Well, now begins the quest for funds. On Tuesday (the 1st of February) I completed and submitted the Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant for Research in Europe. If awarded, these funds will get me to London and that’s about it. Today, I begin the process to accrue a much larger pool of funds.

And that’s where the “fun” comes in.

Recently, I updated my Facebook account and friended “The Official Chevening Page.” For those that don’t know this, we are in a GLOBAL recession, which means that the United States is not the only country that spent too much and taxed too little. The United Kingdom also finds itself in a financial bind. Put on hold were the many international scholarships to which the British government kicks in a huge amount of cash. Foreign students had to wait with baited breath to see how the system was to be funded or cut entirely.

Thankfully, and also on the 1st of February, the announcement came down that the British government, through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, will continue to fund the Chevening to the tune of about £17 million, or – as of today’s exchange rate – almost $27.5 million in USA dollars. I’d like to secure a small slice of that pie for myself. In the announcement, the FCO advised me to contact my local British Consulate, as these local offices distribute the applications and determine the deadlines. My local British Consulate is in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles (7.5 hours away via the automobile). Trouble is, the good people there do not answer the phone and there are no e-mail addresses for any of the employees there by which I can leave a question. Hmnn. Thus, I went back to Facebook, brought up the official Chevening group where I linked myself to a blog belonging to a one Gary Fisher. Mr. Fisher is the “Chevening Scholarship programme’s engagement manager” according to the FCO. He’s spent more than 20 years with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Once on Gary Fisher’s blog, I was able to post my question in regards to the Chevening process. It went something like this:

Hello Gary,

What if my local British Council Office does not answer its telephone, or does not provide a web link to leave a message or question (in both cases, Los Angeles)? I’d like to apply for the Chevening.

A perfectly reasonable request: no?

We’ll see. Patience, Joe, patience.

Not to be deterred, I promptly proceeded to the next scholarship. Thankfully, the University of Bristol supplies a list of scholarships to which I qualify for and can apply. As I began to investigate that process, I was thus thrust into the “International Office Scholarship Application Form,” and before I could say “care for a bit of spotted dick?” I found myself face to face with the following question:

How will studying at the University of Bristol help you to achieve your personal goals? (350 words maximum)

A perfectly reasonable request: no?

I’ll get back to you on that answer, as it deserves a small bit of contemplation. Til next time!

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