Depending on who you ask, being an IE Foundation Fellow can have a number of different meanings.
In the weeks leading up to receiving my acceptance letter from IE, I was very concerned about if I would actually be able to go, regardless of the Committee’s decision. I didn’t expect to get a high scholarship, let alone become a Foundation Fellow. Prior to my interview, I didn’t know much about the High Potential Scholarship or the Fellowship I’d end up being part of, and just exactly what this could mean for my future.
But one of the paragraphs that I received in my acceptance letter has for the past year and a half driven me to strive for excellence, to make meaningful connections and friendships; to truly be part of the Foundation.
“We would like to inform you that you have been pre-selected for the IE Foundation Fellows Program (…). Our IE Foundation Fellows, a select group of our most talented students, are given the opportunity to engage in a series of exclusive initiatives as students and designated as key impact ambassadors for the institution. Congratulations!”
For my 18-year old self, that email wasn’t only a promise of financial support, but of recognised potential. My life had started to change in ways I couldn’t have possibly imagined previously, inextricably separating me from the life I would’ve led had I returned to my home country after high school, had I applied to other universities -in sum, had I received a different email.
Initially through that paragraph (received only by 12% of scholarship recipients), and then through a number of events and experiences offered throughout the year, the Foundation provides an unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional growth, for students that otherwise may not have been able to attend IE. These first 173, and now over 500 members of the Fellowship share the common ground of promise and excellence, not only academic but also personal and professional.
But the truth is, being a Fellow doesn’t mean — or doesn’t have to mean — simply adding a fancy title to your CV. In fact, in its effort to highlight the most accomplished students to empower them as leaders of tomorrow, the Foundation has built a true community of changemakers within the University.
So for me, being a Foundation Fellow means opportunity, friendship, and meaningful connection. It means becoming a positive presence within the University and beyond. It has to do with mentoring, building memories and trust, and the humanities.
I always dreamt of attending a top university, and the IE Foundation has granted me that opportunity like it has for thousands of other students. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would someday become a Fellow, continuing to meet brilliant, caring, inspiring and passionate people every day. And even after graduation, I’m certain that I will still find myself part of the true community of changemakers that is the IE Foundation Fellows Programme.
All pictures courtesy of IE Foundation