She discusses harmony in her home country, respect for others, and her mentality on not settling for anything.
Kamola Khushvaktova is a 24 year old Masters of Management (Finance) major from Teshkent, Uzbekistan. She completed her undergraduate degree in England at the University of Manchester.
"People around you will always be different, you don’t have to share beliefs and opinions, but you need to respect each other. "
Q: What’s something people wouldn’t know about where you grew up?
A: People of more than 130 nationalities live in peace and harmony in Uzbekistan. We have followers of almost all religions, and we celebrate the major religious holidays together.
Q: Growing up, would you ever believe you would be living in Australia?
A: I started planning going to study abroad when I was 14 or 15 years old, maybe even younger. But I always imagined myself somewhere in Europe, definitely not in Australia. Australia was a country from fairy tales and movies, where you can meet kangaroos on your way to school.
Q: What philosophies or mantras help guide you?
A: I believe in freedom up to a point where your freedom starts to limit other people. Do whatever you want, but you cannot harm others through your actions. And help people whenever possible.
Q: What have you learned about yourself being so far from home?
A: People around you will always be different, you don’t have to share beliefs and opinions, but you need to respect each other.
Q: How does your native society value education?
A: Firstly, a certificate in your hands is more important than your knowledge. Corruption is present at all stages of the education system. You can buy a right to be accepted, and you can buy good grades.
Secondly, being related to important people usually gets you a better job than having a degree from a good local University.
Thirdly, it is still a very patriarchal society, and girls are sent to universities mainly to meet educated guys from good families. Women are not expected to earn a lot of money as they don’t have to support the family.
However, our new president is trying to fix the education system, he is encouraging hiring people who studies abroad, he is trying to increase the value of education. Much remains to be done, but I see improvements already.
"The growth rate is incredible, and I want to be a part of all these improvements."
Q: Has MBS changed your outlook on what you want to do with your career?
A: My career goals were shaped before MBS, and the only thing that changed is the location where I am planning to reach them (which is also not relevant to MBS).
Q: How do you find balance in the busy world of graduate studies?
A: I am a bit more privileged than most of graduate students. I do not have to work, I have a hobby that brings me some money that I can spend on eating out or going to movies (or buy that extra eyeshadows). Moreover, I am going back home after my studies, so I am not spending half of my time on job applications. This gives me more than enough time on preparing for classes, readings and assignments. I have extra time on meeting friends, movies, going out. I even have time on Netflix.
Q: What’s a culture that MBS has encouraged you to learn more about?
A: I learned so much about Indian culture, I even have my own Indian outfit now that I can wear to the next Diwali!
Q: Do you make plans? Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 3 years?
A: I see myself in Uzbekistan working for the benefit of my country. Uzbekistan is emerging right now, the growth rate is incredible, and I want to be a part of all these improvements.
Q: How did you come to the decision to choose Melbourne Uni?
A: It is number one in Australia, I was not ready to settle for something less.
Q: What alternatives did you think about?
A: I got accepted to LSE and Imperial college in London. The latter was my dream school to go to, but I decided to change my location instead. I still have time, I might get my next degree at Imperial.
Q: Did you get any resistance from family or friends about going to Australia?
A: My family always supported me, and my father says it is my life and my decisions. Friends were a bit surprised and worried a lot about spiders and snakes here. Luckily, I haven’t met a single spider in 1,5 years here.
Q: What are three things you can’t live without here?
A: I can’t live without love, good food and goals.
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