Scholar Spotlight: Mariia Shevchenko Dreams Big Despite Wartime Challenges

Hudson Global Scholar: Mariia Shevchenko
Hudson Global Scholars program: Providence Country Day U.S. Dual Diploma
Home: Ukraine

When war came to Mariia’s hometown of Kyiv, Ukraine, her family was in Romania. Ironically, they were due to fly home the same day the war started, but because the sky was closed, their flight was cancelled. Her family would remain in Romania for nearly a year. Mariia suddenly found herself in a new reality in which she “had to replan everything.”

During the tumultuous time that has followed, one of the few constants for Mariia has been her studies. As a U.S. Dual Diploma scholar completing her high school in her native Ukraine and virtually with Hudson Global Scholar’s partner Providence Country Day School in partnership with Centr Osvity Optima LLC, Mariia was already accustomed to learning online. Covid closures and lockdowns during her seventh-grade year had been the first disruptor to Mariia’s way of life. Online learning has offered continuity in otherwise unprecedented times.

Mariia chose to pursue the U.S. Dual Diploma program because, in her words, “my dreams were huge.” Mariia Shevchenko is now fifteen years old, a sophomore, and in her second year as a Hudson Global Scholar. She first heard about the U.S. Dual Diploma program before 9th grade and asked her parents about the opportunity, knowing it would support her future international ambitions.

One of the biggest benefits of the U.S. Dual Diploma program for Mariia is the flexibility. For a time, Mariia, her family, her grandmother, and her cat Lucas evacuated to Romania. Through hardship and homesickness, she was able to continue her studies. Since her return home to her beloved Kyiv, despite disruptions to connectivity and electricity, the program has been flexible enough for her to thrive as a student. Mariia has been grateful for the understanding that her instructors have shown her, extending deadlines when needed and responding to her needs.

For Mariia, the U.S. Dual Diploma program has already offered many opportunities. Though she has found all her classes interesting, her Introduction to Business course sparked new aspirations and goals, making her realize that she wants to pursue business in the future. Mariia hopes to attend an international business school and work in the hospitality industry, perhaps someday operating her own restaurant. She dreams of running a comfortable, welcoming eatery with a wide variety of cuisines. She reflects, “I’ve never found a perfect restaurant like this, so I want to open it myself.”

In her two years as a Hudson Global Scholar, Mariia has also enjoyed studying about world geography and various cultures. Taking web design courses introduced her to programming, a totally new field for her. She has learned about digital media and design. She describes her English literature class as complex and interesting. Her teachers have made the subjects interesting and accessible.

Mariia has made many connections and forged relationships as part of Hudson’s global student community. She’s built friendships with classmates who are living in different parts of her city and country. She even reunited with an acquaintance she had met before enrolling in the program who has become a good friend. Plus, her friend network now extends beyond Ukraine as she’s gotten to know classmates living in Mexico and Colombia.

This semester, Mariia is part of three Hudson Global Scholars (HGS) student-run clubs: Culture Corner, Language Club, and the HGS Ambassadors Program. As a Student Ambassador, she leads student clubs and activities. She also is paired with mentor in the company, and they work on her development goals, a project, and discuss her questions about university and beyond.

In Culture Corner, members share favorite things about their country, such as pictures of national costumes, national traditions, holidays, and more. The students meet to discuss unique aspects of their own country.

As a leader in the Language Club, Mariia shares monthly lessons about the beautiful Ukrainian language, explaining the alphabet and comparing it to English sounds. She includes some games and practical phrases to make it fun and useful for her classmates. As part of these clubs, Mariia loves the experience of seeing how many different cultures are represented in the Hudson Global Scholars community, reflecting many unique ambitions, experiences, and paths to choose.

Mariia’s alphabet slide from the Ukrainian language lesson she lead in the HGS Language Club.

Though the situation in Kyiv continues to be difficult and unpredictable for Mariia, she says, “enrolling in the U.S. Dual Diploma program was the best decision I could have ever made.”

The advice Mariia would give to those considering joining the Hudson Global Scholars program is based on a quote that she uses often in her life: If you risk nothing, you risk everything. She wants to encourage others to consider their own motivations, big and small, by listening to themselves and their ambitions: “Know what you are doing it for and do everything you can for this.” She says, “if you’re thinking about becoming a student and you are scared or not sure, you just have to start. Then you will adapt to everything.”

Hudson Global Scholars applauds Mariia for her commitment to her studies and is proud to support her big dreams!

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