From Uzbekistan to Dubrovnik
Iskandar, tell as a little bit about yourself. What brought you to Dubrovnik?
I am a student of Tashkent Institute of Finance. Nowadays I am studying Economics and Business Economics as an Erasmus student at the University of Dubrovnik. Tashkent is a capital of Uzbekistan, a country which lies in Central Asia. This is my first visit to Europe. It is so interesting to get to know different cultures, meet new people and make new friends. Also, I was very happy to learn that there are several NGOs like Europe House Dubrovnik where foreign students can volunteer.
Are you an active participant of civil society in Uzbekistan?
Yes. I guess the role of NGOs is important for every society. In Tashkent, my hometown, I volunteer for the “Young Leaders Development Project” (YLDP). This NGO aims to contribute to the implementation of the Presidential Decree “On measures of further improvement of foreign languages teaching” from December 2012. That is the reason why all projects and activities of the YLDP are in English. For instance, WeChat club, Leader`s Talk, Republican Essay contest, Debate Championship, Essay contest and International Youth Summit. About hundred young persons, who have successfully finished internship program at the YLDP, are currently employed in major companies of our country. Last year, six of them became members of the President’s Team aiming at developing public education of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
How did you learn about the Erasmus+ Programme and how does the University of Tashkent cooperate with the University of Dubrovnik?
A lot of people think that Erasmus+ is reserved only for Europeans. However, citizens of Erasmus+ Partner Countries can also participate in this program. There is one Erasmus+ Office in Tashkent. It is very active and organized in terms of informing young people about studying opportunities in Europe. I believe this is a unique chance for students of my country who are eager to study abroad. As to Dubrovnik, the Tashkent Institute of Finance and the University of Dubrovnik have established a successful cooperation. My colleague and I are the first exchange students from Uzbekistan coming here. Hopefully there will be in Dubrovnik more students from my University in the future.
Why did you choose to study abroad in the first place? And was it complicated to become an Erasmus+ student?
Personally, I think people should always learn new things, and work hard to improve themselves. Studying abroad is a one of the best ways to explore new cultures and societies. By studying in foreign countries you make unforgettable memories and gain useful experiences. Last but not least, this is a wonderful opportunity for enlarging your networking. That’s why I believe Erasmus+ is a great chance to study and discover the world at the same time. Of course, if you get the Erasmus scholarship (smile). But it is not so difficult to apply for this program. You need to have a proof of your English language skills and achievements gained during your study at the University. Also, a few of other documents are required.
Why did you choose Dubrovnik/Croatia for your studies in Europe?
There are several reasons why I chose Dubrovnik. First of all, its geographical position and the nature. I was lucky to come to Dubrovnik during the spring semester because the town is lovely in this period. Secondly, Dubrovnik is a well-known tourist destination. Tourism is likewise developing in Uzbekistan, and I want to experience tourism here, in Dubrovnik, where I could learn something useful for Uzbekistan’s developing tourist sector. Thirdly, I love wearing ties “Kravata” (big smile). Another important reason for coming here is that I was one of the first Uzbek students at the University of Dubrovnik. It’s always nice to be the Number One!
How do you like Croatia and Dubrovnik so far? Did you meet your expectations?
It was snowing when I arrived here. It was kind of unexpected for me because I read totally opposite descriptions of Croatia and Dubrovnik on the Internet. However, I saw the snow in Dubrovnik, which is a rare opportunity. I like the city and people very much. Almost everyone can speak English, what is very useful. People are very kind, and they always help, if necessary. The nature is amazing. I could forever stare at the beautiful Adriatic Sea.