Rob O’Connor shared slides of some popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom and facts about the British economy and culture, from the popular fish and chips meal he misses to his home country’s new monarch King Charles III as he spoke via Zoom to the Rotary Club of Griffin in a recent October meeting. O’Connor attends the University of Georgia along with three other Georgia Rotary Student Program scholars sponsored by Rotary Clubs within Georgia.
O’Connor is 19-years old and from Winchester, UK. With the endorsement of the Winchester Rotary Club, O’Connor applied to the GRSP and was selected for the one-year ambassadorial scholarship by the Rotary Club of Griffin.
“I’ve been here a few months but have already experienced so much, and there’s barely a weekend that goes by that I’m not doing something,” he said. “There’s a stereotype that has been proven about Georgia regarding ‘Southern Hospitality,’ and it’s massively appreciated. I must deeply thank the generous sponsors for my scholarship, The Rotary Club of Griffin, without whom my trip would not be possible. On top of that, I have so much gratitude to my wonderful host mother, Janice Wallace, who has been nothing but genial and supportive.
“I have adored the GRSP weekends,” he added. “The education at UGA really is top tier. My experience does not stop at education. It has been an overwhelmingly amazing experience of culture and country that I will benefit from for the rest of my life.”
O’Connor’s passions include filmmaking, acting, playing the saxophone, karate, Taekwondo, fencing, photography, reading, swimming and skiing. He hopes to write and direct a film, which is what introduced him to GRSP. He won the Rotary Clubs of Great Britain and Ireland’s National Rotary Young Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2021 with a short film he made while in lockdown. The Winchester Rotary Club is a sponsor for the filmmaker competition and longtime partner with GRSP.
“We lead the world in film/television production, just one place ahead of Georgia,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said he misses his family. His father, Tim, is a managing director at a health and beauty company while his mother, Claire, is an education tutor and “marvelous cook.” A child of three, his brother Alex is a music business graduate while his sister Rosie is a phycology graduate who considers the cat Mildred as her favorite family member.
Before arriving in Georgia in August, O’Connor finished his A-Level examinations a Peter Symonds College, established in 1897, which is a grammar school for 16-19 year olds that is ranked the eighth best state college in the country.
After his year with GRSP, O’Connor has been confirmed to study history at the University of Nottingham in the fall of 2023.