Woman of valor
Nargiza is an ethnic Uzbek and was born in a small village in the south of Kyrgyzstan, close to the city of Osh. She was always at the top of her class. She realised that the education level and living standards in her village were incomparable to those in Bishkek. At best, she would have studied at Osh State University had she stayed behind.
The opportunity Nargiza longed for arrived when she went to study in the US for a year through FLEX student exchange program. However, it was by no means an easy ride. While in the US she realized that she was not quite “the best”. She had difficulties communicating with others due to a language barrier, which damaged her self esteem. Once back in Kyrgyzstan she tried her best to improve herself and decided to try entering AUCA. Her parents were rather skeptical about her chances to gain entry into such a highly competitive institution. But Nargiza was determined to give it a try not to have any regrets later. She was utterly delighted when she passed the entry exams and attained a scholarship that was reasonable enough for her and her family. Nikolai Shulgin, Dean of Student Affairs, took note of her talents and persuaded her to join in activities such as the Drama Club. Nargiza was very active in her freshman and sophomore years and served on the Student Senate and participated in many fundraisers for orphanages through the FLEX Alumni Office.
Nargiza is now viewed as somewhat of an icon in her small village which has only three others who visited the US. In the neighboring city of Osh she has come to be known as “the smart girl who speaks excellent English.” She hopes to travel more in search of a place that she could call “home”.
Nargiza now realizes that law, although being her major, is not her only focus. She wants to continue helping people and thus she hopes to obtain a Masters degree in law with a focus on Human Rights. Nargiza would like to give back to her community. She hopes to start a foundation that will work to promote gender rights, as in the south of Kyrgyzstan it is a dire issue that needs to be addressed.
When asked about how her life could have been differed if she never entered AUCA or visited the US, Nargiza replied that she would have been an ordinary girl with an ordinary life and probably married already – “I don’t have rich parents; I have to achieve everything on my own.”