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QA with a graduate Student from Kazakhstan


We talked to Anastasia Balushkina, an MBA student at Roosevelt University, about her experience of living and studying in Chicago, her future career plans, and what she finds different between her home country of Kazakhstan and the US.

Roosevelt Student Anastasia

Roosevelt Student Anastasia

Question: Why did you choose to study in the USA?

Answer: Before receiving an admission from the MBA program at Roosevelt University, I had been a full-time graduate student at the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, majoring in corporate finance. This master’s course was a step forward for me and I concentrated on the field that I’d been itching to explore for many years - finance. Though the educational program in Russia taught finance at a high level, it was lacking in some ways. Thus after one month of studies, I decided to explore educational opportunities abroad and decided to travel to the United States. There is no better place to study risks, finances, and management than America, where major corporations are dealing with crisis and risk on a regular basis.

Q: What is your favorite thing about studying in the USA?

A: I like that professors use up-to-date examples and technologies. For example, in my finance class I was able to work on the Bloomberg terminal. It gives students an advantage as they will be more experienced than those who studied just theory. Education in the US goes hand in hand with practice.

Q: Did you have any pre-conceptions/stereotypes of the USA? If so, how are they different now you have arrived?

A: Honestly, I did not. Before coming to the United States, I followed a lot of bloggers on Instagram who wrote about life in the States.

Q: How is the USA different from your home country?

A: I am from Kazakhstan and it is entirely different from the USA. I like that in the US people respect personal space, and they won’t disturb you without reason. In my country, respect for privacy is not so common.

What I found to be very different compared to Kazakhstan is medicine in the US. In my home country we can go to a regular hospital with any problem. Prices for treatment are not as high as in the US.

Q: Why did you choose to transfer to Roosevelt?

A: The MBA program at Roosevelt University appealed to me as it covers a broad range of subjects on business administration, finance, decision making and strategic management. I was attracted by the Walter E. Heller College of Business because it focuses on professional integrity, sustainable business, and global cooperation. I also like that Roosevelt University is internationally recognized, which guarantees that you will be a part of a multinational student community. I believe that this program will help me develop the critical thinking skills that are vital for an effective leader.

Q: What most excited you about coming to Chicago? What surprised you the most when you arrived?

A: First, I was really excited by the city itself. I was excited about the possibility of living in a US metropolis and business city. I was surprised by the kindness of people who live here, starting with the university and finishing with people working in the bank. People are always trying to help international students here.

Q: How would you describe the energy of Chicago?

A: From my point of view, the energy of Chicago changes with the weather. In the summer, it is as relaxed as Florida. Everyone is enjoying good weather on the beach, riding bikes, and longboards along the coast of Lake Michigan. In the winter, Chicago is entirely different. I would say it becomes quieter. However, despite the change of seasons, Chicago always remains a business city.

Q: As an international student, do you feel welcome in Chicago? What are the people like here?

A: Absolutely! You can ask people any question, even a silly one. People are very patient here and are ready to help you, especially at the university.

Q: How will you apply your MBA degree to your career? What have been your favorite classes?

A: I am going to return home to my country and apply my new knowledge to the family business. My program is not finished yet. So far, my favorite classes were accounting, finance, statistics, and marketing. We studied theory based on the current events, and it is an excellent opportunity for students to implement their knowledge.

Q: So far, has studying overseas changed you as a person?

A: Sure. When you live alone abroad, you have to go through many things yourself. During my first year here, I became more independent and patient. Living abroad changes you a lot. You start to understand other people and cultures and apply something to your everyday life. For example, after living in the US for one year, I began to ask questions about Kazakhstan and Russia. Usually, people who live there do not like to bother others with questions.

Q: Have you experienced homesickness and what advice do you have for new students?

A: I think many people who are far from home, to some extent, experience homesickness. It is the third time in my life I have studied away from home, and it is impossible to get rid of this feeling entirely. So my advice is to socialize as soon as possible. Your new friends will help you to overcome homesickness. And if nothing helps, invite your family to Chicago! Believe me… they will be impressed by this fantastic city.

Q: In your opinion, what are the benefits of an international education?

A: The opportunity to communicate with people from different countries. The student community at Roosevelt is very diverse. I now have a lot of friends from different continents. And every person I get along with teaches me something new about his or her country, culture, and way of living. These acquaintances are important not only now, but also in the future. Even if I no longer see these people after graduation, I will have knowledge about their culture. This can help me maintain communication in the international business environment.