Global Connections Profile: meet the Lucky and Brave Baktygul Issabekova

Do you know anyone who has won the United States Diversity Visa (Green Card) lottery? If your answer is “No,” Global Connections has a surprise for you. Allow us to introduce a very lucky woman, Baktygul Issabekova. But, besides being lucky, she is also remarkably strong, smart and brave. She is a Global Connections member from far-off Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital where she worked as a sales manager. 

Baktygul moved to the USA almost three years ago with her husband Darkhan and two beautiful daughters, Darina (14) and Yasmina (8). They chose State College because her husband, an architect, was hired by a firm in the area.

“My first impressions of America were great. I really loved New York City, but America is not only New York, right? The easiest part of moving was making friends with other Kazakh and Russian (her second language) speakers who live here. The hardest part was facing COVID 19 just a few months after we arrived.”

While Baktygul loves living in the US with her husband and children, she does get really homesick at times. “I miss my mom, my dad and my sisters, my other relatives and friends.” She also misses the food and the restaurants in Kazakhstan and the physical and natural beauty of her homeland. “The Kazakh mountains are true works of beauty,” she says.

Baktygul recalls that she heard about the possibility of getting a Green Card from a friend. “My husband really wanted to move to the USA. I just filled out the form and forgot about it. I didn’t even hope for success. Now that I know how difficult this Lottery is, I understand that I’m really lucky.”

Baktygul has been a valued member of Global Connections for almost one year. She met the organization after an invitation from her Brazilian friend, Sabrina Lima, Global Connections’ outgoing Public Relations Officer. She tells how GC is helping her. “I met my great tutor Bruce Truitt, who helps me to learn English on a charitable basis. Also, I met a lot of other international citizens.” She says that her favorite things about GC are the in-person thematic meetings and the opportunity to experience a little bit of how other people from around the world live. “Walking in another person’s shoes is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.” 

She plans to keep studying English even harder, make new friends in America and build a career for herself. With all her luck and courage, she will certainly succeed. Fly high, Baktygul!

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First, sign in using your existing Amazon account or create a new one. Second, just go to smile.amazon.comNext, pick your charity by searching for “Global Connections.” Then, select Global Connections in University Park, PA from the list on the screen. You may also be asked if you understand that you must start at smile.amazon.com to support Global Connections. Finally, start shopping!

Thank you for considering this. We really appreciate it. 

Know the elected Global Connections’ officers

Robert (Bob) Persiko was re-elected Global Connections’ president at the November 9 general membership meeting. This is Bob’s third term as president. 

Anna Borisova de Valdez was chosen to be the new secretary. Marco Damasceno is the new public relations officer. Kieran Holland will remains the vice-president, and Bruce Truitt will continue as treasurer. All the elected are volunteers. 

During the meeting, the members also approved changes in the Global Connections bylaws.

English Teachers Needed

Global Connections currently offers one weekly English class, conducted virtually, whose members are at the intermediate-to-advanced level. We might offer a more basic English class if we have a teacher and sufficient students to justify the offering. The target audience would likely be immigrants whose children are taking ESL classes in school. The other possibility is one-on-one tutoring in English. We already have a couple of GC members who are serving as tutors in this way. Having a “stable” of teachers who feel capable and are willing to engage in this way would enable us to respond to requests from public institutions. If you are interested, please contact Deb Leo, [email protected].

Volunteer interpreters and translators

We are often asked if we have any members who could volunteer to interpret for an individual in the community who doesn’t speak English. The need is occasional, and most requests come from the State College Area School District for cases involving immigrant families of enrolled students. So far, the languages have included Portuguese, Farsi, Vietnamese and Thai. We would like to establish a list of volunteer interpreters in Global Connections. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact Bob Persiko, [email protected].