Road to University - Saidvalieva Mizhgona | Aga Khan Academies

Road to University - Saidvalieva Mizhgona

23 April 2021

Tell us about yourself

My name is Mizhgona and I am from Khorog, Tajikistan. I joined the academy in 2015 and I am graduating this year. I am interested in history and politics. I enjoy reading books and speak Russian, English and Tajik.

How has your experience at the Academy impacted you?

Moving away from home at an early age and being exposed to a completely new diverse community has allowed me to become more independent and open-minded.

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

I was at my aunt’s house when she received a phone call from my parents with the news about my acceptance. I was extremely happy and my family was very proud of me. The journey that lay ahead seemed exciting and terrifying at the same time.  Even though my parents were worried about sending me away at an early age we all knew it would be worth it in the end.

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

Despite the fact that everyone was supportive and kind, in the beginning it was difficult to adjust to the new environment.  A significant source of concern for me was the food. Tajik cuisine is characterized by blandness as compared to the spicy Indian food, hence the first time I tried Indian food in the Academy I was convinced that I burnt my taste buds. But over time I adjusted and now I am going to miss many of my favourite Indian dishes when I leave. 

What opportunities have you had at the Academy?

I have participated in multiple MUNs both as a journalist and a delegate and managed to secure awards. The experience helped me develop my writing and public speaking skills. As part of the CAS programme I have initiated projects like Chess Tournament and Creative Expression Club. While working on these projects I improved my leadership and organizational skills. Additionally, the academy has always encouraged me to face new challenges and push past limits. I have never participated in marathons before but I took up the challenge and participated in the 2019, 5K Marathon. 

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

One of my favourite things about the Academy is the campus. The 100-acre campus is not only beautiful to look at with diverse species of plants but also amazing for walks after a stressful day at school or just for a break.

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

All the teachers at the Academy have been incredibly supportive and kind since day one. Dorm parents, subject teachers, enrichment supervisors have all shared their knowledge and helped me out through difficult times.

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

I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded a full scholarship to study at Northwestern University in Qatar. Being awarded this scholarship has largely reduced the financial burden on my family allowing me to continue pursuing my educational dreams. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to life at university.

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

The Academy has taught me to be comfortable with making mistakes therefore I learned from my own experience. It taught me to search for solutions and gave me the confidence to make independent decisions. I believe this experience would be helpful as I begin a new journey.