, after completing her journalism degree in 2008, the Filipino-Chinese-Australian fulfilled her aspiration through the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Program.
"The Ambassadorial Scholarship Program sponsors students to study overseas for a year, not only based on grades although that is important - but a willingness and ability to engage with and serve the wider community in the long term," explains Yu.
She discovered the scholarship while working part-time at the University of Sydney Careers Service. "I met a colleague who was actually a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from America. I mentioned to her my dream of studying abroad, she told me about the scholarship program and it went from there."
With some assistance from her local Rotary Club, Yu successfully applied for the program. From September 2009 to September 2010, she studied a Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
"World affairs has always been a major interest of mine and during the scholarship I studied international relations, international economics and Mandarin. It was a demanding but fascinating course, and I came out of it with a much richer understanding of not only our international system, but also Australia's place in it."
Outside of study, Yu made the most of what the cosmopolitan British city had to offer. "For me it was also the ideal launch pad through which I could explore the rest of the UK and Europe, and also further afield to China, Israel and Palestine," said Yu.
"Living and studying abroad is such an enriching experience. I came back home with a stronger sense of who I was and what I wanted to focus on in life." Since returning home in January, Yu has started a cadetship at SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) which she describes as "exciting and challenging."
"I've wanted to work for SBS since I've known that I wanted to work in the media. It's such a unique organisation. As a broadcaster it actively acknowledges that people can have multiple cultural identities. "I can't emphasise how happy I was to be offered the position - I still have to pinch myself every time I walk through those doors."
For more information about Ambassadorial Scholarships, go to Rotary's website, www.rotary.org. Under the Students and Youth Tab, look for Ambassadorial Scholarships.