Hello! My name is Soren Fuchs and I am a 2021-2022 Gilman Alumni Ambassador from Denver, CO. I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2017 with a degree in Business – Marketing & Real Estate and a Minor in Leadership Studies. As a Gilman Scholar, I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary in 2017 through the Corvinus University of Budapest.
“No bad days.”
This became a motto during my time abroad, as every day felt like an incredible adventure, filled with happiness, confusion, and uncomfortable. Moving abroad to a foreign country is a challenge that everyone needs to take. Walking through the crowded streets, taking in the fresh smell of baked bread on the class, watching the boats on the Danube River between classes, observing interesting strangers on the subway; these were all moments I will cherish forever, the little experiences that pique your senses.
On a cold Thursday night, one small moment like this changed the course of my time abroad and character forever…
A stranger approached me outside of a large church, asking in English how I was doing. This was already a rare interaction, as a Hungarian was never likely to come talk to me in English on the street. We began talking and I ended up inviting the man to a local pool hall that evening. The rest is history.
His name is Leo and he had moved from Brazil two days before I had met him in the church square. He had never been on an airplane and had decided on a whim to take his whole life across the world. Instantly, I was inspired by his character and positive outlook on life. He had taken such a bold risk and uprooted his entire life in hopes of finding a job within 3 months of the tourist visa period.
Leo and I ended up becoming incredible friends during the rest of my time in Budapest. He joined in on events or dinners I would attend and we got to know each other very well. One evening, I started saying the phrase, No Bad Days. This forever became a motto for both of us to live by and pass on to others. While bad days are inevitable, ones mindset towards the day and overall outlook on life is what keeps us pushing through.
Fast forward 5 years, Leo and I have had the opportunity to meet up multiple times in different countries around Europe. I greatly look forward to the day in which I get to visit travel with him to Brazil. Each time we meet, it doesn’t feel like we have ever left. Leo is still in Budapest following his dream of building a career. I last saw him in 2020, when we had a wonderful time in the city; getting to meet his friends, enjoy delicious Hungarian cuisine, and taking in the beautiful architecture and nature in the city.
Experiences like these, where meeting a random stranger on the street and maintaining a great friendship years after, do not happen as often at home when we are in our comfort zones. It is the ability to travel and find the uncomfortability that pushes interactions like these. If there is ever a reason to live in another country, one big factor is the friends you will meet and the relationships you develop will last a lifetime. This experience would never have been possible for me without the Gilman Scholarship and I am honored to have had the opportunity to live in such a magical city and have no bad days.