Stories

Nadzeya Zhuk: “We Make Progress by Making Headway”

AUBG entered the Zhuks’ household through the stories of two of their daughter, Nadzeya’s best friends, already students at AUBG. Initially, the family’s reaction was anything but positive. They preferred to have their daughter stay at home in Vitebsk, Belarus, or alternatively, go to university in Russia; Bulgaria was too far away.

However, the two AUBGers’ inspiring stories of university life in Blagoevgrad proved too irresistible to ignore; AUBG was a perfect match for Zhuk daughter’s talent and ambition. Through perseverance and sheer force of will, Nadzeya Zhuk – now a first-year student already sporting an impressive resume of academic achievements and extracurricular activities – not only managed to quiet her family’s misgivings but also achieved top scores on her entrance tests, thereby earning a full presidential scholarship for study at AUBG.

Nadzeya’s interest in foreign languages, especially English, which she began studying in first grade, foreshadowed her choice of an English-language university with a multilingual student population. From a very early age she demonstrated a great aptitude for languages, a talent her teachers encouraged. In high school, she had a special program designed for her, with an emphasis on English.

“It was hard but I really enjoyed it,” she remembers. Now, Nadzeya is fluent in German, English, Belarusian, and Russian.

Toward the end of her secondary education, Nadzeya distinguished herself at a national English-language competition, a triumph that granted her admission to any Belarusian university automatically and significantly boosted her chances of being accepted in Russian universities. “But I didn’t want to study anywhere else but in AUBG. I was stubborn enough and here I am now,” she says. 

Nadzeya has also participated in competitions in German, Russian, and Belarusian, and has also earned praise for her writing ability. A second place in an essay contest in Poland is just one in a string of accomplishments.


Nadzeya hangs out with friends during Orientation Week

Nadzeya has many opportunities to practice her gifts at AUBG, and since she arrived, she has wasted no time in finding fulfilling ways to do that. She is a reporter for the student publication Defacto and also writes for AUBG Today magazine. The list of clubs she is a member of is impressive: the Student Ambassadors Club, the German Club, the European Movement, the Debate Club. “I just really like interaction and communication with people,” she explains.

The quality of interaction among students and faculty at AUBG is unmatched. Nadzeya puts it down to the community’s diversity and the opportunity to live and study together on a residential campus. “The atmosphere of living and studying here allows students to develop academically and personally,” she adds.

Nadzeya says she really appreciates the flexibility and freedom of AUBG’s liberal arts system, which allows her to pursue her interests and choose her own courses. In her home country, where the government strictly controls education, she would not have had that freedom, she says. “Here I can make up my mind on what I want to study after I have enrolled and what is more – I don’t need to choose between two majors. I can do both. And even though sometimes the atmosphere may look relaxed, everyone knows their responsibilities and study accordingly,” Nadzeya adds. She is considering a double major in Business Administration and Journalism and Mass Communication, and is also interested in Economics.

How does she manage all that? “We make progress by making headway” is her simple explanation and a motto that perfectly suits such a hard-working and determined individual.

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