Ainura Abdullayeva, an Art major from Kazakhstan, had to return to her home country when COVID-19 hit. Scared and uncertain of the future, she made a vow on the plane ride: No matter what it took, she was not going to lose the home she had made for herself at SMC.
Starting her first semester at SMC in spring 2019 was a dream come true. Ainura knew hard work would allow her to shine academically, but she also wanted to experience the SMC community. She immediately joined the Cheer Club, and in fall 2019, she became a member of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
Ainura also wanted to gain American work experience. As an international student who could only work on campus, she took a job at Campus Kitchen, where she loved meeting the students, faculty, and staff who stopped by.
With her “promise made in the sky” front and center, Ainura has carried on — from Kazakhstan — as a full-time student with a 4.0 GPA. She has also been working online to help international students as a Peer Mentor at SMC’s International Education Center (IEC), holding weekly student Zoom meetings, reaching out to prospective students via webinars, conducting virtual campus tours with SMC’s Student Ambassadors, and helping IEC staff guide new students through the enrollment process.
Ainura graduates from SMC with an Associate degree in Art. She plans to work and gain professional experience for a year, then transfer to CSU Long Beach and study Graphic Design.
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