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06.04.2010
15:00

Scholarship Applications

One of the most daunting obstacles when studying is being unfinanced. One of the most stressful processes can be associated with the process of trying to get funding. Scholarships are definitely the first port of call, but they require a lot of effort. Alongside the effort required to put a potentially successful scholarship application together is the growing self-doubt of whether or not you are good enough to apply for the scholarship. One must put all doubts aside and take on the challenge of putting a competitive scholarship application together.

First word of advice: read the scholarship application criteria and requirements carefully. Sorry, I know that sounds like obvious advice and also the kind that you find in every “Exam Tips” booklet, but it really is true. Next tick off all the requirements and criteria that you meet, provided you meet the main leading criteria and the majority of the other sub-criteria, then put your application together. For as the famous saying goes “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Now do not begin at this stage trying to rationalize yourself out of doing all the work of putting a scholarship application together by thinking up common excuses like, “Thousands of people are going to apply for this scholarship that are better than me,” or “I am afraid of interviews,” or “I am no beggar”. As at the end of the day many people are not going to apply for precisely the same thought-up excuses. Also, scholarships are not given to undeserving people, hence you will not fall into the last category of excuse mentioned. To be honest once you have put one scholarship application together the other applications that follow are easier.

My second and last word of advice: pay particular attention to detail in your application, as even small errors will immediately put your application at a disadvantage. And lastly on a similar note, include all relevant documents that could assist your application. In other words, additional documents and certificates that are relevant in supporting your application should be included. The key word here is relevant, as applications with inappropriate supporting documentation are weakened considerably.

In 2009 I put together five scholarship applications, which was an extremely time consuming and taxing process, but turned out to be worthwhile. After a few grueling interviews I was successful with two of the five scholarships applications, namely the eXebs Citi Foundation Scholarship and eXebs Friedrich J. Schoening International Scholarship supported by DAAD. In addition I managed to obtain admittance to the eXebs Fellowship which allowed me to apply for the eXebs Bildungsfonds where my application was also successful.

So apply, apply and keep on applying is the advice I can give. Yes it is an effort, but if you meet the criteria of the scholarship or come extremely close to the criteria for the scholarship, then apply. Leave taking a bank loan as your last resort to funding your studies.

01.04.2010
15:00

Life in the Rheingau

I come from a small city in the South of India called Kottayam. It is quite different than Oestrich-Winkel. Kottayam is famous for its back waters and rubber tree plantations. Kottayam is centrally located in Kerala state, which is known for its natural beauty and tourism. It is often mentioned as the ‘God’s own Country’. If you haven’t been to the places there, make it a point to visit at least once.

The first difference between Oestrich-Winkel and Kottayam is the wine and the vineyards. We don’t have vineyards in South India. Another difference is the public transportation. We have plenty of public transportation in Kottayam but in Oestrich-Winkel, it is not the case. It is really difficult to live in Oestrich-Winkel if you don’t have a car or at least a bike. Size wise, Kottayam is still bigger and has more shops and businesses around than Oestrich-Winkel, though the larger cities of Wiesbaden and Mainz, not to forget Frankfurt are nearby and have lots of shops, entertainment, and businesses.

The best thing about living in the Rheingau region is the atmosphere it offers. It is a calm and quiet place, an ideal place to study. Another thing I love about the Rheingau is its proximity to the river Rhine. The river is just a two minute walk from where I stay. There are walking and jogging trails as well as benches right next to the river banks. My most favourite thing about being in the area is being surrounded by vineyards. Where else can I enjoy a nice sip of Rheingau Riesling?

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