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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A learning experience

Student hears 'change' begins at home

For Scott Meyer, the decision to help those in need was an easy one. Figuring out "how" was the challenge. As a senior at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, Meyer decided to find a school program that would take him to a country that he felt could use the most outside assistance. He chose Tanzania. But the reaction he received wasn't what he expected.

"I went with the idea that I would help make changes. What I was told by so many people was that I would be better off making changes with policies in the United States," said Meyer, a member of First Lutheran Church, Brookings, S.D. "I started to realize that how we act, what we buy and what we choose to ignore has great influence over other countries."

Still interested in serving in Tanzania, Scott volunteered to teach English to elementary students. "Elementary school is taught in Swahili," he explained, "but high schools and universities teach in English. It was a humbling experience trying to explain without books the language in as easy a manner as possible. They taught me as much as I taught them. And it gave me a whole new respect for teachers."

As for working on issues back in America, Meyer has decided, ironically, to go to Norway. He is one of 1,100 college students in 69 countries selected to pursue graduate study abroad through the Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship program. Recipients are selected on a the basis of leadership skills, academic success, language skill in the intended country of study, commitment to community service and knowledge of world affairs.

This fall he will pursue a master's degree in peace and conflict studies at the University of Oslo. Meyer said a possible goal would be to someday work for the United Nations or Lutheran World Relief.

"My pastor, Scott Miller, taught us that we need to be active in our faith life," Meyer said. "And to do that I feel like I have to first learn about the best ways to help."


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