Saliya Khurova: “ I recommend applying to BGIA as you get to experience the real life of a New Yorker ”

Saliya Khurova: “ I recommend applying to BGIA as you get to experience the real life of a New Yorker ”

January 31, 2023



Saliya Khurova is a junior student in the Journalism and Mass Communications department, in this interview she shares her experience living, interning, and studying in 

New York City through the BGIA program.

- I am a junior in the Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) department. 

During my two years at AUCA, I had a very active and exciting student life. In my first year, I studied business and was vice president of the Enactus club. In the following year, I dedicated myself to civic engagement and took leadership in coordinating the Basketball for All project and the FLEX Volunteering club.  At the end of my first year, I changed my major to Journalism.  

My life at AUCA was always full of projects, meetings, conferences, and events. Looking back, coming to JMC was the best decision. I feel happy pursuing my major, which includes learning how to analyze and write news, creating different projects such as podcasts and short videos, conducting interviews, and speaking up about things that concern me through media. I finally found a place where I belong. Moreover, I received a lot of support from professors and peers when applying to the Bard Globalization and International Affairs (BGIA) exchange program. This family atmosphere and cohesion are reasons why I love JMC.  

As mentioned earlier, I applied to BGIA last year, was accepted, and spent the fall semester in New York. I learned about this program from my friend Aidin who also was a BGIA student. The program offers a great opportunity to live in New York, study international relations, and at the same time intern in one of the local organizations. I recommend applying to BGIA, as you get to experience the real life of a New Yorker. Moreover, applying is quite straightforward - you just need to write a good essay and complete an application form.


However, be ready for the fact that New York is the most expensive city in the world. I worked the whole summer in one of the local media companies in Bishkek, was part of the "Interruptrr", a newspaper at AUCA founded by Elmira Bayrasli, director of BGIA, and still had to manage my expenses to live in the Big Apple. Thanks to my internship organization, Welcome to Chinatown, I received a monthly stipend, which is rare for BGIA (the internship does not cover salaries). For the whole semester, my supervisors were very supportive and understanding to all interns. They always tried to organize fun events for us to remember, such as NBA games and tours around Chinatown. Surprisingly, my work there was directly connected to my major. I operated as a marketing and media specialist by creating different types of content for social media pages, helping with organizations, and conducting research. I was part of the projects where we helped Uighur families and owners of small businesses who lost their income because of the pandemic. As a result of my internship, I found out more about my culture, as it’s very similar to Chinese, met many interesting people in Chinatown, and boosted my journalism and communication skills.  

As for my New York life, I walked a lot, was on the subway, and ate a lot. I remember how nice it was to go from the subway to the BGIA office in Time Square surrounded by colorful buildings, eye-catching ads about the new season of Kardashians or “tourist traps,” small groups of people who dance or present some tricks for money. I loved walking on 5th Avenue, going to museums and the opera with my friends, shopping in Sephora, and making new connections with people from different parts of the world. I wanted to get the most from my life in New York, so I set a goal to watch a Broadway show, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and go to a concert. In the end, I realized that I went to Broadway three times, was at a concert twice (saw Sam Smith, Charlie Puth, Jonas Brothers, Metallica, Ava Max, Khalid, and Mariah Carey), went to MOMA, and the MET, where I saw Picasso, Van Gogh, and Dali’s arts in real life. Baseball, football, American football, and basketball games happened to appear on my checklist, too. I got to experience the real stadium vibe and cheer like a true fan. Looking back, I feel happy that I over-fulfilled my goals.

As for my academic life, I took three classes: Core Seminar, Gender equality, and Writing on International Affairs. The last one was my favorite. Our professor was a New York Times journalist, and she made me love writing again. I loved writing in my childhood, but getting older, I lost that drive and spark. Thanks to professor Susan, I started to write about what I love, what concerns me, and what I can’t say out loud. With her, we read a lot of different pieces, from Op-eds to historical memoirs, discussed in class, and listened to other opinions, which in the end, made me look at things from different perspectives.

I will always encourage my friends and all AUCA students to apply for BGIA or any other exchange programs as they force us to see a new world, new cultures, and new people, which is essential for character development. A person who sees and hears a lot can do a lot. 

My advice for everyone who wants to apply for an exchange is to be prepared for different kinds of challenges but not be afraid of them. Everything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 


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