11.30.11

I'm thankful for the scholarship from the Ambassadors Scholarship Foundation. … The scholarship allowed me to travel to Africa and spend some time working with kids there. I now want to study medicine, become a doctor, and go back.

Changing your world forever—through travel

Ryan Oelrich

Written by
Ryan Oelrich

I grew up the son of an Air Force father, so we moved frequently to various parts of the globe. I didn't fully appreciate how valuable these travels were until later on in life. My family finally settled down in the city of Helena, Montana where I attended middle school, learned the cowboy life, and befriended various local youth. In between attempting to lasso sheep and bucking hay bales, I remember conversations with many of these young people who had been born and raised there, never or rarely having left the state. Their dreams for the future all seemed trapped within their city limits. Because they'd never traveled, they had no concept of how big the world really was or how many opportunities it offered them.

Almost a decade ago I had the opportunity to take several youth who had never before left their small home town on a trip to Washington D.C. I remember how their eyes lit up when they boarded a plane for the first time and I remember how ecstatic they were as we strolled through the capitol meeting people from all walks of life. That trip changed their perspectives forever. Prior to the trip one youth in particular had plans of graduating high school and then working at a convenience store. After the trip, and after having toured a college campus in DC, he decided he would apply for a university in Boston and wanted to become a congressman.

For these reasons and others I'm passionate about providing opportunities for students to travel abroad and expand their global perspective. Through my work at the Ambassadors Foundation we provide travel scholarships, support for educational projects, and disaster relief to aid as many students around the globe as possible. I believe education and travel make youth stronger, more socially aware, and more able to succeed in the increasingly global world. I love the work we're able to do here, and I want you to be just as excited about the lives we're able to change and inspire as I am. I invite you to partner with us.

Ryan Oelrich