When it comes to destinations, people strive to conquer mountain summits.
When it comes to goal-setting, we are taught to aim for the peaks of our dreams.
My dream is to study in Austria, in a top-ranking university - Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), which is located in the Alps. I was fortunate to receive an offer for an Erasmus exchange program at MCI. However, as I can only count on my personal income to provide for this trip, the financial aspect is an obstacle between me and my goal.
I come from Belarus, a country of great people and history, yet rather limited educational opportunities. I knew that the education I wanted to obtain can be possible only if I get a scholarship at a foreign university. Ever since I got accepted to the Lyceum of the Belarusian State University, which provides the best high-school education in Belarus, I have been devoting all my efforts and energy to this goal. I was running from concert rehearsals to Math olympiads, from English tutoring lessons to exam preparations and training communication & teamwork by involving myself in international projects.
An acceptance letter from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga) has divided my life into "before" and "after". Based on the admission results, I became one of the 20 students who received the Swedish Government Grant, which covered the tuition and allowed me to move to Latvia and study economics there. Today, I have almost finished my second year of studies at SSE Riga. I’m happy to be studying in the field of my passion - Economics, to have been elected to the Student Association Board, to see the new doors that have opened for me here.
All those amazing changes have pushed me to work harder and strive for the better. Studying at MCI Innsbruck would allow me to further nourish this mentality.
I chose MCI Innsbruck as my aim because of its innovative approach and high level of teaching. MCI was ranked among TOP 25 IN U-Multirank by the European Commission and keeps scoring excellent at university comparison test by the International Center for Higher Education Development. Besides, it is situated in the region well-known for its well-developed financial system and stability. As an Economics student, I could not dream of a better environment to learn from. I’m eager to learn about the banking industry, the Austrian economy and career opportunities. This summer I will be taking German language courses, and studying in Austria will allow me to master one more language. I have chosen the subjects that would become a unique addition to the SSER education and enhance my erudition.
Since I started providing for myself independently from my parents, my only means of income were the Swedish Government grant and my own earnings. Coming from Belarus and studying in Latvia, I do not qualify for a bank loan in either of the countries. In case I do not succeed in gathering the necessary funds, I will have to cancel my exchange studies. This is why, I am turning to crowdfunding, and hoping that this campaign will help me to raise the necessary funds to pursue my exchange in Austria.
The length of the exchange semester is 4.5 months (20 weeks). I have applied for several scholarships and was fortunate to receive financial help from the Erasmus organization and SSE Riga's Leif Muten Society.
The estimated total amount needed for the semester is 5000 EUR. It includes:
- Accommodation: 1900 EUR (320 EUR * 5 months + 300 EUR administrative charges) -> the most vital expense I need to gather funds for.
- Travel expenses: approximately 300 EUR -> covered from the Erasmus scholarship
- Accommodation essentials: 200 EUR -> covered from the Erasmus scholarship
- Visa and document-related expenses: 200 EUR -> Covered by Leif Muten Society
- Food, living and transportation expenses: 2400 EUR (480 EUR * 5 months) -> covered by the Swedish Government Grant and the Leif Muten Society.
With these aids partly covering the cost, my goal is to gather 1900 EUR to provide for accommodation.
Paying back to the world
If I get fortunate to gather the necessary funds, I will make sure that I give back for this unique chance. In the past, I have already been engaging with non-profit initiatives as a volunteer and a member of environmental organizations in Belarus and participating in charitable movements.
When graduating from SSE Riga and becoming financially independent, one of my fundamental long-term goals is supporting youngsters from my home region via monetary funding and mentorship. Upon my return, I am eager to share my experience with other aspiring students and organize educational events in Latvia and Belarus. Coming from a transition economy country, I know the struggles of being a foreign student living independent of family, and I want to help students with a similar background to not be afraid of aiming higher.
As a quote from my favorite book (The Alchemist) goes, "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it". This is why I am putting all effort into building the life I want to have. This is why I am aiming for the highest peaks of the goals I have set.
I would be eternally thankful for the support that would make this unique learning experience – exchange semester abroad – possible.