An Ambassadorial Scholar studying in Auckland, Rosie has provided an update that gives a fascinating insight into her journey - her report is below:
My name is Rosie, and I am from Baldock in the UK. I am currently living in Auckland, doing a Master of Arts in Sociology at the University of Auckland, as part of a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. My background has always been in the humanities - I did my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Cambridge, UK, before going to Canada to do a Master of Arts in History - both looking at historical Indigenous settler relations. 
My Global Grant journey began almost exactly one year ago, when I emailed the secretary of Baldock RC - my home town - to enquire whether they have ever sponsored a Global Grant Scholarship, and what the process would be like to apply. Mine was the first Global Grant outgoing scholarship Baldock RC had ever put together - after many emails back and forth I met the wonderful team from Baldock and the North Herts district that would help put the grant together (Paul, Neil, Paul, Rob, and Prue, among many others!). As it happened, I was in New Zealand when I first reached out to Baldock RC - I had just finished some travelling and was getting ready to return to the UK when Covid-19 hit. As the New Zealand border restrictions started getting stricter, we quickly realised that international study was looking increasingly unlikely for 2020.
When New Zealand went into its first Level 4 lockdown, I made the decision with Baldock RC to remain in New Zealand until the lockdown lifted and we heard the outcome of our grant application. What followed was several months of back and forth emails, phone calls and Zoom meetings: closely watching the news for Covid-19 updates, while finalising my project proposal. Baldock is a small town of only 10,000 people, and the amazing club and district team persuaded a total of eight other clubs to join them in backing the grant. We met with lots of these clubs over Zoom to present the project. My family all live back in Baldock, and we kept in touch during this time with regular FaceTimes, Zoom pub quizzes, and texting. 
In May last year we got the exciting news that not only had our grant application been approved by Rotary International, but they were willing to award it for the start of Semester Two 2020, at a time when many other Global Grant scholars had been returned home and no other scholarships were being paid out. Between May and the start of semester in July, I joined Rotary Otahuhu, my host club, for many of their weekly meetings, as well as finally being able to meet Jeanette Drysdale and Shefali Mehta (my host Rotarians) in person. At a time when international connections were becoming increasingly restricted, the relationship between Baldock RC and Otahuhu RC felt particularly special, and I will be forever grateful for all the support both clubs gave me throughout such difficult months. 
My research project is looking at how Pākehā New Zealanders respond to learning about New Zealand’s history (and other societal issues), and the implications (and potential) this has for peace-building and relationship building. As my research involved interviews with undergraduate students, once we had confirmation of the grant I embarked on the rigorous process of getting ethics approval from the University. This was approved in August with only minor amendments, but the week I was due to start my recruitment, Auckland was plunged into another Level 3 lockdown! 
Once we finally got around the logistical issues of recruiting over Zoom, the rest of the project has gone off without a hitch. My supervisor is the wonderful Dr. Avril Bell, who’s research specialises in looking at Pākehā identity and Pākehā Māori relations. I was able to carry out all my interviews in person, and the group of students that volunteered for this project have been a pleasure to work with. It gives me a lot of hope for the future to speak to such intelligent, socially and politically engaged young people. My thesis is currently sitting at a hefty 30,000 words - with about 10,000 left to write by the end of July 2021 (and then lots of redrafting!). Over the last 8 months I had the pleasure of presenting for many Rotary clubs both in New Zealand and the UK, and joined in for many other Rotary meetings and events, including the recent 75th Anniversary of RC Otahuhu. 
Of course, New Zealand has been one of the luckiest places to live in the last year, and I have taken every opportunity to get out and explore. My partner (Jon) and I did three of the Great Walks on the South Island at Christmas, starting with the Abel Tasman up in Nelson where we tortured by mosquitos and weka, which stole almost all our food out of my backpack on the last day of the hike, and my bar of soap. Luckily some kind fellow campers stocked us up on cereal bars to get us through the last day of the walk! We then flew down to Queenstown and did the Routeburn (rainy!) and Kepler (gorgeous, but plagued by Kea that ripped a hole in our tent!). Two weekends ago we did the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, and are just getting ready to do the Whanganui River Journey in a few weeks time! I have been lucky enough to find a wonderful flat in Ponsonby, and enjoy visiting all the coffee shops in this neighbourhood to study.
I see this project growing into a PhD project in the future - I feel like I have just scraped the surface and would love to develop the findings into something practical for communities and educators to use. For now I am just focusing on writing up my final chapters and making the most of living in such a wonderful country. I am always happy to come and present for clubs over Zoom or in person, and I would love to connect with more clubs in the district. Please feel free to drop me an email at, or get in touch with Shefali or Jeanette if you would like me to speak at your club! I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Rotary International, Districts 1260 and 9920, RC Baldock and Otahuhu, and all the other clubs that have made my grant possible. It has truly been a life-changing experience. I look forwards to staying involved with Rotary and all the wonderful people I have met through this grant for many years to come.