Edi tor’s note: Carol ine Burns attended Satchel Ford Elementary, Crayton Middle, and A. C. Flora High School (2006) and the College of Charleston (2010). She is the recipient of a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and is spending a year in Uganda.
Uganda. I bet the name of this far–off East African country is pretty exotic sounding to those back home. However, the manner in which I went about choosing to spend a year of my life in this rather small, unassuming country is anything but thrilling. Instead, it was actually a rather straightforward choice for me.
To start, there is my life–long interest in Africa in general. There were African dance classes in high school, several African politics classes in college, and a brief internship on Capitol Hill with the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. So, when I first decided to pursue a Rotary Ambas-sadorial scholarship, which would give me the opportunity to spend an academic year in almost any country in the world, Africa was the most obvious choice for me.
Still, why Uganda? To start, English is the official language of this former British colony. Knowing that I would already be facing some intense cultural shock when arriving in the country, not having to deal with an added language barrier eases the pain a little.
Secondly, Uganda has been a relatively stable and peaceful country for the past decade. Add to this the natural beauty of the area. The country known as the “Pearl of Africa” is home to the infamous Lake Victoria, the mighty Nile River, the Mountains of the Moon, plus some of the most hospitable people in the region. With all this in mind, it is Uganda that ended up being the first choice listed on my application form, and it is Uganda that I ended up being assigned by Rotary International to carry out my year as an ambassadorial scholar.