Four years ago Ivan Nikolovski (POLS ’17) finished his MA, left Budapest and returned home to North Macedonia and his work as a researcher.
But his CEU experience didn’t end there.
Soon, he was volunteering with his local Alumni Chapter in Skopje. By 2018, he was its leader. Then the Covid pandemic hit. Alarmed by its impact on CEU students, he volunteered for the university’s first-ever Thesis Buddies program.
As he reprises that role this year, we asked him what motivates him to give back to the community and help students - people whom, in many cases, he’s never met before.
Why did you join the Thesis Buddies program?
I vividly remember my time as a CEU student - and the challenges I and many others faced during thesis-writing. While the University, its staff and supervisors are devoted to students during this process, additional help and opinions are always welcome and helpful - especially during the creative crises of thesis writing.
These challenges aren’t necessarily related to the academic strength of one’s thesis, either. They can also be emotional, financial. Having had that experience, I wanted to provide some help, a second opinion, or just be there for my student buddy.
This is especially crucial now. We all share the same unprecedented social, psychological and economical burdens of the pandemic, which changed our lives in the blink of an eye.
What’s the value of working with students in this situation?
The feeling that you’re able to help someone that you might not even meet in person in times of physical and social distancing is more than empowering. It sends a strong message that the global and diverse CEU community comes together (even if only virtually) in spite of the borders being closed, and does not abandon its greatest asset – its students.
Would you encourage other alumni to volunteer to do likewise? What would you tell them?
Definitely yes. I would just tell them not to forget their time as students and add one extra pillar to the excellent work they have been doing all around the world.
You’re a long-time and active alumni chapter leader/volunteer. What motivates you?
CEU provided me with many academic and professional opportunities during my studies, as well as after I graduated. It opened many doors and horizons, and made an immense contribution to my personal growth. Therefore, I feel called to serve and cherish the community I am a proud member of.
What do you feel the value of volunteering is?
In this materialistic world, doing something for free just because you love it or out of belief, ideals, and convictions is something that should be applauded. It connects us more with our inner selves and makes us more humane.
Thank you, Ivan!