Overcoming a setback

Bulgarian student Velislava(Photo: Almagul Magambetova)

Bulgarian student Velislava
(Photo: Almagul Magambetova)

“Getting the lesson is how you move forward. It’s how you enrich your spirit.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Life has so many lessons to teach us. One of these lessons is overcoming a setback, the lesson that teaches us to start again from zero.

Velislava is a 22-year-old international student from Bulgaria studying business administration at Kangnam University. She came to Korea in 2013 after receiving a scholarship from the Shimjeon Foundation.

She had always wanted to study abroad. “Studying in another country,” she says, “without family support, and gaining international experience is the real school that can teach you how to live an independent life.” In 2009 she finished high school and applied to five universities in Australia. She got accepted to four of them and started to prepare documents for the most favorable one, one of the top universities in that country. She finished bartender courses and got certification in order to have a part-time job in Australia. Paying tuition and making almost all the necessary preparations, she had difficulty getting a visa. She went back to the embassy almost every week, always with “one more” required document, and ultimately missed all of the university admission deadlines.

Students in Bulgaria are able to enroll in university only in the fall semester. Missing the application deadline for even local universities forced her to wait for one year till September 2010. “Psychologically, it is difficult when your plans don’t work. But I never gave up. I decided to spend my gap year productively. I was always interested in Korea and had always wanted to get a masters degree here,” she says. “So, I used my time studying the Korean language.”

In September 2010, Velislava enrolled in a Bulgarian university as a Korean studies major. That same year she applied for the Korean Government Scholarship (NIIED). She applied three times between 2010 and 2012 and was rejected. “I intended to get a scholarship and study without financial support from my parents,” she said. Finally in 2013 she received a letter from the Shimjeon Foundation inviting her to continue her education at Kangnam University. “I waited for 4 years and totally changed my life’s plan. I had to pass this setback in order to fulfill my dream, but I did it!”

Life is too short to be sad and have regrets about something that went wrong. Velislava’s story proves that life is full of opportunities for those who are willing to meet the challenge and go through it.

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