“The interdisciplinary programs at Transylvania showed me how global systems of power affect people.”
Vika Safarian '12 began reaching out to the global community as a Transylvania student. She founded TUTORS, a campus group that offers tutoring to refugee children in the community. "People found it very rewarding," Safarian says. "It continues to provide consistent volunteers for the refugee program."
Safarian hopes to continue reaching across cultural barriers. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Korea for the 2012–13 academic year, which was extended a second year. While in Korea, Safarian started a young women's empowerment initiative that connects high school students with professional business women for mentorship opportunities. She also became involved in a research project about the cultural perceptions toward unmarried mothers in Korea vs. those in America. “The Fulbright has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me,” she says.
To participate in the Fulbright program, Safarian deferred her admission to Harvard Law School until 2014–15. She is interested in human trafficking and immigration issues and plans to pursue a path that incorporates human rights and international law. She dreams of working at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Safarian has taken every opportunity to expand her knowledge of global issues and credits her Transylvania classes for making her critical of social norms. "I've been able to see my participation in all of it," Safarian says. "But also my distance from it."
She seems to be closing that gap.
As a Transylvania student, Safarian participated in a Yale Bioethics summer program that offered her a new perspective on health in the U.S. and other countries. Thanks to the Kenan-Jones Grant, Safarian traveled abroad, researching public health in the Philippines and exploring domestic violence and women's access to the law in India. She also secured an internship at the 6th District Federal Courthouse. After several experiences that have allowed her to gain perspective on global issues, she says this is the first time she is truly seeing the system of law.
Safarian adds, “Without the support of Transylvania professors, I would not have been able to accomplish any of what I did, so I am eternally grateful.”
With law school and a promising future before her, Safarian sums up her success quite simply: "I took every opportunity to be competitive."
The world may not know what it's up against.