Welcome back Humans of AUBG! Let the awesome new semester begin! So many things to do, so many classes to take, so many memories to create!



The end or the beginning?

(Warning: following content might make you want to sing “12 days of Christmas” Carol. Do not be fooled!=)

On the last week of semester, AUBG gave to me:

Three projects,

two videos to edit,

one paper,

one finance exam I am absolutely clueless about,

one blog post,

two days until the deadline,

three cups of coffee drank for the last five hours,

4am on the clock,

one person going crazy,

Yes, the last one would be me!


Chaotic dance of numbers, financial statements, twitter comments and ethical principles can only mean one thing to me – the end of the semester, the beginning of finals and a long-awaited trip home. But this also means the end of many of my classes which became already oh-so-familiar and home-like! Except…my business classes! Which actually leaves me only with my Multimedia Journalism class in my favorites list!


Where should I even begin? MMJ has taught me a lot of things during this semester. I learned that classes at AUBG can be actually fun! I learned that fun also takes time and effort! I learned that a journalist is supposed to be a whole package, an all inclusive! It is not enough to interview a person and get the answer you need, the journalist also has to write a decent story based on gathered information, support the story with pictures, audio and video, make sure it is public and available by reaching audience through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and what else not? The knowledge we gained from technology/apps we used in this class is amazing and will probably stay with me forever. For example, I never really understood the concept of Twitter nor the people who like to update the world on their life in 120 characters.*wink if you’re a tweetah fellah* It just never made any sense to me. But guess what? Professor got me hooked on it! Thank you, Melody! Now I understand that Twitter is not just a public diary where some people write their personal life but also an incredible way of reaching different people around the world and finding these who have a mind of your own. It is simply incredible! I have about 100 followers and it is always interesting to see what they have to say and share with me.


It is always interesting to reread the posts you wrote in the beginning. Kind of like rereading your first grade diary – funny and nostalgic. My very very first post was about me talking about my personal journey, the purpose of this blog and the comfort zone I have to get out of. I can say that I am still going, still not sure where, but still going! I am one leg out of my comfort zone and I’m getting there! The blog was a blessing during the times when I had to calculate NPV and IRR with tax depreciations. It was a way of relaxation, reason to go out to talk to strangers, get to know them better and realize that I  actually enjoy writing! Did I answer my question “Who are we?” I would say yes! We are:

We are these amazing talking, thinking, breathing creatures! We are the walking books of past, present and the future. Each unique and beautiful. It is almost the end of the semester, end of most classes, end of year 2014, but not the end of my personal journey. I want to keep learning. I want to keep sharing. I want to keep writing. And as long you’re reading, I’ll keep sharing .

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“The best destination is your home”

Now that the semester is coming to its end, students start sleeping in the libraries and sneaky professors plan their revenge on those coffee-injected zombies, it is about high time to start planning a trip home.

Now I know, it is 17 more days to go, but all these Christmas decorations around the student campus and Blagoevgrad, festive songs, bake sales and a cold weather making you hide somewhere warm with a cup of hot cocoa, makes you want to pack your suitcases and just…leave. Leave some place warm. Leave and go home.

“The best destination is your home” – said Ingkar in the middle of her interview about traveling.

I can’t say more but agree with this graduating Human of AUBG from Kazakhstan. Ingkar Sarseke traveled a lot across Europe and North America. The list of the countries that she had visited is quite long and includes Italy, France, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Czech Republic, U.A.E. Turkey and what else not!

“Every country inspires you in its own way. Every country gives you an incredible experience. The kind of experience that stays with you forever, and the one which you can take back home” – says Ingkar.

Ingkar always dreamed of traveling. However, now that she has spent four years abroad, all she dreams about is going back home. She wants to implement all the valuable experience she gained from traveling to make Kazakhstan flourish even more. Working on Martha’s Vineyard, USA, during her summer break, has opened Ingkar’s eyes on many things she wants to bring home.

“As I grow older, I think I become more patriotic” – says Ingkar.

To make her feel a little less homesick, I decided to play an old silly game with her. You know, the one where you say a word and the other person has to say an association with this word! Remember?! So I said (M) and she said (I) and it goes…

M: USA?             I: Work!

M: Paris?            I: Coffee!

M: Rome?           I: Pasta!

M: Hungary?       I: Kids!

M: Greece?         I: Santorini!

M: Santorini?      I: Sea!

M: Austria?         I: Order!

M: Kazakhstan?  I: Home!

M: Bulgaria?       I: Friends!

