In the small town of Pápa, Hungary, a little more than 100 miles west of Budapest, ASU Online student Chance Hope balances classwork with his role as a Boeing aircraft mechanic. The company’s contract with NATO enables expatriates from the United States to train former Hungarian military soldiers on how to handle aircraft maintenance issues, slowly transitioning more of the work into the locals’ capable hands.
Most weeks, the job requires 40 working hours or more, including last-minute business trips. But when Chance isn’t working on planes, he’s working on papers, flying toward an online engineering degree.
"It’s very difficult, but I get a lot of support from my wife,” he explains, adding that she was the one who found the ASU Online program and encouraged him to enroll. “My job is supportive, too, putting me through school and allowing me to do coursework when I have downtime. The combination is what allows me to do this.”
Chance hopes his degree will help build on his previous experience with aircraft and electronics, with the ultimate goal of getting involved with flight tests for Boeing’s newest unmanned aerial vehicles. Thus far, he has enjoyed courses like physics, which teaches the theory behind how things work, and calculus — though he admits the 7.5-week course format can be challenging.
“It’s like drinking from a fire hose at times with how fast it moves,” he shares. “But I'll soon be taking an electronics class and had to order a lot of stuff for it, and as I opened all of the packages and saw the circuits, parts and boards, I thought about how I can’t wait to take the class and actually use everything."
Fostering a strong connection with ASU can be difficult with the eight-hour time difference between Pápa and Tempe, but Chance has found a way to bridge the 6,000-plus miles through the email availability of his Success Coach, as well as ASU library resources.
"If you have a good support network and the drive to do it, then if you don’t try you’ll always wonder if you should have,” he says. “You have to put in a lot of time and effort and sacrifice a lot of stuff, but even if you do it and fail, at least you’ll know you’ve tried and you won’t wonder about it forever."
And when the going gets tough, it doesn’t hurt to have his wife’s family nearby, ready to refuel him with a plate of Hungarian goulash before he takes off once again.
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