In Kyrgyzstan, Munara was a well-respected, highly educated, professor of English with a Master’s in Linguistics. Recognized by her peers for her keen intellect and strong work ethic, she was promoted to English Department Head at a leading University—a rare and prestigious accomplishment for a woman in her country. Yet, despite her significant accomplishments and obvious intelligence, like many women under Kyrgyzstan’s authoritarian patriarchal rule, Munara faced serious gender discrimination and oppression.
When the chance to pursue a temporary project at Indiana University presented itself, the confident and determined linguist and mother seized the opportunity. Certain that her skills and experience would be valued elsewhere, and wanting to raise her young daughter in a place where she could pursue her dreams, once in the U.S. Munara sought asylum, and set out on a quest to claim a piece of the American dream for her little family.
But the dream soon became a nightmare. For four years Munara, while continuing to search for professional employment in her field, struggled to make ends meet by spending long hours driving a taxi. She sent out countless resumes, trying to find a position as an ESL instructor, but was told as a non-native speaker it was not likely she’d find one.
Munara refused to give up. She joined the Upwardly Global Job Seeker Program in 2010, approaching her job search with the same level of dedication and perseverance that helped her make her way to the U.S. By keeping in close touch with her Job Search Advisor, and applying the specialized advice and support she received, within seven months Munara landed a part-time medical interpreter job with a member of the UpGlo Employer Network. With her unique multilingual skills and intercultural knowledge, it wasn’t long before her new employer recognized the tremendous value someone with Munara’s skills, education, and experience brought to the company. Now in a new full-time role as Operations Manager, Munara has traded in low wages and endless hours driving a taxi for a challenging and meaningful position complete with a healthy salary and full benefits, and that allows her family time with her daughter.