We love first-time experiences at Abroad101! Our recent Adelante scholarship that we offered to students last month was the first internship scholarship that we ever had on our site! The winner, Ernst Brocker, was also the first international winner that we had! Ernst is from South Africa and acquired nearly 2000 Likes from friends, family, and even complete strangers who supported his campaign! We were able to interview Ernst who gave us an insider perspective on his campaign, as well as his excitement and anticipation to begin his internship in Barcelona, Spain!
Can you explain how you found out about the scholarship and what sort of things you did to make your campaign so successful?
I have been dreaming about going overseas for a really long time. About 6 months ago I started doing some research on opportunities abroad and came across the Study Abroad 101 Facebook site, which listed the Adelante internship scholarship in Barcelona. Bingo! At first I thought “Yeah right, what are my chances?”, but soon got over myself and entered the competition. The initial response to my motivation letter was overwhelming – people I’ve never met before started commenting on Facebook and the application page. Realising that my dream could turn into a reality, I literally asked everyone I know to vote for me. They in turn asked all of their friends, etc etc. I reckon that amongst the 1950 votes I acquired, I know about 450 people personally. It’s crazy to think that 1500 random people voted for my application!
You’ve gone through a lot in your life already, and have been very successful in many things. What made you decide you were ready to leave South Africa for awhile and intern in Barcelona on one of Adelante’s programs?
I once fell in l0ve with a quote “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” (I have no idea who wrote it I’m afraid). Being curious is one of my favourite hobbies – I’m often found gathering random and odd facts about the most arbitrary things. I’ve read up a lot about Barcelona and is captivated by the idea of a bustling city that is a forerunner in culture, arts, music and literature – not to mention the visual buffet that is Gaudi’s architecture!
What would your ideal internship be in Barcelona?
I’m drawn to the prospect of working with my hands. I’m a hands-on kind of guy and fantasize about building things from scratch – whether it be art installations, furniture or a brand new school for kids. Other than that I have an intense passion for music and literature. So any company that incorporates all of the above would suit me just fine.
Besides the internship, is there anything specific that you’re really looking forward to seeing or doing while you’re living in Barcelona?
Have I mentioned the Gaudi-buffet? J I’m excited about being introduced to a new language: besides being an extremely sexy language, Spanish is also one of the most widely spoken languages in the world – something that can’t hurt in my future endeavors in Europe.
**We would like to thank all of those who participated in the Adelante scholarship, and also to Adelante for their generous support of international education experiences through this scholarship.
_______________________________________Ernst’s Adelante Scholarship Response to the prompt question “Please describe why you deserve this scholarship, and how your acquired skills from the international internship with Adelante will prepare you for your professional career”
At the age of 14 I became the youngest chairperson of the representative council for high school student representative bodies in South Africa. At 17 I donated bone marrow to my sister who was diagnosed with Leukaemia. (Now – ten years later I am preparing my speech for her wedding!) At University I was the youngest student writer and finalist to compete with my stage play “Eëtjie Feëtjie” against veteran and award winning writers in SANLAM’s national stage play competition. After I graduated, I packed my car full of dreams and a couple of my favourite books and drove to Johannesburg where I had no job and no place to stay. 3 weeks later I started working as a junior script co-ordinator at 7de Laan, one of the biggest and most popular television shows in South Africa, affording me the opportunity to pay off my student loan of $70 000,00. Today my storylines are aired to 3 million people a day. I have a black belt in Karate, have mastered the art of origami (and karaoke), studied French for a year, boast a vast knowledge of wine and built a chandelier out of triplex card board and glass beads. Now I am ready for my next challenge: being a loyal, trustworthy and hardworking intern in a foreign country, soaking up a brand new culture and being well versed in Spanish by the time I leave Barcelona. I am excited about the endless possibilities this program has to offer: whether it is teaching English to little bright-eyed Spanish kids, marketing beer and cheese to social locals, binding manuscripts for an eccentric publisher, making coffee for temperamental TV-directors or answering phones for a consultancy firm. All of the above will open my eyes to a new and exciting world, allowing me to cultivate life experience and ultimately to further my career as an informed and mature writer. I feel that my natural curiosity, eagerness to learn and ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on my face are qualities that make me a suitable candidate for this scholarship. We have a saying in Afrikaans (one of South Africa’s eleven official languages) that goes like this: “Wie nie waag nie, wen nie”, meaning ‘you cannot succeed if you do not try’. I would appreciate your vote hugely.