Foster School of Business
I was born in a small village in the outskirts of Uzbekistan. It is one of the poorest and most isolated areas of the country. The economy of the region, as well as of the whole country was supported by the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan was burdened with high unemployment, rapid inflation, and shattered infrastructure that could not support any economic revival. Most families, especially those in suburbs of the country, were struggling to get by. Consequently, most students in my village could not even dream about going to a university. I was one of those students. However, in 2005, I participated and became one of the finalists of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program. The program was administered by the State Department of the United States (US); it gave an opportunity to students with outstanding academic record to study in the US high school for a year. At that point, I knew that there was a chance that someday I might be able to go to a university.
When I was learning English back in Uzbekistan, books published during the Soviet regime were the only source of information about American culture. Unfortunately, much of the information in those books was biased and subjectively critical of the US. Hence, the students who had a genuine interest in American culture were subjected to a propaganda, which portrayed the American people and culture in a very negative way. Therefore, I reasonably expected my future experience in the US to be nothing more than the affirmation of statements made in those books. But, I was off to a big surprise.
Interestingly, by observing American culture, I was able to get a sense of my own culture as well. When I was growing up, it was hard to tell what Uzbek culture was. Though it had a long history, the decades under the Soviet regime had a very significant impact on it. In addition, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the vacuum created by the absence of the Soviet propaganda was filled by various mixes of ideologies such as radicalism, religious extremism, socialism, and nationalism. Hence, the country needed time to trace back to its cultural roots and heritage.
Despite these developments and challenges, there are many beliefs and values that Uzbek people have held dear. These beliefs and values can be found in the American society as well. For instance, both societies value the importance of education and enlightenment to the well being of the whole society. I believe that this is one of the reasons why I never gave up the school. I have always treasured the value of education. Acceptation is another value that had a strong influence in me. We were always taught to love others regardless of their creed, ethnicity, orientation, and gender. This can be evidenced by the fact that after the World War II, many Uzbek families adopted children from Germany, Poland, Russia, and other countries that suffered the burdens of war. The same is true...