Humans of AUBG? I am done for today(:


Today I have a very sweet post for my very sweet readers! Did it sound too cheesy?=D Nope, neither kashkaval nor sirene is involved, I promise!

Today I want to tell you about another incredibly interesting and talented fourth-year Human of AUBG, Madina Amandykova, who is, not only a future-to-be business lady but also is an amazing baker!

Madina started baking four years ago, when she left her home to study at AUBG.

“At that time, I was homesick and really missed my mom’s pastry and the kitchen I was so used to, so I thought why not make it myself. So this is how I started baking!” – says Madina.

According to her, baking is another form of an art and expression. Baking helps Madina not only to impress her friends and family but also to relieve stress.

“It helps me to take my mind off problems and relax,” – says Madina – “It also, I think, develops my personality. I create something and I like to see that because it is something I made with my own hands.”

Living on campus is very different from living in a house or apartment with an equipped kitchen (for those of you who enjoys a comfort of their own home, not knowing the hard life of ours) You have to, first, have a desire after classes, a strong one I would say, to go to the kitchen, WHICH IS in the other half of the building, WHICH IS on the third floor, WHICH YOU have to take stairs with your bags full of ingredients, if the elevator does not work! So, a strong desire is a must…or hunger!

However, even if you have it, you cannot just enter the Skaptopara Residence Hall Kitchen! You have to sign-up for it! Preferably 2 days prior! And then you get an exclusive access to our kitchen, which you have to adapt to in order to use it! Therefore, it was natural for me to ask Madina: WHY and HOW?

“It is a hard question with a tough answer! You have to reserve the kitchen in advance, plan hours. I was not used to this oven that we have in the dormitory, so I needed time to figure it out. But, basically, what I did was: I went to the store, bought all the utensils that I needed for baking and brought them to the kitchen.
You just have to want to bake very much, and it might sound cheesy, but you have to put your love in it! Because when you really like something, despite of all the obstacles, you can do it!” – shares Madina.

For now, she enjoys baking, gathering as much inspiration as she can (click here to see one of her favorite baker’s blog – Manuela Kjeilen) and inspiring others. The latest trend she is interested in are fruit bouquets. Who knows, maybe we will see her creating these amazing pieces of art very soon!



(photo by: www.fruitbouquetstatenisland.com)

Madina Amandykova, the local bakery wizard, is not sure whether she will connect her future with baking but would love to have a nice small bakery of her own, when the time is right.

If you are still craving for some sweetness, check out Madina’s instagram: beckson_m where she posts all of her amazing creations using #MadinasKitchen! Warning! NSFW! Makes you drool!

Hope I made you hungry enough. Now go reserve that kitchen!

Bake it till you make it!

xo Karina

Human to Human

Now that the midterms are halfway through, stress is slowly fading away and sleep takes more than three hours a day, I start realizing how fast time went by. In this chaos, sometimes, you forget to eat, call your parents or notice humans around. By the fourth year, I stopped meeting new people and being interested in lives of those who I got to know during my first year here.

However, this blog, my mini “get back to people, Karina” project, helped me to remember how exciting and fascinating it is to meet new people. To simply talk to them. To understand them.

Each and every one had a story to tell. The only thing I had to do was ask. Each and every one of them taught me something new and I highly value every single detail they shared with me. This blog helped me to get to know so many interesting people! And gave me an opportunity to not only learn something new about strangers but even about roommates of four years, friends and close ones I thought I knew everything about.

I did not interview as many humans of AUBG as I would like, but I believe, it is just a beginning. The beginning of my, or I would rather say, our journey! Those who I did have an honor to interview taught me to stay open, curious, love, live and enjoy the ride called “life”.

The hyperactive Belgian Basile, taught me to pursue your dreams. To be who you actually want to be. That made me think: do I really want to connect my future with business or do I want to become a designer, artist or journalist I always dreamt of being?

The flying vampire Nazima, taught me to keep going forward, no matter how many lemons the life gives you.

The expert in long-distance relationships, Mandukhai, taught me to never give up on your relationships, even if your loved ones are so far away.

The persistent guitar player, Sagyndyk, taught me that everyone has a super power. You just have to look inside yourself:

“I believe you can achieve lots of stuff without any super power. You just need to concentrate and focus on things you really want to do. That’s it! I don’t believe in super powers. I believe in motivation and persistence.”

The bubbly sun of cold Russia, Aita, taught me to understand how marvelous human beings are and how much we are able to achieve if we want something.

