Damira Hayrullina
Student, Wright State University
December 2011

My story: “I’m from Urgench, Uzbekistan, and I’ve been here six and a half years. I got a scholarship to be an exchange student in high school, and I went to Centerville for my senior year. I then went to Sinclair for three years and got my degree in interior design and worked there also. Before I graduated, I’d already been accepted to Sinclair, so I just had to go home, get a student visa for college, and come back. I worked for Sherwin-Williams as a color consultant after and then went to Wright State, where I’m studying organizational leadership for my bachelor’s.”

On difficulties faced by immigrant students: “When I came here, during the first year language was a bit of a barrier, but when you’re around people it becomes pretty easy. I don’t think any of my friends have had difficulties except financially…for international student, I think everyone would agree it’s a lot more expensive to go to school.”

On community involvement: “Every April, I work with Rebuilding Dayton Together. I’ve been doing that for five years. It’s all women; they choose a person who needs work done on their house and is not capable of doing it. We go early in the morning and work all day, and it’s everything from painting the inside to landscaping the outside…whatever they need done. I like helping out, and it’s fun.”

Why Dayton? “Dayton is┬ásmall enough, in a way, that you kind of get to know everybody. And Sinclair is one of the places that attracts people to Dayton because it’s a great communiy school, and the amount of international students is growing there. I met most of my international friends at Sinclair. They’re extremely welcoming toward international students, and the best thing here is starting your education.”