The world can show us what we know, but it can also open our eyes to what we want to know. No one knows that better than one of our Presidential Scholars aboard the MV Explorer, John ‚ÄúRyan‚Äù Weaver, 23, from Texas State University.
After his high school graduation five years ago, Weaver set out on a journey with his best friend from a small town outside of Austin, Texas¬†headed south. Divulging in a yearlong expedition that ran through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, it wasn‚Äôt until he hit his final stop that the purpose of this trip struck him.
‚ÄúIn talking to a local I met, Javier, I could see in his eyes that the opportunity to receive a college education was something he dreamed of, yet knew could never be a reality,‚Äù Weaver said. ‚ÄúAt the least, he was trying to educate himself and teach himself English.‚Äù
That simple statement instantly left its impact.
‚ÄúIt made me reconsider my entire outlook on education,‚Äù Weaver said. ‚ÄúI unfortunately wasn‚Äôt a committed student in high school. But through that travel experience there was a spark that was ignited in me.‚Äù
Weaver soon thereafter applied and enrolled at Texas State University where he is majoring in geography. He humbly holds a 4.0 GPA and surely didn‚Äôt lose his passion for traveling. Throughout his collegiate experience, he had dreamed of studying on Semester at Sea, a dream that came true when he applied and later received the Presidential Scholarship.
Every Presidential Scholar is tasked with creating an ‚Äúaction plan,‚Äù a special project that allows each scholar to leave his or her lasting impact on the program. His topic is how the standard of living in various countries compares on a global scale.
‚ÄúThe four countries of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and South Africa are considered newly industrialized,‚Äù Weaver said. ‚ÄúThroughout this voyage, I will gauge whether or not those countries should be considered more developed or less developed in the global context and report on my opinion.‚Äù
This inspiring student plans to graduate upon return to the states, travel for another semester, and then go to grad school. He also plans to one day teach at the collegiate level.