Alumni Update: Kazakhstan

I’m Aiza Margulani, an alumna of Global UGRAD 2019  from Almaty, Kazakhstan. I studied at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and this whole experience has changed my life. I was always interested in social media, film, and everything creative, so capturing my adventures and studies in America daily was my first baby step towards my true self.

Aiza visiting New York City during her time on Global UGRAD.

With all the materials, sweet memories, and insane motivation, I started blogs on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok in 2020. Now, I have 30k followers and my first vlog from Global UGRAD got 30k+ views! Thousands of people discover the program, get motivated, see me as a role model, and tell me their life has changed because of what I do – to the extent that new Global UGRAD finalists are some of my followers, and I couldn’t even imagine this before.

I gained such a strong belief in myself that I developed in geometrical progression: got mentorship as a Global UGRAD alumna and drew a webcomic alone in just a month, held 2 free language marathons with 150+ participants, created courses and webinars, had live interviews with The U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan and The British Council where I shared my experience and knowledge, held many other projects including an online movie festival and self-development marathon; created multiple business plans, self-taught myself Korean from zero to intermediate level, and participated in the Korea Development Bank leadership program to get even more knowledge and experience.

My short time in the United States gave me a lifetime of motivation and confidence, and opened my heart that I was hiding. I realized that I have no limits whatsoever and I can go anywhere I want. Thus I followed my heart and almost got into Korea’s top-10 universities with the Global Korea Scholarship for Masters even though I switched from studying Business to Film. Now I aim for this grant, together with the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, because Asia and Europe are the parts of the world I’m yet to explore and learn from. All of this would not be possible if I did not become a part of the Global UGRAD Program: from the unique academic experience, to exploring the States, visiting the U.N. headquarters, the White House, going to concerts, making friends, and finding so many beautiful souls from all over the world that I’ve kept in touch with since 2019. I’m waiting for them and everyone in Kazakhstan after this pandemic ends, and I myself can go anywhere in the world and be welcomed. And I cannot be grateful enough. But while I’m preparing to start Masters and step on my way to becoming a globally known screenwriter and filmmaker from Central Asia, I continue working on my social media, motivating and educating my communities, helping others as a content maker, illustrator, and SMM manager, and becoming the adult that I looked up to as a child. Who knew that a dream of a sad yet hard working teenager and the kind hand of the Global UGRAD Program would lead to such a beautiful life.