As we celebrate nearly 15 years of helping students reach their dreams, we’ve chosen nine applicants to win the Bakala Foundation Scholarship. These students will fulfill their dreams of studying at a top international university, attending schools in Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and France. The new scholars will explore a diverse range of subjects from natural sciences and medicine to biomedical engineering, economics, political studies, mathematics with statistics, modern literature, landscape architecture, and dulcimer playing.
This year, 164 applicants applied for the scholarship and underwent a three-round selection process. The final round of interviews with an expert committee transpired on 6-7 June 2023 at the Foundation’s Prague headquarters. A total of 20 finalists were invited to attend and had the opportunity to introduce themselves in person and talk about their fields of study and their motivation to study abroad during a 20-minute interview.
Every year, Michaela Bakala, the chairwoman of the Bakala Foundation’s board of trustees, sits on the panel and encourages all the finalists. During her visit this year, she noted, “It’s great to see that today’s students are not afraid to go their own way. We are thrilled to see their courage and hard work. They know how to choose and possibly change schools to help them fulfill their dreams. We also see that young people are open to self-education, supplementing their knowledge with their individual activities and not expecting school to teach them everything.”
This year’s closing ceremony took place at the Kaiserstein Palace, where the finalists, guests, and other Bakala Foundation scholars and alums gathered to toast the success of the Czech students. The Foundation’s founder, Zdenek Bakala, encouraged them: “I know from my own experience that studying at a top university shapes talent and inspires further development and career. I can see it in the stories of our graduates. They come back with great knowledge and international contacts. They combine healthy ambition with humility. I believe, therefore, that thanks to the insight you gain, you will return not only ready to succeed professionally in your field, but also determined to engage in your community and help improve the world around you. Best of luck to you; we’re rooting for you!”
Most of the new scholarship holders, five in total, will be heading to the UK. Two of the five have chosen the University of Cambridge, while the others are heading to Imperial College London, the University of Manchester, and the University of Warwick. Two students will head to the United States, where they have chosen Berklee College of Music and the University of California at Berkeley. Other countries and schools where this year’s scholarship recipients will travel are Heidelberg University in Germany and Sciences Po University in France.
With the new selections, the Bakala Foundation’s pool of supported students will grow to an impressive 205 scholarship recipients by September 2023. The Foundation looks forward to welcoming and supporting more youth next year!