To My Friends And Family:
My name is Kevin Burns. I am a senior at CSU San Marcos studying Global Business Management. At twenty-three years old I have had the great opportunity to do many things that I believe instrumental to my life. With your help I plan to continue my education in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Baptist University and the surrounding area.
For the past three years I have proven a commitment to my aspirations – taking a two-month trip to Europe and a five-month trip to South America. I had the chance to stand at the gates of Auschwitz. The gates bear the phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei”, meaning ‘work makes one free’. The irony is life changing. Amongst a crowd of thousands, I watched the final game of the 2006 World Cup from the English Gardens in Munich, taking every liberty to cheers a liter of beer with my new German friends. I felt old and civilized while I watched my first Opera at the beautiful Vienna State Opera, the first opera built in Vienna. I volunteered my time at an organic farm in Ecuador – helping to educate local farmers about the destructive practices of mono-cropping and deforestation, both dreadfully real along the Ecuadorian coast. By pure chance I found myself working as a bar tender in the heart of La Paz, allowing me two weeks to discover the intricacies of the Bolivian capital city. South American culture became more profound and rich after having multiple opportunities to stay with South American families in Ecuador and Bolivia.
Much of my traveling has been at the behest of my philosophies. Heavily influenced by authors such as Henry David Thoreau and Søren Kierkegaard, along with inspiration from my close friends and family, I developed a worldview that I believe right for my character. Einstein said it best, and I echo here, striving for great Truths and great things is not just a hobby for the authors of the past, rather, along with being my passion it is important to the definition of every generation. Every generation must define itself because every individual must define himself. If only this self-defining wisdom could be gathered from books alone. But wisdom and Truth are dead as long as they reside in plain text alone, void of action and the corresponding inherent understanding. Following my dreams, chasing adventures, and stopping on occasion to gain some perspective is where I hope to find my definition.
“What a man can wrest from Truth by passionate striving is utterly infinitesimal. But the striving frees us from the bonds of the self and makes us comrades of those who are the best and the greatest.”
I have the opportunity to continue my education as an exchange student in Hong Kong during the fall of 2008. With your help, the semester abroad would represent my final semester of college, as I plan to graduate upon my return. Studying in Hong Kong would also give me a chance to develop my third language, Mandarin, and provide a means to explore the Asian culture, which I understand to be of extreme difference to the west and all that I have experienced of yet.
As a Global Business Management Major, I have the option to replace a traditional senior experience project with an international internship. By studying abroad in Hong Kong, I will be able to establish connections with surrounding businesses during the exchange program. This will allow me to actively search out the best internship possible, rather than being forced to take an internship that I am unfamiliar with. A better internship means learning relevant skills, and establishing a doorway into an industry that I am interested in.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
I believe throughout my education I have been able to see the forest through the trees. I am not just a student of business, but also a student of the world. My education is far more than just what I have learned in classrooms and textbooks. I have found the history, geography, architecture, cultures, perspectives, languages, physical and emotional hardships, to be the part of my education I have learned the most from. I hope to continue this educational experience in South East Asia. Upon finishing my exchange program and international internship, I plan to explore many other countries in South East Asia for the remainder of the year.
In the past I have juggled work and school in order to afford my education abroad. This has not been the case with my spring 2008 semester. I was unable to work during this semester due to the gravity of my workload at school, my participation in multiple student organizations, and my diligent search for a suitable internship over the summer. Though my hard work during the past semester has paid off, I have found myself lacking a significant amount of finances in order to afford my stay in South East Asia. I am asking for your financial help. I ask because I am genuinely in need of your help. But my asking is also the product of my desire to include others in my travels. I am truly of the opinion that there are people who believe in what I am doing and would be glad to contribute to my cause. I hope to keep in strict contact with friends, family, and all who are interested in my travels. If you would like to contribute or be part of my mailing list, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can visit kevinjamesburns.blogspot.com to learn more about me, and different ways to contribute to my trip.
Kevin James Burns