I cried two times during the admission process for CEU. The first time when I was admitted —I cried out simultaneously of joy and disbelief that I made it. The second time I cried when I was notified about my financial aid package from the university. But this time they were not the tears of happiness. I cried out of despair. Despite the financial aid package being very generous (and I was extremely thankful for that), it was not enough for me to come to CEU. Unluckily, I did not have any extra savings and I couldn’t rely on my parents’ help much. So, I cried and decided to put up with it, thinking of applying again the following year.
But that was not the end. Later, CEU announced the call for accepted students to apply for the Alumni Scholarship—a financial aid opportunity in exchange for volunteering for the university. Recipients of the scholarship participate in rich volunteering experiences and make contributions to specific CEU extra-curricular projects in return for a monthly stipend. In spite of having little hope and low self-confidence after the first “defeat”, I pulled myself together and applied. After some weeks, surprisingly, I got a positive answer and could not believe that I would finally get to study at the institution of my dreams!
During this year’s Philanthropy Week at CEU, I was honoured to attend the special reception for donors and current CEU students as an Alumni Scholarship Recipient (ASR). At the event I had a chance to say “thank you” to all of the donors face-to-face making it one of the best experiences at the university so far. I met many CEU alumni who graduated even before I was born, including Ukrainian donors—my fellow citizens who are making it possible for me to study right now. By a twist of fate, I also encountered a Ukrainian CEU alumna and former ASR who created the video through which I discovered the university. It was such a pleasure to hug all of the people who lent their helping hands!
Nevertheless, this post is not just about the Alumni Scholarship. It is about the contributions made by all CEU donors—former students and caring individuals—whose generosity allows ambitious and curious applicants to further pursue an education every year. Together, by donating either a dollar or huge piles of funds, they create life-changing opportunities for dozens of students like me. Each of their contributions matters when an applicant’s academic destiny is at stake. In the end I do not have enough words to say how grateful I am. So, in this post I will simply tell them “thank you”, again.
By Tetiana Horban, Alumni Scholarship Recipient student in the Department of International Relations