Road to University - Jamolbi Khushqadamova | Aga Khan Academies

Road to University - Jamolbi Khushqadamova

16 April 2021

Tell us about yourself

My name is Jamolbi and I was born and raised in Khorog, Tajikistan. At the age of 13 I got the opportunity to study at the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad, and I will be graduating this year. I am primarily interested in social change and I am a strong believer in the power of civil society. Armed with tools for change, I aim to contribute to strengthening the education system in Tajikistan.

Do you remember your access to education in Tajikistan?

The school I attended in Tajikistan was one of the best schools in my town. It had all the resources available: books, computers, science laboratories, etc. However, it did not have the enrichment programmes or extracurricular activities we have at the Academy! This is one of the main differences between the Academy and my previous school. The Academy is filled with endless opportunities to help you grow and discover your passion. My fondest memories of my previous school are of snowy days when my friends and I used to play in the snow after school or just during breaks. I have missed snow for six years now!

How has your experience at the Academy impacted you?

Coming from a closed environment and being immersed in a diverse community, has definitely prepared me for the real world. It’s not only the knowledge I have gained, but also learning to accept and respect the differences around me wherever I go. 

Do you remember when you first learned that you had received a scholarship to attend the Academy?

It was late in the afternoon and I was all alone at home. I heard my dad calling out my name from downstairs. I could feel his enthusiasm, as he approached me. Wasting no time, he uttered the words “You got accepted!” and immediately leaned in to hug me. I thought I would jump out of happiness on hearing this news, but right at that moment I was just stood still – completely overwhelmed. Of course I was so happy, but my reaction was not as I imagined it to be. Later that day, my extended family got to know about this news and everybody was celebrating. As much as they were anxious about sending their daughter thousands of miles away at a young age, my parents were extremely proud of me.

What was your experience like when you first came to the Academy?

Coming to the Academy was an exciting journey for me. In spite of challenges, such as the weather, spicy food and homesickness, I was curious and enthusiastic about everything! On top of that, I was surrounded by different people.  It made me feel like I was not alone, as I was not the only 13-year-old kid far from family. In addition, dorm life gave me an absolutely unique experience – just like a second home.

What opportunities have you had at the Academy?

Over these 6 years at the Academy, I have realized that there is more to education than grades and numbers.  Most of the meaningful learning opportunities that I have experienced have been outside the classroom. In grade 11, I was chosen as the dorm prefect for our Residence. It was a privilege to represent the entire dorm on behalf of all the girls and it made me more responsible. I also organized a 5K Run Club for Grades 8, 9, 10 and 11, where we represented our school in a 5K Marathon that was held in Hyderabad in November, 2019.  Finally, I am an enthusiast when it comes to music. I have been playing piano since I was 12, and I am still practicing it. In fact, in Grade 10 for my Personal Project, I composed my own music and sold it.  The funds went to a government schools to provide the students with stationery.  I will always be grateful for the countless opportunities the Academy has given me!

What is your favourite part of being a student at the Academy? 

The Academy always teaches me something beyond its boundaries. Whatever I learn, I immediately draw connections with the real-world and add my own interpretations and then draw conclusions. So I must admit that being a student at the Academy has enabled me to be a critical thinker and an inquirer.

How have you been supported during your time at the Academy? 

All the teachers have been great and so helpful since the very beginning, whether it be academic help or dorm-life, the teachers are always there for us.

What does the university scholarship mean to you and your family?

I am humbled and honoured to have received a full scholarship at Georgetown University Qatar. This scholarship affords me an opportunity to pursue my higher education in a truly prestigious university. Although my parents have been supporting my education from the start, they could not afford college fees. This scholarship means a lot to me and I will strive to live up to every expectation.

How do you think your time at the Academy will help you during university?

Thanks to the diverse community at the Academy, I can confidently say that I will be able to work with people from different backgrounds and from diverse cultures as I begin my new university journey!