On Friday I got some important news: I have been accepted onto the International Space University’s Space Studies Programme. This is a prestigious and highly sought-after opportunity and I’m excited to be given the opportunity to go. SSP is a two-month long, multidisciplinary, graduate-level professional development program with a highly multinational community of students, alumni and staff. It is also a unique opportunity to network with the best and the brightest of the global space industry. As I explained in my last blog post, I have been keenly looking for a way to re-connect with the space industry and I can’t think of a better way to do so than this.
There are a few obstacles I need to overcome first though: most importantly, I’ve been offered a European Space Agency scholarship covering most of the cost of attending and my Dad has offered to chip in, but I still need to find €5,000 to cover the fees (about GB£4,250 at current exchange rates). My family background is not one with much surplus income and I’m uncertain if they will be able to help further, so I need to find that from elsewhere. Unfortunately, the difficulties I’ve been having since graduation mean that there’s little I can contribute personally. I’m unsure of the deadline for this but the course starts on 24th June so I doubt I have long.
I therefore need some advice. Where can I go to find grants or loans that might help to close this gap? I don’t expect to get it all in one go, but any contribution would be very welcome. If there’s anything I can do in return I’m interested; I have my blog as an example of my writing ability, and I had wanted to resume writing it, if only I had something to blog about. This is exactly that something, and thanks to my background with Aspergers I can take a unique angle on it.
In the long run I want to be able to stand on my own two feet financially but for this opportunity I need to act fast. As someone with Asperger syndrome, having been given very low expectations of what I would go on to achieve, getting accepted into ISU is an extraordinary achievement. It has dispelled a lot of the self-doubt that has been creeping in over recent months and I’m starting to realise that I’ve got capabilities that shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste. ESA is also prepared to bet big on me. This alone is already something to be proud of but it would be a shame to have to miss out on it because of financial problems.