Change Leads to Opportunity

Anastasiya Miroshnikova

My life’s motto is to not give up in the face of difficulties: what does not kill me makes me stronger.

When I was in high school, I became a participant of a cultural exchange program through the Cincinnati Kharkiv Sister City Partnership organization. I was given one of the most exciting and unforgettable experiences of my life which is to study in American high school for a month! I lived with a host family in Wyoming, Ohio. I will never forget the moment when they asked me what the biggest difference was between Ukraine and their country. The answer was obvious for me and I haven’t changed my mind since that time: education is definitely the main difference. Variation of contrasting classes, respectful and sophisticated teachers, freedom of thoughts and ideas, a lot of sports to choose from, electronically equipped classes, and new educational technologies are all things that Ukraine is in need of.

After attending a traditional Ukrainian university for 2 years, I felt disengaged and like I was not growing in the right direction. I knew I needed to change my surroundings.

I decided to change my life and applied to the Ukrainian Leadership Academy. It is a highly selective program, but luckily I was accepted and won a full-tuition scholarship. The program combines elements of physical, emotional, and intellectual development. It is also unique and innovative way to spend a gap year. There is no other place on Earth that is like ULA. The academy teaches young people to analyze social phenomena, encourages them to change their country for the better, and helps them to decide on a future profession and to develop their leadership skills. So as you can understand, teenagers there are very active and highly motivated.

It has been two months since I started my education at the ULA. This organization completely changed my mind about education in Ukraine. It is one of the few places that has interesting classes, lots of possibilities for the realization of all of our ideas, a community of like-minded people, plenty of volunteering opportunities and chances to develop life skills.

Seeing and experiencing different methods and philosophies in education, first in the USA and now in the ULA, have opened my mind to so many possibilities and opportunities. I strongly believe that this experience will help me to change my country for better! Do not be afraid of changes!