As an Alumni Scholarship recipient this year, I signed up for the Alumni Phonathon campaign as my way of giving back to the school and reaching out to the alumni who have so generously supported my education. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go to CEU if not for them, and it was nice to be able to personally thank them. But as it turned out, this experience ended up teaching me a lot as well. I have a collection of calls that I’ll never forget.
On my first week, I called an alumna from Hong Kong who had never donated before but who expressed her interest in donating even before I mentioned it. She works for an organization that helps victims of human trafficking. She told me that her experience at CEU helps her in her work because she supports women from Eastern Europe who are trafficked into Asia. I also asked her if they support Filipino domestic workers who are trafficked into Hong Kong, and she said yes and that the Philippine embassy is very cooperative in working with them. As a Filipina who loves her country dearly, it was great to have that shared experience with her. In that brief phone call, I felt a little bit closer to home.
I also called an alumna who is now based in Bangkok but who was originally from Nepal. She was so surprised that we were able to track her down. We hadn’t been able to contact her for years, but I reached her mother who gave me her new number. The alumna was so happy to hear from CEU and only had great things to say about her experience: how moving to Budapest was her first time to travel so far away from home, how it has given her the confidence in her work now, which requires her to travel extensively in the Asia Pacific area, and how grateful she is to CEU.
There was also an alumna who is originally from Bulgaria and was assigned to Iraq. After speaking to her mother (speaking to mothers of alumni is the best!), I found out that she is now based in Beirut, but her mother didn’t have a number she could give me. I was not sure if I would be able to actually reach her, but I was so excited to hear her story. Eventually I did get to speak to her, and she told me that she wants to donate to the school because she wouldn’t have the life and great career that she has now if not for CEU.
These calls were inspiring for me because I see myself in these alumni. Before coming to CEU, I had never been to Europe, and I can only hope that after my time here, I’ll have an interesting story to tell too.