Alumni Success Story: Zarina K.
Immigrating to the United States, Zarina lost her waitress job from the pandemic. Now, Zarina is working for a major company as a software developer making 6-figures!
The path to finding herself and getting her dream job was an obstacle-filled marathon for Zarina Kurtbedinova. She came to the US in 2015 as a young woman, with only dreams and ambition in her arsenal, trying to make a living for herself.
We will get to know more about the challenges she faced, how she persevered, and where she is now.
Zarina’s Pursuit of the American Dream
Leaving her home country, Ukraine, was a really difficult decision, especially since in their tradition, a girl leaving her home by herself was frowned upon. But she knew that if she wanted to thrive and follow her own dreams, she had to leave. Her dream was to move to the US, mostly because she is an English major and believed that she had the potential to become successful. Zarina is a visionary, she was always on the run to find something new and push herself forward.
The first time she tried to move to the US, her father stopped her. So she took her chance and left.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a flight attendant, but that never worked. When I grew up, I wanted to become an interpreter. I couldn’t find myself on the right path. When you run after the wrong things, it never feels right. I always imagined myself working with people in an office, being helpful to others. I wanted to be part of something greater than myself.
Coming to the US was just the beginning of her challenges. Being all alone in a foreign country can be quite alienating. Not to mention that finding a fulfilling job with no experience is almost impossible. For five to six years Zarina worked any job she could find to support herself. First, started working at a restaurant, which proved to be quite tough, so she found a job as an interpreter. For a few years, she interpreted and translated for hospitals and courts. Admittedly, this was an objectively good job, but she felt unfulfilled.
“Something inside me was telling me that this is not fulfilling. I felt empty”
After the pandemic started she met with a few friends to discuss career opportunities to try and help each other in these difficult times. One of her friends brought up CYDEO, telling stories about how it helped people change their lives and gave them a second chance. Her friend told her that she should go for it because she is ambitious and a fighter, so it would be a perfect place for her to grow..
At first, Zarina hesitated…
It is much easier to stay inside a comfort zone. The times were difficult, but she was still earning money, and she felt comfortable. But the pandemic made everything much more difficult. Zarina, much like many others, lost her job at the hospital because it closed, and she found herself feeling stuck. She needed some kind of a break so after one year of uncertainty, she finally decided to join an intro session.
How Zarina Persevered
When asked about what kept her going and why she didn’t give up, Zarina had a very inspiring answer:
“Even though I’m here by myself I was never someone who gives up. I’m rebellious and a fighter. I am the only daughter from my family who left, so I had to prove myself.
When you come to another country, you try to make it and you want to adapt as soon as possible. I had only one shot. Either I stay and provide for myself and find myself, or I pack my bags and go home.
A lot of bad things happened, I encountered a lot of challenges, but I never thought to give up, I had no other choice and I kept pushing forward.”- she says.
Joining the intro session was a revelation for Zarina. Once she stepped in, she decided that this was it. This was what she had been looking for.
“The atmosphere, the people, the whole idea of what it stands for, everything resonated with me” – she recalls.
Zarina says that it was not only the success stories that made her join but also the ideals that CYDEO stands for. It was not only about finding a job, but it was about giving people a chance to find themselves.
“This is for broken people like me” – she thought.
In her words
What do you miss most about CYDEO?
“The only thing I miss about CYDEO is being a student there! I always say that if I had a chance to enroll again, I would have done it a million times. I have an emotional connection with CYDEO because it came at a very low point in my life and it gave me so much. I had no friends, no close people. Surely, I did have friends but they weren’t in the same situation as me, so I felt like they couldn’t understand me. I felt lonely.
When I came to CYDEO I met people who were in the same situation as me. I met so many great people. The instructors supported me tremendously. My groupmates to this day remain my best friends, we are like family and we help each other with everything that we can. CYDEO was completely lifechanging, I am mad at myself for waiting for so long to enroll”
What Zarina is doing now
Zarina now works as a Software Quality Engineer for PayPal. She currently works as a backend tester for credit card applications.
After finishing her courses at CYDEO, she went into the market, not yet believing she could ever land such a big job. This was the first job that she applied for, it was her dream job and it seemed so out of reach. But there was nothing she could lose by applying, so with support from her peers and instructors, she was hopeful and applied.
“When I got the call from my recruiter telling me that they wanted to see me for a final round of interviews, it felt like a dream”
After the interviews, Zarina got a job offer!
“My life right now is great! I have nothing to complain about. I have everything I ever wanted!
Of course, I have other plans and goals now, but right now I am exactly where I always wanted to be. So now that I have achieved what I always dreamt of, I am trying to just live for now and enjoy my success. I am happy, thriving, and helping others. My family is extremely proud of me and love to see me being happy and finally having found myself”
If you are interested in learning more about how you can change the course of your life, click the link below to join a free intro session!Click here to sign up!