1. To kick off the new year: Will 2021 be a year of good intentions or fear for academia?
2. The obligation to wear masks at schools and universities: necessary or harmful?
3. Corona: Quick solutions for students to overcome the financial dilemma
4. Universities‘ coronavirus state of emergency: digitize or surrender?
5. Potential implications of “Brexit“ for EU and UK students
Meet the three lucky recipients of the universitaet.com COVID-19 support grant
Being a student during the pandemic is difficult enough as it is, but when you add the pressure of financial struggles, maintaining good grades and supporting yourself becomes almost impossible. Universitaet.com provided the unique chance to receive a one-time COVID-19 support grant that does not have to be repaid, and today we meet the three lucky recipients!
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone and transformed our lives in one way or another. Students have been especially affected, as many of them have not only been forced to spend all day in front of the screen, watching online lectures, but have also lost their part-time jobs, through which they have supported themselves financially. Even if students do not have to pay tuition fees, textbooks, rent, living expenses, and health insurance, among other things, are still costly and difficult to cover if you have restricted income. That is precisely the reason why universitaet.com established the COVID-19 support grant. The grant was intended for students in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in the form of a non-repayable lump sum of 600 EUR. This gave the chance for three happy students to receive some financial help, which is much needed during the pandemic. In this article, the three fortunate recipients will be presented, with their stories and motivation for applying, along with the positive impact the grant has had in their lives.
Here they are: the happy recipients at a glance
After the deadline was met and candidatures were gathered, three students with the best applications were selected. The requirements were simple: study full-time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and explain why you need the financial support.
So, without further ado: meet Minh, Evelyn, and Christian
Minh: “The grant will serve as a safety net for me during the thesis writing process”
Minh is in his last year of studies and currently working on finishing his thesis. He decided to apply for the grant because he felt “anxious and trapped” in Germany. Originally from Vietnam, he was facing an extremely difficult choice: stay in Germany and try to complete his studies or take out a huge debt to return to his home country. Looking for a job was not an option for him, because he wanted to focus on his studies, and he felt that working would be a distraction and take away too much time.
He says that it was more than easy to apply for the grant: “It was shockingly simple. I did not have to present a heroic vision of saving the world or tell a desperate survival story. I was sincere, as if I were telling a friend about my study journey.”
In his motivational letter, he explained his situation and highlighted the difficulties he met as a student. To him, the grant presented itself as a big relief and an opportunity to gain some financial stability during these troubling times. “It is an extreme relief for my situation; working enough hours to make a livelihood would trap me in a never-ending cycle of survival”.
For the future, Minh plans to volunteer teaching at a Gesamtschule for children with immigration background – something that he now has the chance to do because the grant covers his living expenses. “Being stressed to find a job that earns money would force me to quit this”. While he continues work on his thesis, he will keep volunteering, because he is passionate about education. “Currently there is no school because of summer vacation, so I have some quiet time to plan ahead with my thesis. After summer vacation time, I will arrange my time so I can go back to doing volunteer teaching while writing my thesis.”
Minh has shared some words of advice and encouragement for other students who are going through a hard time: “Be genuine, honest, independent, and hopeful in your motivation letter. Remember why you started your study journey and focus. Everything else will work out for that purpose. Do not lose hope. Check the universitaet.com website: there are grants you can always apply for, vouchers, a student network, and more!”
Evelyn: “The visibility provided by the grant is an incentive to continue, to stand up for others and to develop personally.”
Evelyn, like many other students, lost her part-time job, and therefore her income, during the pandemic. She felt the financial consequences, so she found it essential to look for help. That is how she stumbled upon universitaet.com: “The portal especially noticed the financial and social hardship that arose among many students. I was inspired by the free offers - I think it is great that this diversity of the study landscape is valued and at the same time that they can be individualized. I find this mixture of study orientation, for example with the admission chances calculator, and the possibility to exchange information about all kinds of topics concerning studies to be unique and hope that as many (future) students take advantage of these opportunities.”
Evelyn is passionate about volunteering and ensuring that the current situation does not increase educational inequality. She is also an advocate for the best-possible health care for everyone. “In my daily life I try to broaden my view and to pay attention to the well-being of those around me. The decisive point may have been that I was impacted by the strong negative consequences of the pandemic and at the same time did my best to counteract them with my efforts. This also includes developing new ideas and using creative strategies to find solutions.”
Through the help of the grant, Evelyn is able to continue her studies and volunteer work. She has found it as motivation to continue what she does and recognition of her hard work. Because she was struggling financially, the grant gave her some kind of freedom, as well as a push in the direction towards academic fulfillment. “The financial injection gives me the feeling of freedom. With part of the funding, I would also like to provide the students I tutor with technical equipment, so that they can keep up with digitization even after the pandemic and thus advance with equal opportunities.” Her plans for the future also include continuing her Master’s degree and doing a semester abroad, hopefully in the USA.
When asked about what advice she has for fellow students, she says “Apply! Very many scholarship providers are not about grades or performance, but about you helping to make the world a better place for everyone. And there is no such thing as ‘too normal’ or ‘too average’. We are all very individual with our own stories. Dare to tell your very own story. Tell us about your motivation for your studies, about your commitment, about yourself and everything else that is part of your life. Personally, I would never have thought to be selected, but it worked out!”
Christian: “I feel confirmation that my social commitment is appreciated!”
Christian, who is studying law and is interested in the field of legal tech, dreams of having his own project, related to the application of Algorithms and AI into the law. He has met extreme difficulties in finding his balance, as he has been torn between searching for a part-time job and focusing on his time-consuming and demanding studies.
When he found out that he would receive the grant, Christian was surprised, as he did not expect to stand out among so many deserving candidates. However, he felt that it was his dedication to helping those less fortunate that made him stand out. “I mainly described my idea, how I would like to help as many poorer people as possible with a start-up, how the grant would make a big difference there, and finally, where I volunteer. Most importantly, I was just honest and tried to convey my dream instead of copying a text from the internet.” He is motivated for the future and committed to reaching his goals.
The most important advantage that Christian has received because of the grant is the dose of financial stability and security that enable him to work towards his dream career. “I will use the grant to fund my start-up idea. Therefore, the grant means no less to me than that I am getting a little closer to my dream.” His goals for the future include more volunteering work and helping others: “I would like to found a start-up during or after my studies, which aims to reduce legal fees. But most of all, I want to have fun and enjoy learning new things exactly in my field of interest!”
So, what advice does Christian have for other students?
“If we all help out others a little bit more, we can actually make a difference, with such a small commitment! Everyone has a few hours a month free and enough opportunities can be found immediately. The joy you can generate in people is just awesome! But then when you apply for a grant, you should most importantly be honest and go with honest intentions. I do not think anyone wants to read a run-of-the-mill text that does not reveal their own real motivation”
Universitaet.com congratulates the three extraordinary recipients and wishes them successful studies and professional journeys! The COVID-19 support grant has proven to help students during some of the most difficult periods of their lives, and providing them not only with financial support, but also with much-needed motivation to keep doing their incredible work in studying and volunteering. The three joyful recipients stand as examples of how hard work and dedication can go a long way in achieving your goals. But when times get hard, there is always a helping hand that is extended to you – even if it is through the internet.