On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, interviews at the Student Hub in Malá Strana saw twenty-two students advanced to the final round of this year’s Scholarship Program selection process. The year 2021 marks the twelfth year of the Bakala Foundation’s Scholarship program. Some students are already studying abroad at their chosen university, seeking support to continue their studies. Some have already received their acceptance letters and will soon go abroad, while others are still applying to their dream university. The decisions of this year’s expert jury afford unique opportunities for the 12 selected students.
“The past year has shown us how vulnerable our world is. As humanity, we face a number of yet undescribed challenges. Only a well-educated nation has a chance to take on these new tasks and continue to progress out of the crisis. If Czechia is to succeed, it needs the best experts educated in the fields that are currently at the forefront,” said Zdenek Bakala. Zdenek and his wife Michaela were in attendance to greet and show support this year’s candidates during the interviews.
We are already seeing new trends in this year’s statistics. The British universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and UCL have traditionally been student favorites. However, this year, the students’ choices also reflected their concern over Brexit and the subsequent increase in tuition fees. As a result, scholarship applicants are looking now more than ever for new opportunities at other high-quality European universities. In addition to the United Kingdom, 3 finalists are applying for study support in the Netherlands, 2 in Switzerland, 1 in Belgium, and 1 in the USA this year.
As of September 2021, the number of students supported by the Bakala Foundation will grow to 183 students. One hundred and twenty-four of them have already completed their studies. Some have continued with postgraduate studies. Others have switched to research or progressed to positions in business, public administration, education, or other areas. “Czech students are renowned for of being great hard workers at foreign universities. They return back home to Czechia with education, experience, and international contacts; ready to be engaged in their neighborhood, often in the non-profit sector,” said Michaela Bakala. Michaela serves as the Board of Trustees Chair at the Bakala Foundation and participates in student interviews every year.