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!