New student Madina Konovalova talks about growing up in Turkmenistan and arriving at CIU

For me,Turkmenistanhas a lot of warm and unforgettable memories. Ashgabat, the city where I was born and where grew up, is the place where I spent some of the most wonderful years of my life. This country has warmed me with the most gentle rays of the sun. This is my home, and I would like to tell you about this wonderful country.

I was born in 1992, during the breakup of the Soviet Union, and in those years the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries broke away from Russia and became independent. Fortunately, I was quite young when these events began to occur, and I did not see all of the horror that prevailed in our country and around the world. My mom told me that even in such difficult times, Turkmenistan did not lose its ‘face’ and the country survived. It did not break, it continued to exist and flourish with each passing year. Now Turkmenistan is an independent, neutral state with a developed economy and political system, and a moral and ethical society. The people of Turkmenistan are very good people and they honour their customs, traditions and culture

My earliest memories occur in 1996 when I was four years old. At this time my mother and my aunt took me and my sister in the park, which was located on the edge of town. We ran through the grass and enjoyed the warm rays of the June sun. At that time, the park seemed to me extraordinarily big, although I now realise that I could run across it in ten minutes. Since then, Ashgabat has changed completely. It has expanded in size many times, but it still contains the huge parks. Every week, on weekends, the townspeople gather in them for picnics, relaxing on the grass, with kids riding on swings, and everywhere you hear their laughter. I still love to walk in parks like this to this day.

Perhaps the most important event in my life happened in 1999 when my mother took my hand and led me to my first lesson in school. It was an unforgettable time, the best moment in my life. Although the school did not have good equipment, many classes had broken windows and in winter it was terribly cold, I would never trade those years for anything else. Today, all the schools have been rebuilt and the classes are equipped with the latest technology, from the offices of literature to the physics and chemistry classrooms. A lot of schools are also equipped observatories, so that children can discover the new, unknown world of the cosmos.

In February 2011 I flew toCyprus. My sister also studies atCyprusInternationalUniversityand maybe this why I chose this place. The kinship that exists between us is very important to me. At first it took a long time to get to know this new place with its totally different people, and to overcome the language barrier. But I managed to learn English over in three months at the preparatory school, which I entered immediately after enrollment. Now I am a freshman and I like this place very much. The only problem I had was with the food, which seemed very unusual when I first arrived.

I could talk about my memories of my homeland and my impressions of Cyprus for a long time. But I will say only one more thing: learn, enjoy life, but so do in moderation so in the future there will be nothing that you will be ashamed of.