"I want to show Kazakhstan to the whole world", student Balzhan Samigullina

"I want to show Kazakhstan to the whole world", student Balzhan Samigullina

If asked why they enrolled at a university, most students would probably say, "To gain knowledge." But future journalist Balzhan Samigullina is thinking bigger. Still a student, she is already dreaming of sharing her knowledge with the people of her country, so that together they can welcome guests from all over the world!

Thanks to my determination, I earned a state-funded place at the university. I studied everything on my own because there was no one to coach me for the creative exam. There is only one center in my country training future journalists, and they recruit students onсe every six months, only offering programs in the Kazakh language. But giving up is not my style, so here I am!

RUDN allows me to explore my talents. It's a university where everyone finds a purpose: those who study day and night, those who are creative, or athletic, or who want to launch a startup. There isn't a university in the world that I would pick over RUDN, not even Oxford! Our university is based on the best concept in the world: you have a unique chance to learn about both personal, and cultural aspects of other people, cultivate your own wisdom and tolerance. For example, I hang out with people from Lebanon, Turkmenistan, China, and many African countries in the reading hall of my dormitory. I am also friends with Czechs, Poles, and Italians — I met them through my summer job in Turkey, using the communication skills that I've built at RUDN.

As a student, I have participated in a variety of extra-curricular activities: I was a member of the Ohana Volunteering Club, took acting classes and studied at debate school, was a member of five out of four commissions of the student committee, and the Scientific Student Society. These days I am attending workshops from the Department of Mass Communication. During the next term I would like to become more involved in the activities of the Kazakhstan community.

Studying in Russia was my dream. Unfortunately, the level of journalism training in Kazakhstan is much lower. I want to change that: I’d like to take a Master program, to see how they teach journalism in different countries, and then return home and share my knowledge and experience. My plan is already in motion – soon I am going overseas for an internship at one of the European universities.

I like how they teach us the skill of managing criticism: during classes, we read aloud our writings, and our classmates listen, notice any weak points and make remarks. This is how we build up immunity: you pick who to listen to, and you get stronger. I believe that any journalist must possess three qualities: intelligence, dedication, and independence.

My goal is to make Kazakhstan a tourist center. Our country is so beautiful and authentic, but very few people around the world know anything about it! And hospitality is a fundamental aspect of the Kazakh national character: for us, a guest is sacred. I will do everything I can to bring travelers from other countries to my homeland.

Aside from teaching, my dream job would naturally be for National Geographic Qazaqstan. But I am happy to share information in any way possible: through social media, writing, blogging. On my recent trip through eastern Kazakhstan I learned that it has incredibly diverse wildlife and stunning scenery. If that region was to be developed, it could become a perfect destination for green tourism, comparable to Bali or Costa Rica. A traveler visiting western Kazakhstan can swim in the Caspian Sea and enjoy a truly beautiful stay, on par with Turkey or Bulgaria. But, in fact, all we usually do is recommend that international guests visit a couple tourist attractions in Nur-Sultan and Almaty.

I really want to work in travel journalism – telling about my travels, maybe even writing books. I want to start with a blog. I am directing my efforts towards this goal: for example, just recently I attended a blogger workshop and realized that the author's personality is no less important than their travel reports. That is why I am going to be writing about myself first, and only then about the places I've seen.

My travel stories won't be focused on Kazakhstan alone. I plan on visiting as many countries as possible, and my dream is already coming true!

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