Category Archives: Travel

Ruth uses scholarship to spend summer at camp supporting disabled children

Ruth Christian has had a very busy couple of years since applying to study LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology at Edge Hill University. Now in her third year and preparing to graduate, Ruth reflected on the past two years as an Excellence Scholarship winner.

“Two years ago I first applied for the Excellence Scholarship citing the volunteer work I did at home during college. I’ll admit now, my application was completed between work, college, exams and a busy social life! It wasn’t the best so it was no surprise when my first application was unsuccessful.

However, even though I wasn’t awarded a scholarship on that occasion, the University still took notice of my application and asked if I would like to be involved in a new initiative, the Volunteer Certificate and Ambassador Scheme.

This new opportunity has been a great help to me in my last two years at Edge Hill. I’ve met new people, got a volunteer post, and I have recently gained my silver certificate, which will look good on my CV. It is due to all of this that I thought it would be a good idea to apply for the Excellence Scholarship for Current Students, again for my volunteering. This time I made sure that my application was as good as it could be, going into as much detail as possible, no matter how insignificant it might seem. Also, something I didn’t include in my first application was evidence, as I couldn’t take photos in my first volunteer job. However my volunteer job at university let me take a photo in the sensory room in my staff t-shirt. This enhanced my application and I was successful in gaining the Excellence Scholarship.

The awards ceremony which is held for the winners of the scholarship is an amazing night where you get to show off your achievements and feel proud of yourself and what you can do. It is also a great chance for your family to congratulate you and for them to see what you’ve achieved and celebrate it.

With the money I gained I put it towards spending nearly three months in America, working on a camp for disabled children and travelling. I honestly don’t know how to sum up my time at the camp; the ups, the downs, the excitement and exhaustion. It’s been a rollercoaster of a summer which I wouldn’t change for the world!

As well as the campers, I have worked with some amazing counsellors, from all over the world. We started as strangers who were put into a cabin to live together for 10 weeks but we left as a family. Every one of the counsellors and campers has in some way or other done something to make this summer the best I’ve ever had.

It wasn’t all easy going though, there were hard times and struggles. From the 14/15 hours working a day, to limited time off at weekends and lack of contact with home. There were times where I’ve just wanted to be back home but I am honestly so glad I was strong enough not to cave in at those moments.

Once I had finished camp, I traveled far and wide around America. With my camp being in New Jersey, I left the day after camp and flew over to San Francisco for a few days, then back to Newark, down to Philadelphia and Washington. After this I did an organised trek up to Niagara Falls and finished with a few days in New York before flying home.

Some advice which I would always give to someone considering applying for a scholarship is that it never hurts to try! If you’ve done anything which can apply to a scholarship go for it! And if you do, don’t leave anything out even if you think it’s not important. A few months ago I received the amazing news that I have won a Chancellors Scholarship as well which just proves that there’s no harm in trying!”

Luca ignites his wanderlust and becomes an award-winning travel guide

Luca Alfatti, a former DipHE Paramedic Practice student and scholarship winner is an award-winning overland tour guide. In 2012, Luca won the Wanderlust World Tour Guide Award, making him one of the best travel guides in the world!

Luca got the travelling bug at the age of 21, when he hopped on a plane to the USA to work at a summer camp – despite the fact he didn’t speak any English. Nowadays, Luca is fluent in four languages, including his native Italian, and can say ‘thank you’ in at least 15. He claims this as one of his most useful skills, one that gets him a long way when travelling to some of the most remote tourist destinations on earth. Luca has led tours across Europe, Asia, Africa and all around Central and South America. In 2013, he co-led the first ever commercial tour through the remote Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. His adventurous expeditions certainly aren’t for the faint hearted. In the Wakhan Corridor, it takes six days of travelling through mountainous terrain before you even arrive at the trailhead to start the 12 day trek.

Luca-Alfatti

For Luca, studying to be a paramedic was a natural extension of his well-established first aid skills that he has used when working as a guide. Now qualified, Luca hopes to return to guiding and use his knowledge to give some level of medical help to those who reside in the challenging environments he visits. He donated his £5,000 World Guide Award bursary to a charity which provides shelter and vital medical care to women and children in Guatemala after he witnessed the lack of essential services available to women in the country. In addition to the financial support, Luca set up a Central American trip which took its travellers to the charity centre while he was working for overland tour company, Dragoman, a feat which he says makes him “very proud”.

In addition to his guiding, Luca is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, which is the highest level of membership an individual can achieve and requires you to be nominated by two existing fellows before being elected by the council. Luca dedicates some of his spare time (though how he has any is a mystery!) to attending RGS events where he helps to advise aspiring explorers on their upcoming adventures.

Luca’s dedication and positive attitude allowed him to continue to train for and plan trips for his summer breaks whilst keeping up with a 45 hour a week university course! Despite the physical demands of his job and the time constraints of his course, Luca said that he enjoys what he does so much that he has “never found the job hard”. An Edge Hill University scholarship has proven to be just the start of his success.