Katerina Lovtchinova ‘11: “AUBG is Right in the Center of My Heart”

Katerina Lovtchinova, a successful AUBG graduate of class 2011 with double major in Political Science and International Relations and European Studies, has always had the thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm for new beginnings. Combined with her interest in European Studies, this has led her to apply to one of the top universities in the world - the John Hopkins University, where she is now in the process of obtaining a Master’s degree in International Relations and International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies. This unique program provides her with a dual perspective – European, since will spend her first year at the Bologna Center in Italy as well as American – her second year of studies will take place at the Washington D.C. Center in the USA. Katerina’s dream of studying at SAIS was made possible through her winning the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship – a very prestigious and competitive award for Bulgarian citizens.

Before enrolling in the master’s program however, Katerina served a 1-year term as the Bulgarian Youth Delegate to the United Nations. As one of the two delegates selected each year, her task  was to conduct research, determine the most pressing problems, and then deliver a speech in front of the General Assembly session in the UN headquarters in New York. Katerina attended the 66th GA session in New York and for two weeks she worked together with other Youth Delegates on the adoption of the Youth Resolution in October 2011. Her work focused on bringing youth-led organizations and the public sector stakeholders to work together on youth progress in the areas of Education, Youth Unemployment, and Active Participation in the decision-making processes.

But as Katerina points out, AUBG still holds a dear place in her heart . It had positively affected her perceptions of the real world and of the pool of opportunities for future development. The liberal arts education provided her both with courses crucial for her majors and with electives that broaden one’s scope of interest. In Katerina’s own words, “this unique amalgam of classes, coupled with the wide area of extracurricular activities, offer an amazing opportunity not only for academic and professional development, but also for personal growth.” At AUBG, she learned that ideas and opinion are the most valuable assets one has, but that in order to success one should not be afraid of failure. And while competition is good, it is better to compete only with yourself and to cooperate with others. Moreover, one has to never cease acquiring expertise, because knowledge is not static and “no matter how well accomplished you think you are, there are things to learn every day!”

While at AUBG, Katerina began passionately recommending the university to other young people. She worked together with the Admissions office on several presentations given in high schools around Bulgaria. She believes that AUBG combines multicultural and multinational experience with the high-level instruction, and as such contributed a lot to her success. Apart from the studies here, Katerina was actively involved in the social life at the university: she was a project coordinator in the Better Community Club, helping to organize concerts and other activities with the children in Blagoevgrad's social homes, and was also one of the choreographers and organizers of the successful “Hairspray!” musical staged by AUBG students. Katerina admits that AUBG changed her perspectives on higher education and made her regard the opportunities for personal development that are out there in the world with much more enthusiasm.

Story by Daria Glukhova

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