Make sure that you don’t miss out on your chance to do volunteer work! It will help you explore new places and discover opportunities which you didn’t even dream about.
Madina Tuhbatullina ‘14 (pictured below)
Dashoguz, Turkmenistan/ Lowville, NY
Education: High School Student
After Madina returned from her FLEX year, she decided to share her recent American drama club experience with the students of her high-school by staging a play based on the well-loved story ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Together with her friend, a participant of the 3-month U.S. College Preparation Session run by American Councils in Turkmenistan and a volunteer at the Dashoguz American Corner, Madina put together a comprehensible, easy script for the play that was accessible and fun for English language learners of different levels – and the production was off and running!
Auditions, although slow at first, speed up once students realized that the production decisions were entirely up to them and that they would even have a chance to design their own costumes. By the time the rehearsals started, Madina had a full set of actors aged 13-19. Each Sunday throughout April and May Madina and eight fellow students busily rehearsed. It wasn’t easy to get the intonation and words right at first, but with Madina’s help everyone managed to learn the script by heart. Other volunteers worked with the performers to think outside of the box with costumes. With upcycling in mind, the performers designed costumes made out of unused households items, like boxes, bags, and old clothes.
The performance was held on May 31 – ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at the American Corner in Dashoguz. The audience, primarily made up of peers, enjoyed the production and supported the young actors. ‘We worked as a team and by the end of the event we became really good friends. It was so much fun that next year we are planning to do another English-language production, but with a more complicated script,’ says Madina.
Although next year’s priority will be preparing for university exams, Madina hopes to fulfill her promise to make the drama club and annual event. Madina will take part in the U.S. College Preparation Session this year and aspires to apply to U.S. universities for her undergraduate studies. Feeling much more confident and inspired because of her FLEX experience she dreams of becoming a novelist.
Her message to FLEX alumni: Make sure that you don’t miss out on your chance to do volunteer work! It will help you explore new places and discover opportunities which you didn’t even dream about.
Article compiled by Tatyana Movshevich