June 01, 2022

ICF scholarship recipients: Eva-Maria Amirova, MGIMO-Tashkent

Today, we continue our series of interviews with the recipients of the ICF Scholarship from MGIMO-Tashkent. Our interviewee, Eva-Maria Amirova, is a very interesting and successful girl despite her young age. She is a first-year law student at MGIMO-Tashkent, who enjoys reading classical literature and fiction, learning English and French, and volunteering. She is being raised by her mother, who is a single parent.

Eva-Maria shares plenty of insights and tips that could be useful to anyone who is interested in personal development. In our interview, she talks about a typical day at MGIMO-Tashkent, the subjects that are studied, the opportunities for extracurricular development, reading as means of overall development, and her advice to future students.  

Eva, tell us a little about yourself and your journey to MGIMO-Tashkent.

In elementary school, I saw myself more inclined towards humanities, but in high school I started doing maths on my own and saw a good result – it became a turning point for me. I learned to revise and to study, to do it on my own. I think it is a very important skill in life.

At first, I wanted to become an economist, then – a doctor, and later  I decided that law would suit me better. I found out that there were preparatory courses at MGIMO and when I attended them, I realised that studying would be quite difficult. But the difficulties do not scare me. The more challenging it is, the more interesting it is to me. I was able to get into the top five candidates for the ICF scholarship. 

I really like studying here, we have incredible teachers – they are competent, and really deserve to be called ‘Teachers’. They can easily find an approach to any student to share the right information. We understand and know exactly why we come to our classes.

You talk about your studies with so much enthusiasm and joy. Could you tell us, for example, what are the key skills you have learnt at university so far? 

First of all, communication skills. I have met people with similar interests, with similar life goals, and maybe that is why there is a greater desire to communicate. Secondly, the skill of public speaking. Before, I always tried to avoid it and did not present anywhere. But now I understand that I cannot avoid public speaking, this is necessary for my future profession, and now I try to speak as often as possible. If there is an opportunity to speak at a conference, I always use it. Now I can do it much better than before. At MGIMO, I have an opportunity to prove myself, and my self-esteem has increased dramatically.

What subjects did you particularly like in this course? 

I really like ‘Roman Law’ because it is the original law and it is very interesting to see what it was like at first. And, to see how that law has evolved over the centuries and what it has become. I also liked ‘History of State and Law of Foreign Countries’. Again, we have a very strong, competent teacher in this discipline. For me, it is not the lecturesbut the seminars that are important. The teacher will make you feel interested in the subject, but the student himself should go deeper into it, doing more in-depth study on his own.

What foreign languages have you chosen?

I have already started studying French. Our MGIMO branch has French and German. If Chinese appears among foreign languages, I will take it. It seems to me that it will open up more opportunities. Besides, it is more complicatedand I like the fact that there is a certain meaning in the symbol itself, and you can logically figure out what the symbol means, because it consists of several elements. Therefore, I would choose Chinese. If Japanese appeared instead of Chinese, I would choose Japanese. Generally speaking, I would like to learn an oriental language.

What is your typical day like?

I wake up at 7 am, after 4 or 5 classes I go home and do my homework, then I tutor maths and English to kids, then I do my homework again. Sunday is normally the same, but without the university. If I have time, I do sports. The only disadvantage of studying is that I don’t always have enough time to read books outside of my university programme. 

What are your favourite books and what does reading give you?

I love Dostoyevsky. I really like ‘Demons’, ‘The Idiot’, ‘Crime and Punishment’. His works ‘White Nights’ and ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ are also good novels. Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ is a good work, but I have not gotten to it yet, so I will probably reread it in two or three years. I like ‘Resurrection’ and ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’ – the best of Tolstoy’s works. As for Balzac, I like ‘The Human Comedy’ and the ‘Lost Illusions’ trilogy, ‘The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans’, ‘Father Goriot’, ‘The Wild Ass’s Skin’. And as for Victor Hugo – ‘Les Misérables’ is a work that greatly influenced my love of classical literature. If we talk about who I would advise reading the first in order to discover classic literature, it is, of course, Victor Hugo. Among German language writers – I like Remarque. I have read all of his works, they are very powerful and the plots are very strong. . Nobody can describe war and people’s experiences during wartime like Remarque. I also love Nabokov. People have different attitudes towards Nabokov, of course. But I think you need to understand the writer’s thoughts at that moment, his motives, the reasons why he wrote that way, why he needed it, what he wanted to say. As for the recent writers I have learnt this year, I would recommend Cronin and his ‘Hatter’s Castle’, ‘The Citadel’, and ‘The Stars Look Down’. He was a doctor, and he is very good at describing life situations. He has very good, poignant social novels. I also loved Steinbeck, but not for his famous novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, I prefer his novel ‘East of Eden’.

As a kid, I really liked science fiction, but after reading ‘Crime and Punishment’ I realised that I loved the classics. I also love Bulgakov – ‘Notes on a Cuff’, ‘Morphine’, ‘White Guard’. And ‘The Master and Margarita’, of course. 

Reading for me has always been as an exercise for the mind. I believe that if a person does not read, he gradually stops thinking, he loses this skill, to think critically, to evaluate something. Of course, it depends on the quality of literature, but any reading is good, even if it is something lightweight in the beginning. It is the same with studying. At first you force yourself to do something, and then you start to like it.

What are your plans for the future? How are you going to apply what you have learned?

I just started studying, so far I only have ideas. I would like to go into criminal law or financial law. I am also interested in criminology, it has more to do with my hobby, my interest in reading. I love to think about why people begin to undergo certain crises, how they go through them, and how they react to something. I would like to study criminology and maybe work in this field. And perhaps I will also get an economics degree and go into business law.

And what do you do at university in your extracurricular time?

We have a lot of different clubs, I also do volunteering, but with such a study load it’s impossible to have time for everything. Although if I have some time, I can take part. What I really like most of all is participation in scientific conferences. I am a practical person and need something that will benefit me. If we talk about volunteering at educational exhibitions, I will develop communication skills and some organisational skills there. If we are talk about the Model UN club, it is also interesting, of course. For example, we discussed global issues, everyone expressed the point of view, argued on a theme of xenophobia, racism, and intolerance, and everyone offered possible ways of solving these issues. Someone did not accept those solutions, which is also very valuable because not all people will accept your point of view. And it is very important to be able to accept someone else’s point of view but also to stand by your own statement. You are not trying to change someone’s mind. You are trying to understand the person, why he thinks this way and not the other way.

But if we talk about scientific conferences, for me it is more valuable because I like to get knowledge, to learn something new. 

You study at an excellent university, and you have an ICF scholarship, which makes you an example for others. What advice could you give to other students and applicants?  

To learn how to study and learn, how to force yourself to do something. If a person does not learn how to force himself to do something, he will never learn anything. For example, there are people who are interested in law, but you have to understand that it is not easy to learn law. And you have to love these difficulties, love the process of learning, and only then, I think, can a person become a professional in his field. It is necessary to understand what you go for, and why you are going to study. You have to study not for your mom and dad or your diploma, but for yourself. 

What else have we not asked, but would you like to add?

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr Patokh Chodiev and the International Chodiev Foundation for the opportunity to study at such a wonderful university.

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