Without coming to the United States to get a higher education, Nara Martirosyan would not be able to work in her field back home in Armenia. She tells us why getting an education in the United States is very important to her. “I’m from the Republic of Armenia which is one of the former Soviet Union’s Republic and my major I can’t study master degree in my country because we don’t have developmental education,” she says. “Actually, it is educational leadership. That was the main reason.
“The second reason is that if you have your master’s from the United States you could get good job. In my country we have lots of international organizations most of them are American organizations and the third one is comparing with my country and the United States, it is really expensive here the education,” she says. “Not as expensive as the United States, but for us it is still expensive so I try to apply for a scholarship and get scholarship to come study because without scholarship you could never come and study in the United States because the currency difference is really high so it is impossible. So these are the reasons that I wanted to study here.”
Nara is attending Grambling State University. Besides working on her English speaking skills and learning how to design a curriculum for developmental learners back home, Nara says she appreciates the friendliness and support of her peers and others at the university. “This university was originally a black college and I really appreciate that people are friendly here and they are ready to help you and support you even if they don’t know who you are,” she says.
“If they know you are an international student, you don’t know anybody here so they are really supportive especially my professors are really really supportive because at the beginning still I have some language barriers because English is my fourth language,” she adds.
“So it was not really easy for me to adjust and they have different speaking style here in the south,” she says. “I like my program in which I am attending and also the international office which is really new in this university even not more than one year, they are helping us and the kids if we have any problems. The international office is really important for us they provide students with services such as immigration workshops, international coffee hour, just in general if you have any problem you could go there and get any assistance so I really appreciate this support which I have and if I didn’t have that support I don’t think that I could stay and feel happy here.”
Attending college back home Nara says most students graduate without having practical lessons about their major, however here she says gaining both knowledge and skills is priceless. “In my country the educational system is really strong and the requirements are really strong. The difference is here you have open admission, but in my country it is not really open admission. There are required exams, which you have to take in order to enter into the university,” she says.
"So maybe this facts makes a bit difficult for students to enter the university, but when they enter like almost ninety-five, ninety-seven percent graduate,” she says. “But the advantages of this education are like open admission is good and like the practical lessons. You have more practical lessons than we have in our curriculum and now in my country we are doing lots of educational reforms and most of the educational reforms are being sponsored by the U-S Department of State, so we are trying to add more practical lessons in order to have our students to apply the knowledge they got in the university,” she adds.
“Sometime you could have students who graduate from the university they have excellent knowledge, but they don’t have enough necessary skills to apply this knowledge so they need extra practical lessons. “So that is the difference that I see and I really think that it is really good when you have both knowledge and skills.”
Upon graduation Nara will return home and work at a university there using her skills she acquired while in the U-S.