How Matej pursued his dream about university studies abroad.

Just like many other high school students, Matej had a dream of studying at a university abroad one day. He wanted to experience a different kind of learning, to live on his own, and to become as good as possible in his field.

“I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to study, I just knew that I would like to study abroad one day. When I heard about the LEAF Academy, it seemed to be an interesting option for me – a school that would prepare me well for my future path.”

Initially, both Matej and his parents were hesitant about LEAF Academy, but after Matej’s acceptance to the 2-year diploma program and a meeting with the principal, Matej Sapák, they started seeing LEAF Academy as a great option.

They realized that by the beginning of September, Matej would have to leave his old schoolmates, friends, and family, and start over in another city. “My parents were quite upset when we discussed it, especially because I’m an only child. But they understood me well and wanted me to take this opportunity. I’m very lucky to have such supportive parents.”

While making the LEAF Academy his new home, Matej chose various co-curriculars besides his daily studies. He had previous experience with a debate club, so he decided to continue working on his debating skills. The team’s hard work and patience paid off when they were named the World Champions, winning the IPPF debating competition in New York last year.

“Much of our time and effort went into the competition over the span of 7 months, so getting the chance to travel to New York and participate in the final debates was a satisfying experience in and of itself. Of course, winning was a great cherry on top. Not only was it an amazing moment, but the award has also opened many doors for the team members.”

On his voyage of self-discovery, Matej took as many opportunities as possible to attend and volunteer at various events and activities, such as the FutureNow conference and an internship at the Slovak President´s office. Matej is also part of the LEAF Academy News team which prepares and presents news for the whole school at every Monday Assembly, sharing updates about politics, economics, the environment, culture, weather etc.

Matej received one of the highest honors given at a boarding school when he was chosen to be a Resident Assistant for his final year. “I was elected to be a Residential Assistant in the hall where I live for this year. My responsibility is to organize weekly hall meetings where the entire hall community comes together to discuss and share. The Residential Assistants also work to solve any problems that could arise in the Residence and to represent students in discussions with Staffulty members. I was happy to take this challenge to pay back what I have received from this great and friendly community.”

Matej is now a Year 4 student, and with that come AP tests, university applications and other responsibilities the Year 4 students need to fulfill to make their dreams come true.

Students choose from 15 various AP courses according to their preferences and future plans. As well as the AP courses, students who come for the 2-year program also attend LEAF Academy classes – Entrepreneurial Leadership, Mathematical Modelling and Statistics, Character Seminar, and Home Language and Current Affairs.

Matej picked a diverse combination of AP classes spanning both STEM and humanities, which prepared him for his pursuit of Economics at university. AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics gave him an introduction to his future field of study, while AP Government and Politics with AP History gave him a broader context for understanding modern society. Matej improved his quantitative skills by taking AP courses in Calculus, Statistics, and Physics.

“Academics at LEAF Academy are challenging, of course, but also very enriching. I don’t do my homework because I have to, but because I want to understand the subject. The teachers strive to make classes exciting rather than forcing students to cram a list of facts, so we often discuss the connections between the curriculum and the real world or current affairs.”

Matej’s resolution has brought him great news when he received an offer from two of the world’s best universities – Harvard and Oxford. We are inspired by his resilience and modest approach and wish him the best of luck at university!

Be brave and follow your dream too. If you are a student at an elementary school, you can join our 4-year program. If you are already in high school, you can still join our 2-year diploma program. Applications are available until February 28th.

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