Tuesday, 1 August 2017, 4:16 PM. A notification alert followed by a slight vibration demanded my attention. I unlocked the screen of my mobile phone and saw the subject of the e-mail received: “Results of your CEU Alumni Scholarship application.” I knew that whatever it was stated in that e-mail could change the studying-abroad-journey which I was about the start.
Congratulations! We are very pleased to inform you that you have been selected as the Serbian Alumni Scholarship recipient for the 2017-18 academic year…”
And this is how it all began. I became a part of a group consisting of 26 amazing persons who committed themselves to civica engagement and qualified as potential future leaders with the skillset required for building strong alumni communities after graduation.
The purpose of the Alumni Scholarship Recipient (ASR) Program is to attract young people – civil activists willing to help their communities and offer them not only the possibility to receive a relatively high scholarship, but as well an opportunity to gain valuable experience by participating in different projects within the University. Indeed, the extra amount of money, as part of the scholarship program, could make life in Budapest easier, as it did for me; nevertheless, an amazing experience behind the whole idea of the ASR Program is what undoubtedly counts the most and makes this program so unique and worth applying for.
For me, being an ASR was indeed an amazing experience. First and foremost, it offered me an opportunity to engage in the work of CEU by helping and learning at the same time. As an ASR, I participated in many projects governed by Career Services, the Student Recruitment and Alumni Relations Offices. I was an active volunteer in the Career Services Office, where I had the opportunity to be a job researcher for the CareerNext project, in addition to completing other relevant tasks, such as assisting the organizers during different career events, managing statistical data related to those events, and so on. This experience benefitted not only to the CEU community, but me as well, since it helped me a lot in improving my personal competences. Involvement in the CareerNext project was probably the highlight of this overall experience since the possibility to research and post job opportunities for my fellow students and alumni improved my research skills. Although challenging – since I had to research for relevant job opportunities for three different departments, not only for the one I was enrolled in – this experience prove to be extremely beneficial for me, the future fresh graduate, who now has more skills to easily perform job-related searches.
Additionally, the ASR program offers opportunity to scholarship recipients to be involved in many different projects and gain a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills. While being engaged with the Student Recruitment Office, I participated in different sessions with prospective future CEU students, answering their questions and offering advice. Helping those students who were about to apply to my University was indeed inspiring. Knowing how it felt to be in their shoes and how important first-hand information was, the opportunity to share my experiences with them was enriching. Thus, the ASR program is not only about improving your personal competences, but helping the community you belong to as well.
Mentioned projects are, however, just a tiny part of all the project offered by the ASR Program. You can get involved in writing and implementing personal projects, organizing social events, helping with fundraising, volunteering at different events, and so on. Even if I try to name them all, I would not have enough place, since the opportunities are almost endless, which makes this program a unique one.
At the end, in addition to all the experiences gained and the scholarship received, the ASR program gave me an opportunity to meet 25 amazing people, true leaders striving for building better communities. So, for all these reasons, I feel indeed grateful and happy that such a program exists at CEU and that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.
By Milica Nesic, alumni scholarship recipient student in the Department of Legal Studies.