After “What is your name?” the second question people always ask me is, “Why did you decide to come here?” And I always ask them back, “To the U.S., to Chicago or to DePaul?” It is a very interesting question.
I guess there are a lot of reasons why I am here: in the U.S., Chicago and DePaul. First of all, I always wanted to become an international journalist, which requires knowing at least the English language. After finishing a Master’s degree at Kyrgyz-Russian University, I thought that it was not enough to become an international journalist. Then I tried my luck by applying to several universities in England and the USA.
However, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I had to take a lot of tests, like the TOEFL and the GRE. Plus, I had to complete tons of documents; like letters of recommendation and up to three different essays. I also had to translate all of the names of the courses I had taken.
Only international students would understand the difficulty about it: All my documents were in Russian and I needed to translate them one by one and notarize them in the official translation companies.
Moreover, in a country where the first language is Russian and Kyrgyz it is quite difficult to find appropriate books for preparing for all the tests in English.
As a result of one year of preparation, I was admitted to some of the universities I applied to. I kept saying to myself, if it were a dream I never wanted to wake up.
To answer the second question, why I choose Chicago I would say that it is partly the influence of the movies. I got admitted to a university in New York, but this great city seemed to me to be too big and too noisy. On the other hand, was a university in Florida. After doing online research, I realized that this city never sleeps with all the entertainment, beaches, bars and nightclubs. Honestly, I was afraid. I had feeling that if I moved there I would be distracted by the entertainment all the time.
On the other side was a university in the UK. It was a very diverse university with great student population and a lot of well-known alumni.
But from the videos and comments of Chicago’s students, I was imaging myself walking along the beautiful lake, where the wind is blowing the waves and sand, and the gigantic buildings are the only ones that are impervious to the wind. Also, I was amazed by the gorgeous museums and theaters Chicago had.
I had such a picturesque image of Chicago that there was no way I would miss a chance to be a part of this mesmerizing city. What about DePaul? Well, it had a great journalistic program, diversity of international students and great faculty and staff. Moreover, DePaul was located in the heart of Chicago. I guess that’s how I chose DePaul.