Webster Tashkent Students Complete First Study Abroad Term
January 06, 2022
Usually, the completion of a student’s first semester in the Study Abroad program is a big personal milestone, a moment to look back and realize how much they have grown and changed over the course of just a few months. However, in the cases of Laylo Khaydarkulova (above left), Khulkar Otajonova (above right) and Azizbek Kholmatov, it is also a significant achievement for Webster Tashkent, as these were the first students in their home campus’ history to have participated in Study Abroad.
As one of the newer Webster campuses, Tashkent has faced some challenges in getting students abroad. Right after the official opening in Fall 2019, the pandemic struck, leaving the option of inbound and outbound exchanges up in the air. Throughout 2020, with the first and then second waves, it seemed like students from Uzbekistan may never have a chance to visit other campuses. As the world learned to cope with the conditions of COVID-19, though, the situation finally started to look up.
I was drawn to Austria by its rich culture and unique historical legacy. Webster Vienna provides students with the combination of culture, education and research environment, required for overall personality development.”
Thanks to the efforts of study abroad officers and other staff in Tashkent, three juniors were able to successfully fly out in Fall 2021. Khaydarkulova and Otajonova made their way to Geneva, while Kholmatov went to Vienna.
Their reasons to go to other campuses varied. As an International Relations major, Otajonova explained, “studying in such an environment would be very beneficial.”
Khaydarkulova cited other reasons. “The country is peaceful with wonderful views, luxury lifestyles, and a responsible population,” she said.
Of his choice to study in Vienna, Holmatov said, “I was drawn to Austria by its rich culture and unique historical legacy. Webster Vienna provides students with the combination of culture, education and research environment, required for overall personality development.”
The students reported that going to Geneva and Vienna allowed them opportunities that would be difficult to access back at home. Holmatov explained, “Attending the prestigious institution gave me an opportunity to receive high-level education under the guidance of prominent professors and excellent teachers.”
Of course, Study Abroad is equally about the out-of-classroom experiences as it is about academics. In one example, Otajonova shared, “Surprisingly my best moment was volunteering at the 26th International Humanitarian and Security Conference with the support of the ICRC, UNHCR, and the High Patronage of the Government of the Canton of Geneva.”
Student life and culture [in Geneva are] different, but it is always nice to try something new."
As first-time study abroad students, the juniors had to overcome challenges but ultimately saw them as drivers for growth.
Khaydarkulova recalled that “student life and culture [in Geneva are] different, but it is always nice to try something new. It might be difficult to settle in the early stages upon arrival, but once you find your feet, everything [is] better.”
Holmatov also answered that living abroad is a “great responsibility and challenge to prove yourself," as students develop life skills and raise capacity.
Coming out of their first semester abroad, the students shared their most important takeaways. Otajonova said that in Geneva, she always felt at home and was happy to meet new people. “All the new acquaintances and friends I’ve met and interacted with now play a big role in my life and have left a lasting impression on me and will continue to do so even after my departure.”
Holmatov spoke highly of the city where he lived for four months. “Vienna is a metropolis with a unique charm, energy and atmosphere; it is the cultural capital of Europe, a city surprisingly romantic and open, which has preserved its colossal historical heritage.”
“When choosing to study abroad, know which life path you’ve decided to take and make sure the chosen destination matches your interests," said Otajonova, when asked what advice she would give to students considering their study abroad destinations.
Webster Tashkent is about to welcome its first inbound Study Abroad students in spring 2022.