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6,216 miles from home

Nico Fiscella
@Nico_Fiscella

Farrukhbek Varisov is a first-year student at Springfield College from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Varisov is regarded as a brother, son, grandson, and a great friend. Currently enrolled as a criminal justice major, he has big dreams of helping the criminal justice system in either the United States or his homeland. 

Varisov is 6,216 miles away from his native land, but he has created a home away from home at Springfield College. 

“I guess it’s the people,” Varisov proclaimed when asked about his favorite aspect of his hometown of Tashkent. He likes walking through his home city and looking at all the old buildings and agriculture around him. 

“I enjoy the weather, looks, and nature,” Varisov said. “That’s what I like about my country.” 

The old parks and buildings in Tashkent are similar in style and appearance to the buildings on campus at Springfield College. 

“It is absolutely gorgeous,” Varisov said of the campus, comparing it to his home city, both of which wield the old style. He has also seen similarities in the people from his city and Springfield. Both sets of individuals are outgoing and caring towards Varisov. 

“It is a trait that people here and (people in) my country share,” he said.

Varisov isn’t the only member of his family who’s away from home. His sister lives in Bochum, Germany, studying bioinformatics. His mom is at home in Tashkent with the rest of Varisov’s family. The first-year student appreciates everything his family has done for him and attributes much of his success to them. 

While Varisov misses his entire family, he particularly feels a sense of close attachment to his great grandmother.

“I really miss her right now,” he said of Sevar Karamatullakhodjaeva, his great grandmother. 

Varisov would often sing to his 90-year-old great grandmother and enjoyed the time spent with her when he was home. He has learned a lot from her, and both his mother and great grandmother speak English, as they have worked with the U.S. Embassy. 

When deciding where he would go for the next chapter of his life, Varisov had specific boxes he wanted to check on his figurative college wish list. His mother had attended UMass Amherst, and Varisov enjoys the weather in New England. 

“I didn’t want a state university with thousands of thousands of people,” Varisov said. 

Given that Springfield is a small city and campus, it was the perfect place for him. He enjoys the freedom and acceptance students at Springfield have. 

“No people are suppressed by any of their views,” Varisov said of the culture at Springfield.

Before entering the Springfield family, Varisov was afraid that some may think of him differently because of where he is from. However, Springfield College has dissolved any fears of being stereotyped. 

“I might be the guy with wrongful ideas in his mind,” was one thought Varisov feared people would have about him. As time progressed, he realized the people on campus were welcoming and caring.

It is the people that surround him at Springfield College who keep him feeling at home here. 

“I am from Uzbekistan, not Pakistan, not Afghanistan,” Varisov said. 

One of his goals is to spread awareness about his country, and abolish the stereotypes that many individuals have regarding his country.

“One guy can destroy the perspective on a whole country,” he said. 

Uzbekistan is a welcoming country, a country that cares for its people. It is overlooked by many due to its geographical neighbors.

Another reason Varisov chose Springfield College is due to its criminal justice program. He greatly appreciates what assistant professor of criminal justice Gary L. Berte has taught him in his brief time here at Springfield. 

“The class is nowhere (near) anything I’ve had… it is pretty interactive and very engaging,” Varisov said. 

Varisov has his eyes on helping reform the criminal justice system in his own home country.

“There are a lot of things that must be done in my country’s own criminal justice system. It wouldn’t be a bad aspiration for me to come home and make a difference,” he said. 

Varisov is in no rush to find a job outside of school, and he will be sure to weigh his options before making any decisions. His current plan is to get his Master’s Degree, and Springfield College’s five-year plan for criminal justice majors is the perfect fit for the future Varisov is hoping for.

When asked about Varisov, fellow first-year student Bonifacius Sidharta had nothing but positive things to say about him.

“Farruk is one of the nicest guys I have met,” Sidharta said. “No matter what it may be, you can always go to him if you need help.” 

Sidharta and Varisov both live on the fourth floor of Massasoit Hall and are good friends. 

With big dreams in mind, Varisov has placed himself in a situation to succeed. He has enjoyed every moment he’s had at Springfield thus far and could not be more grateful for those around him and the years he still has ahead. 

Photo Courtesy Farrukhbek Varisov

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