The tragedy of Boris Kodikov, taught me that humans have to stay together, understand and support each other in both good and bad times.

Who are we? We are humans. Doesn’t matter AUBG, Princeton or Zimbabwe. We all are humans. Incredible open-walking books of history, present and future. Humans who have needs to love, live, laugh, cry and share. And as long as people would be there to share, I would be listening.

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The Human we will always remember about

“Boris Kodikov, a first-year AUBG student, has passed away around 1 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2014, after falling from the balcony of the ABF Student Center. AUBG’s President Kevin Aspegren confirmed this information, at a meeting held for students, faculty and staff in BAC’s Auditorium at 2:30 p.m. on the same day” – reports AUBG Daily.

It was one of those October days which teases you with its warmth, bringing back the nostalgic memories of long passed summer. I had a morning class, and although, it was hard to wake up, I knew I had to. So did half of the sleeping AUBG campus. Another morning. Another warm October day which did not fortell the tragedy later that day.

The death of a first-year Human of AUBG shocked the whole already-up-and-wondering AUBG community. That tragic Thursday afternoon, Boris Kodikov fell from the balcony of ABF Student Center.  The classes were cancelled for the rest of the week, professors and AUBG staff were offering help for anyone who needed to talk, although probably were needing counseling themselves. It was a tough and tragic day.

“…it will be a tough semester” – said President of AUBG, Kevin Aspegren, when giving a good-bye speech.

One week passed after the incident, in which we lost one of our AUBG family members, but not many talks about it, probably, because there is not much to say. However, today, for my Multimedia Journalism midterm, I decided to bring back the topic and ask couple of students about their first reaction and opinion on what happened.

My first interviewee was Gaukhar Murzagaliyeva, second-year Human of AUBG from Kazakhstan, who said:

“I just could not believe it, really. I was in my history class in Main Building, when someone came and cancelled the classes. I was confused. But after I came to campus I saw a lot of people standing outside. My friend told me there was a boy who fell from the balcony and died. I was shocked.”

Nelly Zhakhyan, sophomore from Russia, also shared her first reaction on the passed tragedy:

“I saw my roommate and she told me what happened. At first I thought it was some kind of joke but then I thought that she is not a person to joke around. After I saw a lot of students outside and after our President Kevin Aspegren told us the details, it finally hit me. I was shocked for few hours. If you think about it, that boy was a regular student that morning and after couple of hours he was gone.

I saw a human figure drawn with white chalk on the ground. It was horrible because I saw it only in the movies and have never seen it in real life.” – says Nelly.

Nelly and Gaukhar both agreed that it was very nice of professors to offer their help in counseling students. They said it was a good idea because for students, who are away from home, professors are the best people to talk to about your problems and concerns.

Today is also one of the warm October Thursdays. Today is one week since we lost one of our fellow students. Today I am writing a blog post in the memory of Boris Kodikov, first year Human of AUBG. Rest in peace, Boris, rest in peace.

Photo by Igor Myakotin / Hundreds of students honored a fallen student during a candlelight vigil.

(video and audio for my MMJ class)

Sun of Yakutsk

Aita Romanova is a third-year Human of AUBG from Yakutsk, Russia. She is a passionate student majoring in Journalism and minoring in Information Systems. Although Aita is coming from such a cold part of Russia, Yakutsk where the temperature in winter can get up to -50* celsius, her personality is very bubbly and warm. She gladly agreed to give an interview for my blog and even invited to her room.

Her room was filled with dimmed light from lamps and felt oh-so-cozy. From the first glance on Aita’s walls, I understood she is into decoration (I spot these kind of people right away, because I am one myself *way to be shy, Karina*) and art. However, I had a feeling she was into so much more than that.

My curiosity left me impatient, so I asked:

– What is your passion in life, Aita?

She answered smiling:

“I would say my passion in life is to constantly look for something new to learn. I have many hobbies and they all started from me wanting to learn them. This is how I started art, drawing, musical instruments, filmmaking, hair dressing, writing. So my passion brought all those little things together. So yeah, my passion is to keep looking for new things to learn!”

Aita is a student assistant at AUBG Admission office (social media promoter), cartoonist for Defacto university newspaper, bass guitarist of a local musical band which includes our Spanish professor Yavor, ukelele master of a newborn AUBG band and a member of such clubs as Better Community Club, AUBG Documentary Movie Club and SAGE. Not to forget mention her awesome style and rainbow hair colors, this girl is a definite contribution to society of interesting humans of AUBG.

(to be continued)