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A Journey to Learn English Becomes a Life-Changing Event!

A Journey to Learn English Becomes a Life-Changing Event!

Aigul Egemberdieva is passionate about writing! But being new to the U.S., she knew she needed to do a deep dive into learning the English language. When she started at NOVA, English was her entire focus. But that single first step was life changing.    

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:
I grew up in a small country, Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia. To make it easier to navigate, I tell everyone, 'My homeland is between China and Russia,' but that’s not entirely accurate.

Kyrgyzstan is a former republic of the USSR, which means I grew up in Russian culture. At the same time, this is a multinational country, so I speak Russian and Kyrgyz; I understand Kazakh, Uzbek and Uighur.

I love Kyrgyzstan, but Russian remains my main and native language. It is the richest culture, with brilliant writers (Tolstoy, Nabokov, Dostoevsky) and talented poets (Esenin, Akhmatova, Pushkin) whose works are masterpieces of world literature.

Books and writing have always been my passion. I have notebooks and diaries since childhood.

My family and I moved to the States just before the pandemic. Literally, the gates at Dulles Airport slammed shut right behind us, almost pinching my fingers! The first year, the lockdown and the culture shock kept me very stressed.    

What brought you to NOVA?
I realized I needed to improve my English. I didn't feel free. I couldn't express my thoughts quickly, and I didn't fully understand what people were saying to me. Therefore, I set a goal: I will learn English, I will speak fluently and write beautifully in it. I heard a lot about NOVA and chose our college. I never regretted my decision for a minute.

What are you studying or what do you plan to study at NOVA?
My major is Languages, Arts and Social Sciences. NOVA opened a new world for me. I came just to improve my English, and doors were opened for me. Now I'm not just learning English but also writing stories, trying to write poetry and studying cinema.

Every time the semester starts, I feel like I can't take it anymore. Then I finish the semester and choose my next courses. Last semester, I got on the Dean's List. For me, it was a recognition of my efforts.

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA; i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met.
I am very lucky with my professors. The two main teachers in my life are my father, who always taught me to be a decent person, and my husband, who taught me to believe in myself.

Now I have a third teacher, Professor Nardacci, who taught me how to be a writer. She was always strict but fair, making me better every day.

This semester I was also lucky with my job. NOVA gave me the opportunity to combine study with work. I ended up being part of a highly professional team. They’ve become my second family that supports and patiently teaches me.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?
NOVA offers a huge amount of entertainment and educational activities. The main thing is to be open to this world and never give up! 

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring?
I came to college with one small goal, and now my advisor Dr. Clark and I are discussing the possibility of my transferring to university! NOVA taught me how to dream.

I wanted to publish a book in Russian, and now I want to write and publish in English. Perhaps someone will say this is not a profitable business, English is not your language and for an immigrant, it’s better to think about real professions. But that's what makes America beautiful: Any dream has the right to life.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.

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