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Students

Student born in the former Soviet Union shares her struggle for freedom, desire to build a better world

December 5, 2009

Olga Mesiats is an undergraduate with a double major in economics and finance who was born in the former Soviet Union. She values freedom, and dreams of completing her degree to help rebuild transition countries, like Belarus.

Olga Mesiats in Moscow during December 2007. In the background is the Kremlin and Red Square.

In her own words . . .

“When I was born, I involuntarily was submerged into the communist culture with religion being rejected and names of Stalin and Lenin worshiped. By my first grade, I learned how to blend in and think like everyone else.

“By the end of my first grade, as the portraits of Lenin were removed from the classrooms and the U.S.S.R. collapsed, I was told to explore my individuality and learn to think democratically. I was confused. Who was I, and what did I believe in?

In search of individuality, values

“At 17, I packed my bags and moved away from my family and friends, in search of my individuality and values. I found them in the Christian culture prevailing at a new school, LCC International University, located in the neighboring democratic country of Lithuania.

“In Lithuania, I saw the way people should be treated and decided to make a change. I became an active member of the youth opposition organization, Molodoi Front, fighting for the establishment of Belarusan democracy With every offensive word I heard from the police officers in Belarus, with every physical punishment I received, I became stronger.

Political asylum in U.S.

With each tear I dropped, I knew there was something bigger for me. “I then escaped the torturous darkness of my past, claiming political asylum and finding my shelter here in the United States. With my admission to CSU about two years ago, I discovered that I have a passion for statistical research and data analysis.

“Living in the United States, I still cherish my dream to contribute to rebuilding and restructuring transition countries, like Belarus. Ultimately, I plan to work for a nongovernment organization that focuses on transition countries, because I believe that a better future of the world, free of economic crisis, can be achieved only by building the infrastructure and confidence of the developing world.

'Now I know where I belong'

“Now I know where I belong. My priorities are being free and letting others enjoy this freedom of mine. Being a part of the CSU community is a great stepping stone to my bright future.”

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Originally published in the Fall 2009 College of Liberal Arts Newsletter.