Send Martin to Oxford
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Martin has been dreaming of getting a master's in English at Oxford. He believes that with such an education, he could change the way his community learns the language and help students get a better future. However, he needs the funds. Could you help him?

Hi! My name is Martin Kolenič and I come from Slovakia, a relatively young country in what we call Central Europe, though most of the world knows it as the former Eastern Bloc. On the photo, I am the guy in the middle (and those two are "my kids" - I am their animator at a youth club). 

I come from a family of teachers, so I ended up teaching part-time (but full-passion) during my university studies here in Slovakia. Just a couple of days ago, I finished the last exam in my undergrad studies and I should get my bachelor diploma from English and Italian in a couple of weeks. Both the things I mentioned, languages and teaching, are related to my dream and a major life goal I'd like to tell you more about.

I am a former IB student, so I knew that there is a chance to study abroad and I wanted to study in the United Kingdom; in particular, I wanted to get to Oxford. However, things were not that easy back then.

I knew I need to study more before applying for a degree there, so my first attempt to apply was, simply put, disastrous. However, I matured a bit in the meantime and studied the language more deeply too, so I certainly feel more ready to apply now than I did before. And since I've finished my bachelor studies in Slovakia, I could go and pursue a master's degree in the United Kingdom. There's one more thing, though, that impeded my decision-making back then.

Back in 2011 - besides the disaster my Oxford application turned out to be - I received a couple of other universities in the UK. However, at a certain point, I realized that I probably won't be able to study there either. The problem was money, and the situation has not changed very much since then.

I went through a number of options and ultimately I found out that things are not as easy as they seemed at first. I have been trying to save the money both from my salary and from what my parents give me, but I won't be able to save enough for all the expenses by myself anytime soon, since there is my prematurely-born brother who needs a bit of help too. Then there are scholarships, but one cannot take these for granted either as the number of them is quite limited and the overwhelming majority of them does not quite fit my cause. In the end, there are student loans, but there is a catch either in the form of interest rates, or in the form of usage restrictions since the state offers to help, but only if one studies in Slovakia. That said, I'm still hopeful that I will manage to have a miracle happen.

Someone might ask: "Boy, and why on earth do you need to study in the UK?" and they would be asking legitimately. Well, the answer is somewhat complicated. Besides the fact that it's clear that Slovak universities are far behind the British ones in terms of quality (though there are small islands of positive deviation in the sea of greyness), the mindset is the thing I am looking for.

Having studied at IB, I know how enriching it can be to study in an environment open to critical thinking, helpful in cultivating one's knowledge and welcoming in atmosphere. After the much different (and more depressing) experience, I had in Slovakia, the "IB mindset" is something I would like to experience again, not just for my own pleasure but also for getting the know-how so that I can try to do this for others in my home country.

There is an organisation that aims to help young people to get the best education available in Slovakia so that they can go abroad, get the skills, knowledge and mindset, come back home and change the community. I would like to help them accomplish this mission by joining their team in a long-term project that should start by 2018. For that, however, I need to do the thing they want to help people with. I need to become a better myself. And I am quite certain that I can reach the goal at Oxford, so I am praying that my dream might come true.

Finally, I want to ask you for help. Studying at Oxford is not cheap at all and, as I said, I won't be able to cover all the costs by myself. From €24000 (the sum of tuition fees and living costs), I can manage to save approximately €4500 per year. I am planning to apply as soon as I get the funds to cover the expenses, so if you help me reach my goal, you will actually save years of my life and get me ready for the big project that could possibly change not only my own life, but lives of many young people in my country.

Thank you for reading my story, and for any support. Even if you, for one reason or another, cannot donate but find my story worthwhile, you can certainly help me by sharing it.

Best,

Martin

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