When I first came to CEU, my fellow Alumni Scholarship Recipients (ASR) were some of the first people I met. The program provided a warm welcome and good introduction to student life. If you’re an incoming student this year, you should consider applying! It surprised me how many of my fellow students hadn’t heard of it, so let me tell you what the program is and what it’s like to be an Alumni Scholarship Recipient.
The Alumni Scholarship is funded by the alumni of CEU who want to show their appreciation by contributing to the education of the future students. In this sense, in addition to the scholarship’s material value for us recipients, I think it has a very special symbolic value, and it’s for both of these reasons that I’m very grateful to be an ASR and cannot wait to return my appreciation in the same way.
The ASR group is a very diverse group, this year bringing together 25 students from 25 different countries who are active within their communities in various ways. In this sense it is a small sample of the larger CEU community. Therefore starting a year of studying by being part of such a bright group is a big advantage, and it is one of the first circles to meet people outside of our own departments as well.
As part of the scholarship agreement, we are each responsible for volunteering 40 hours in the academic year as ASRs. It is a fair responsibility to take on in return for the scholarship, but it also contributes to our own skill sets. At the beginning of the year we were asked to consider what skills we would like to develop and consider what programs and projects we would like volunteer with in order to do so. It is a very well structured program in which many volunteer opportunities are made available to us, but in addition, we are allowed to create our own projects that we think would contribute to the CEU community and our own personal development. As part of these projects, we are encouraged to collaborate with one another as well as with various university offices, such as the Recruitment Office and Student Leadership and Services Office, which can provide support for the realization of our projects—from emotional support to ideas to even logistics and catering! It is a particularly helpful program for those students who might later consider a career in one those offices at CEU.
To sum up, in addition to its financial contributions to the students, the Alumni Scholarship program opens up new opportunities for us to meet other active students and for us engage with projects in our areas of interest around the university. This is how the Alumni Scholarship program made my CEU experience even more meaningful.