Last June, a campaign was launched on the Internet to raise funds for a Harvard study of a young Kyrgyz woman, Aizada Marat-kyzy. The girl needed to collect $ 20 thousand. Half of this amount - $ 10 - was allocated from his fund by President Almazbek Atambayev, which caused a wave of discontent.
A vigorous discussion has begun in social networks that this money could have been found to be more useful, says Evening Bishkek.
Despite the conviction, Aizada Marat-kyzy did not stop fundraising and, having collected the amount necessary to pay for her studies, left for the United States. She is currently studying for a master's degree at Harvard University. In her interview to Azattyk, the Kyrgyz woman spoke about her studies, how she entered a prestigious university, and shared “useful advice”.
- How did the first six months of study at Harvard University go? Have your expectations been met?
- Six months passed quickly. There are strong teachers, professors, classes are interesting. When we first arrived, we were told that the classes would be conducted using the Socratic method. Asked not to be surprised. According to the method, the teacher speaks only 10% of the class time, the rest is performed by students. Many homework assignments are given, but students always come prepared. We analyze and discuss homework together. In Kyrgyzstan, the teacher tells the topic, tomorrow the student must repeat everything. There is no such thing here.
In the first semester, classes were held on the topics "Professional ethics of a lawyer" and "Constitutional law". In America, a lot of attention is paid to the professional ethics of lawyers. They teach how to talk with clients, analyze, for example, situations when the lawyer himself violated the laws and what needs to be done in this case.
I think if more attention was paid to the ethics of lawyers in Kyrgyzstan, and the subjects were taught by experienced professors, it would be very good. In general, I receive the necessary knowledge for each subject studied. All of my classmates are educated people with a broad outlook. For example, a student from Egypt worked for seven years in Cairo as a prosecutor, participated in the court hearings of Mubarak (Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt in 1981–2011 - Azattyk's note). The group also includes guys who have worked as prosecutors in international courts in Seoul, Singapore, Europe for several years. I learned a lot from them too. I can say that the first semester was very interesting.
- On your page on social networks, you write that you listened to a lecture by a famous person. Which one impressed you the most?
- Many famous people come to us to lecture. I was most impressed by US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and former Washington State Governor Christian Greuar. Elena Kagan herself graduated from Harvard. Later she returned to her native university and became the first female dean of the Faculty of Law. She carried out a lot of reforms while working at the university. Both shared their secrets and noted that women in the United States also find it difficult to achieve great success. They also noted that if you yourself have achieved success, you need to provide support to others.
- Did you know in advance that studying at Harvard would not be easy? What other difficulties do you have to face?
- At first it was difficult to keep up with everything, to properly allocate your time. The requirements are high here. All day you need to prepare in the library and strictly observe the academic discipline. Now I'm used to it. I find time to sleep, prepare for classes, various cultural events, outside of classes I attend various courses. It gets easier. Although at first it was not difficult, because I also worked a lot in Kyrgyzstan. Of course, the hardest part was in the exams.
- Many Kyrgyzstanis want to study abroad. Probably, many have turned to you for advice on how to enter a foreign university?
- There are many from Kyrgyzstan. They write: we are proud of you, we also want to study abroad. The answer is that they try harder, that they apply: they say, than I can, I will help. But that's where it ends. Perhaps when they read about me, people get motivated, which then disappears. Four wrote that they really wanted to do it. I looked at their essays, advised something, tried to help in filling out the documents. All four were admitted. I try to answer everyone who writes to me.
They wrote to me more from Kazakhstan, sent their essays. What I noticed is that the general training of Kazakhstanis is higher than that of Kyrgyzstanis. I hope that this year three or four will enter and study. Another girl from Kyrgyzstan named Meerim entered Harvard Business School. She graduated from Columbia University. It would be great if more Kyrgyz people studied at Harvard University. Sometimes I look at how many people from other countries study here, and I regret that it is only me from Kyrgyzstan. It seems to me that the more our compatriots study at Harvard, the better it will be for Kyrgyzstan. After graduation, I am thinking of doing a little work in the USA. Not only in theory, but also in practice to consolidate your knowledge. I will definitely return to Kyrgyzstan. They give me the opportunity to do something for my country. Sometimes we see other compatriots who study in the United States. They all say that they will definitely return to Kyrgyzstan.
- A few tips for those wishing to enter Harvard University. What are the rules for where to start preparing?
- You need to know English. After that, you need to decide which field you want to become: law, business, medicine or another area. The university website lists all the admission requirements. Everything that is indicated there must be learned as a multiplication table and executed.
In addition to Harvard, Kyrgyzstanis study at Massachusetts Technological and Columbia Universities. If you ask for help, everyone is ready to help. Most importantly, do not be shy. Perhaps some have weak English, despite this, you need to try. A man can do anything. For six months or a year, you can prepare and do. Don't be afraid, other Kyrgyz people succeeded, you will succeed too. You need to strive and pursue your dreams.