Mother and Daughter Travel Globe to Kent State
Kent State University has always taken great pride in its global academic initiatives as well as the number of international students that enrolled at Kent State. Among the thousands of international students, two are particularly unique: Chynara and Eldona Ryskulova, respectively mother and daughter. The two women have traveled across the globe multiple times in pursuit of their academic dreams here at Kent State.
Early in 2011, Chynara was awarded the opportunity to attend Kent State on a full scholarship, so she and her daughter, Eldona, moved from the capital city of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Kent, Ohio. While Chynara immersed herself in her studies at Kent State, Eldona attended 7th grade at a local school. Of course there were bound to be some differences between her new school and the one she attended in Kyrgyzstan. The most surprising thing she noticed was the amount of freedom that the American students received. Middle school students here are given social and academic freedom and students are able to choose what classes they want to take,” recounts Eldona. “In comparison to my previous school where classes were already assigned to students.” Despite an initial period of adjustment, Eldona enjoyed attending school in America and found it a unique and rewarding experience.
After Chynara finished her degree at Kent State, the two decided to move back home to Kyrgyzstan, where Chynara soon began to pursue a PhD in linguistics at the American University of Central Asia. In the meantime, Eldona attended her local high school, where she excelled in all of her studies. In addition to her secondary education, Eldona also attended a nearby music school where she studied piano. Unlike in America where high school students can explore their musical talents through participation in their school’s band or choir, Eldona had to fulfill her interest in music by attending a school of music apart from her high school. As a result, Eldona found little time for anything besides her studies.
Eventually though, Eldona graduated from both her secondary school and music school with honors in 2014, the same year Chynara completed her PhD. The two then decided that they wanted to return to the United States so that they could enroll at Kent State University together.
Now in pursuit of her second PhD program, Chynara is studying higher administration and plans on returning to Kyrgyzstan after graduation. Her daughter, Eldona, is currently a freshman at Kent State studying economics and a member of the honors college. Currently involved with the Student Economist Association, she hopes to eventually become involved with one of the university’s musical organizations -- either choral or instrumental -- as well.
Having first visited the United States in 1993, Chynara was not initially surprised by anything in particular upon her return to Kent State. However, there must be something unique or special about the university that draws the Ryskulovas back. “Kent is a quiet place where professors, the community, students, and faculty work together in the same environment,” notes Chyrnara “Kent is also a wonderful place for professional development and the teachers are accessible.” She further explained that she is currently a GA and one of her favorite parts of this position is that she is able to work alongside professors and other staff. “In our office, we are all mixed together in one place,” Chynara continues. “I like that.”
Chynara also indicated that she likes Kent because it is a safe place and it is always growing. “Even comparing now to the first time I attended Kent , there has been a vast amount of growth on campus and downtown.” The combination of all of these aspects ultimately made Kent State such an attractive place to Chynara and helped influence her decision to attend school here.
For Eldona, she initially came to Kent because that is where her mother was, but now that she has been attending school here for a few months, she also sees why so many others favor the university. Just like her mother, Eldona feels that Kent is a safe place to live. In addition to the safety, Eldona appreciates the size of the university. “It is not too small or too big,” notes Eldona. “For me, it is just the right size.”
During their time in America, both mother and daughter hope to have the opportunity to explore the country. In the past, Chynara has visited several parts of the country while attending various conferences. High on her travel “wish list” is the west coast, specifically the Seattle area. Eldona, on the other hand, has not had the opportunity to travel much while living here and she is eager to explore the U.S. One of the first places she plans to visit is Chicago. After graduation, Eldona hopes to continue traveling around the U.S. before she returns to Kyrgyzstan.