The Inspiring Women of My Exchange Year

Ohio ladies leave impression 

Throughout this year, I learned and experienced a lot of new things. But the most important part was learning how strong women can be, and how I can be better than I am today. I want to recognize the women who impacted my life the most during my year in America.

I am grateful to my host mom Kathy Sturman for teaching me how to be mindful in my decision making and helping me find opportunities to introduce my culture to my host community. She was always there to help me, to share American culture and learn more about mine, and to get up early to drive me to swim practice. She is a strong, understanding, and intelligent woman who taught me a lot about America. She inspired me to make changes in Kyrgyzstan!

Rachael Gorsuch, my second host mom, taught me to appreciate things that we have today. She showed me how passionate, smart and open minded she is. She is always ready to help and is interested in learning more about other cultures. She taught me how to make the best out of a situation and be creative. She taught me that women can be strong and achieve anything they would like to achieve. She inspired me to be confident and follow my passion.

The most important part was learning how strong women can be and how I can be better than I am today.

Begimai (FLEX, Kyrgyzstan)

My community coordinator, Fariba Kazemi, is a great teacher and friend who taught me how to be independent and adjust to life in my host community. She is open, kind, and taught me to be smart and careful. She gave great advice and taught me not to be afraid of making mistakes. She inspired me to be a leader and help students like me in the future!

Lastly, the woman who believed in me and taught me to swim is one of my coaches, Lauren Lord. She gave her advice and support during hard times. She is a patient coach and a great teacher. She taught me how to stay emotionally strong even while participating in tough sports like swimming. She inspired me to believe in myself and my goals even when they feel hard to achieve.

Also, my host sisters and amazing friends impacted my life a lot! I am thankful to FLEX and PAX for this opportunity!

—Begimai (FLEX, Kyrgyzstan), hosted by the Gorsuch family (OH)