When Wade Southwell had a chance to come from San Francisco to Springfield, he took it. When he had a chance to attend OTC, he took that, too.
Now, with a chance to spend a year in South Africa, the OTC student will take advantage of that opportunity as well and head there this summer as a rare recipient of an $18,000 Boren Scholarship.
With the help of Loren Lundstrom, the college’s international students director, Southwell made application for the prestigious scholarship that took six months to complete.
“Naturally, we were both very excited when he was selected,” Lundstrom said. “I think this whole process has been a great learning and growing experience for Wade. I can’t wait to talk with him when he returns from South Africa next year to finish his AA degree here at OTC.”
Southwell is believed to be the first student from southwest Missouri to receive such a scholarship.
“I have an interest in South Africa. I’ve always been fascinated about the cultures and history of Africa,” he said. “It’s something I’m passionate about. I think it will expand my opportunities.”
Southwell will study language for a year in South Africa, concentrating on the Zulu language at the University of KwaZulu Natal.
He will have two private language lessons a day and also study the African culture.
“Living in Africa for a year would be a daunting challenge for anyone, but I’m confident that if anybody can do it, Wade can,” Lundstrom said.
Southwell said he plans to use his pending experience in South Africa towards his eventual goal of working in foreign service.
After graduation from OTC next year, he plans to go to the University of Pennsylvania to participate in their African Studies program.
Graduating from OTC will be the cap to a quite unexpected educational journey for Southwell.
“Whenever I started school, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I didn’t expect I would be such a high-achieving student,” he said. “I just tried to be prepared and worked really hard.”
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