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So Close: Otabek’s Story

On this blog we focus on the experiences of students who have been successful in coming to the U.S. to study. But what if you're not successful?

I met Otabek, who lives in Uzbekistan, through the ExchangesConnect community. He got accepted into the Youth Exchange Opportunity (YEO) program, but ultimately could not participate because he didn't meet one of the requirements. Here's his story, which he told to me over email:

Studying in the US has been the biggest goal of mine . I started learning English when I was 10 years old. My first English teachers were from Michigan , USA . They taught me English for 4 years. They gave me some essential information about the US educational system, customs and their lifestyle. All of these things encouraged me more to determine and set up my goal to study in the US .

Finally, in 2006 I participated in Youth Exchange Opportunity (YEO) Program organized by the US embassy in Tashkent and I was selected as a finalist. That was one of the proudest accomplishments in my life. Because there were so many applicants who knew English better than I do and competency was very high. There were selected only 20 applicants out of 300. I was one of the lucky guys who was among those 20.

Unfortunately, the happiness I had did not last long and I could not achieve my goal to study in the US , because I could not fulfill the documentation requirements due date. Well, I actually I could have got ready all the required documents on time, but according to the program requirements an applicant must be an Uzbek citizen. However, I am not an Uzbek citizen, although knowing that I applied anyway, because I was hoping to get a citizenship before the departure.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a citizenship then and couldn’t have my dream come true. Though, I did all the things that I could do. Those periods were the toughest moments to survive. I could only overcome this situation with the assistance of my teachers, parents and friends.

This situation taught me a lot and always to think about unexpected outcomes of our lives. On the other hand, I learned to take the things in its way. Besides that I learned never to give up and to keep on trying until I reach my goal and make it one of my number one priorities to study in the US .

Submit your own stories about learning English or coming to the U.S. using the form below, or email