Mariam Geladze (’16): 'AUBG has enabled me to live an independent, interesting and meaningful life'
Mariam Geladze is a Georgian alumna who graduated from AUBG in 2016. She majored in Journalism and Mass Communications and minored In Philosophy. After graduation, Mariam has worked in the fields of journalism and graphic design. She also joined Tbilisi Pride and co-organized the very first pride week in Georgia. Currently, she is living in Sofia and working at TELUS International Bulgaria. Read our interview with Mariam to learn more about her time at AUBG as well as her life after graduation.
Why did you decide to come to AUBG?
I knew from the start that I wanted to study abroad. I was eager to get familiar with a different culture, meet new people, and experience what it's like to have an independent student life. I did some research and found out that AUBG could give me all of that and more. Studying at AUBG would allow me to get a high-quality education, become involved with various on-campus activities, and establish friendships with people from all over the world. Also, In AUBG, under the Liberal Arts educational system, you are free to explore different subject areas until you find your true passion. This was very beneficial for me since I was not sure which major or minor I wanted to pursue.
What did you study at AUBG and why did you decide to pursue such fields?
As I mentioned, I was not sure which major or minor I wanted to pursue. That is why for two and a half years I was just taking courses that I was interested in. Before my second semester of Junior year, I looked through my completed courses and realized that I was most passionate about multimedia, writing, photography, graphic design, video making, philosophy, and history. That's when it became obvious to me that I wanted to major in Journalism and Mass Communication and minor in Philosophy.
How has your career developed after graduation?
After I graduated, I worked in many different fields. I was a journalist for some time; I translated publications; I did graphic design for different NGOs, mostly human rights organizations. The most exceptional and rewarding has been joining the organization called Tbilisi Pride. I co-organized the very first pride week that was held in Tbilisi in 2019. Ever since October 2020, I have been living in Sofia and working at TELUS International Bulgaria.
Any memories you would like to share from the time you spent at AUBG?
I had so many adventures as a student, but right now when I think about it, the fondest memories that come to my mind are simply all those times I spent with my international friends that I hardly ever see anymore. It is so important to appreciate the moments of just sitting on a balcony with your friends and talking about random things. As students, we are often so stressed from studying that we forget to value such moments. I often remember my favorite professors, and the huge part they played in shaping my values and worldview. I am forever grateful that I have met all these amazing people.
Do you have any suggestions about places to visit in Blagoevgrad and around Bulgaria?
I think Blagoevgrad has changed significantly since I graduated so I should be asking this question to current students. As for Bulgaria as a whole, there are all kinds of places to visit: caves, forests, mountains, beaches. The closest beauty to Blagoevgrad is of course Rila Monastery and the Rila lakes. Apart from visiting places in Bulgaria, it's a great idea to travel to the Greek beaches that are closer to Blagoevgrad than the Bulgarian coastal areas on the Black Sea.
If you could return to AUBG for a day what is one thing you would want to do?
It's so hard to choose just one thing to do, but I know exactly how I would plan the whole day. I would attend professor Lucci's and Cohen's classes, talk to professor Homer about Sex Pistols or Patti Smith during a break, eat on the balcony of our canteen, go to the gym, visit the Panitza library where all my favorite books are, especially the basement. That is the perfect way to relive student years without the stress of exams.
What advice would you give to any prospective students from Georgia?
If they're thinking about studying at AUBG, I would ask them not to hesitate, as studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime. Apart from all the fun you will have at AUBG, you will also have the opportunity to develop your skills and gain knowledge. Both of these are so important especially for our region, which is full of political and social turmoil. AUBG has helped me with all aspects of activism that I am involved in. Thanks to our university, I can produce all kinds of multimedia material for online and offline campaigns to raise awareness on different social and political issues. Studying at AUBG has enabled me to live an independent, interesting and meaningful life. That is why I believe that prospective students from Georgia or any other country should not take the opportunity to study at AUBG for granted.