Malika Burieva, a first-generation Uzbek American, is passionate about the cultural heritage that she said has “made me into the person that I am today.” The junior majoring in communications and minoring in graphic design will spend her summer in Uzbekistan studying Uzbek at the Critical Language Institute, sponsored by The Melikian Center at Arizona State University as the recipient of a Gilman Scholarship Award.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program seeks to support undergraduates who might not have the opportunity to study or intern abroad due to financial constraints. The $4,000 award will support Burieva’s on-site study of Uzbek this summer for eight weeks.
“The ability to go to Uzbekistan through a prestigious Gilman award is an honor,” Burieva said. “I’m most excited to see the country and its essence and experience it all for the whole summer I’m there. I hope to fully learn the Uzbek language and become completely proficient in it. I’m fluent in conversational Uzbek since I speak it with my family,” she said, adding that the trip will enable her to broaden her language skills to be comfortable speaking in a more professional context.
Connecting to Her Uzbek Roots
Burieva also looks forward to connecting with each and every one of her relatives in Uzbekistan, saying: “They all know I’m going to be in the country this summer and are incredibly excited to see me. I know this wonderful opportunity will be educational, exciting and yet emotional because I will be seeing my family for the first time.”
“I have no doubt that Malika will employ the curiosity, energy and dedication she has demonstrated as an Adelphi student to hone her Uzbek and learn from every minute of her experience in Uzbekistan,” said Shannon Harrison, director of Adelphi’s Center for International Education. “She embodies Benjamin A. Gilman’s vision for students to be ‘a contributor rather than spectator in the international community’ and will use her global competencies to be an agent of change and a leader.”
As a member of the Levermore Global Scholars (LGS) program, Burieva enjoys meeting and learning about people from all over the world. She was one of eight students from the LGS program selected for a 10-day, immersive, all-expenses-paid trip to India this past January as part of the 2023 Bhisé Global Learning Experience, established by Bharat Bhisé, MBA ’78, CEO and founder of Bravia Capital.
Burieva was excited to gain a firsthand perspective on the historic intertwining of the Uzbek and Indian cultures by visiting the two countries.
Her long-term goal is to become a Certified Tourism Ambassador ™ for Uzbekistan to expand tourism and introduce more people to the country.
Recognizing that it will take time to achieve this, she wants to begin as a journalist who creates content. “I want to write, create videos and edit,” she explained.
A Social Media Presence
Burieva described first creating online content during the 2020 pandemic lockdown as a “wonderful accident that led me to strengthen my Uzbek roots. It’s been the best thing to happen in my life because it brought me many opportunities.” She’s a vibrant presence, boasting numerous followers on Instagram and TikTok, and has been asked to participate in many events and has been the subject of numerous articles. For example, her style savviness was recognized by Cultural Style Week, which named her the 2022 international brand ambassador representing Central Asia, and by StylzMag, which interviewed her for a feature story. “Going to Uzbekistan through Gilman will be great for me because many of my followers want content in Uzbekistan.
“I could talk about my Uzbek heritage all day,” she enthused. “I’m so passionate about my culture and I want more people to understand it. It’s a beautiful country with great history and culture—and I can’t wait to visit it this summer.”