Lika Tsintsadze (’19): ‘The decision to come to AUBG was one of the best decisions of my life"
Lika Tsintsadze is a Georgian alumna who graduated from AUBG in 2019. She double-majored in Political Science and International Relations & European Studies. Currently, Lika is a USAID Good Governance Initiative Fellow at the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. She works at the Infrastructure Policy and Development Partners Relations department and recently co-founded a non-governmental organization in Georgia, that aims to empower marginalized groups through innovative and sustainable projects.
Why did you decide to come to AUBG?
I have always been the biggest fan of liberal arts education. Quality education was also my priority. I wanted to get the most out of my college experience – to experience living in an international community, to experiment with the courses. I would have never imagined studying and living in another country, [I wanted] to be more independent, more open to differences, and adaptable to changes. AUBG could offer me all of those things, so it wasn’t difficult to make the decision. In fact, I consider this decision to come to AUBG as one of the best decisions of my life so far.
What did you study at AUBG and why did you decide to pursue those fields?
Initially, I came to AUBG intending to study Political Science and International Relations only. However, thanks to the liberal arts system, I had an opportunity to enroll in the European Studies courses and decided to pursue a double-major. Georgia has strong Euro-Atlantic aspirations and orientation and I realized that my degree in European Studies would help me better understand the EU-Georgian relations. I think that the biggest advantage of the Political Science and European Studies department at AUBG is that professors stimulate critical thinking and they help us see beyond facts and statistics.
Any memories you would like to share from the time you spent at AUBG?
My experience at AUBG cannot be described in several words, or even in several pages. When looking back at those three years (I spent one year abroad, ISEP, and Erasmus semesters), I can recall only positive experiences. What can be better than living on campus surrounded by your friends, taking classes and studying things you are passionate about, and participating in various activities regularly? Every day was unique and different at AUBG. During my sophomore year, I worked as the Resident Assistant and this brought so much joy and diversity to my life. I was quite an introvert when I arrived at AUBG but the RA job made me more open and proactive. I also loved working at the Admissions Office as a Student Assistant. In fact, the Admissions Office was my first ever paid-job and I think it set extremely high standards for the future. The biggest highlight and also the biggest regret of my college journey was definitely the theater. I took the beginning acting class during my very last semester at AUBG. This feeling of walking on the stage was the most liberating, fulfilling, and the unusual phenomenon I have ever experienced in life. Working with professor Nedyalko Delchev was an amazing learning experience.
Do you have any suggestions about places to visit in Blagoevgrad and around Bulgaria?
I think that Bulgaria is beautiful and has so much to offer in terms of nature, culture, and delicious cuisine. I would definitely recommend traveling more around the country. My favorite place is probably Plovdiv, but I also recommend hiking in the mountains, visiting the Seven Rila lakes, and Rila Monastery. If you love skiing, Bansko is less than an hour's drive from campus.
If you could return to AUBG for a day what is one thing you would want to do?
I would start my morning in Polka, with my favorite chicken sandwich and berry smoothie. Next, I would see my favorite professors and even attend a class or two. Later, I would sit on the ABF loan to chill and read a book, order espresso with milk from the ABF cafe, and meet the friends who are still at AUBG for a lovely reunion. I would stop by the Admissions Office and the Library to give a warm hug to the most amazing people who work there! I wouldn't leave without stopping by the Skapto front desks either. Finally, I would put on my headphones and walk on the other side of the Bistritsa river... This question was painful, it made me remember how much I miss AUBG...
What advice would you give to any prospective students from Georgia?
If you are eager to learn, grow as a person and as a professional, and if you are ready to get out of your comfort zone, don't think too much and go to AUBG. You will be amazed at how much it has to offer and how vibrant and interesting college life can be. Take every single opportunity AUBG has for you - enroll in courses you thought you would never take, join student clubs, and experience working at different AUBG offices. Do exchange semesters and go on Work and Travel if you want to see how strong, independent, and amazing you are... Make friends from different countries and socialize, socialize, socialize! Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t overthink your future. Just try to find your passion and believe me, you will do great after graduation!