Globetrotter: Maryna Yankovska's Education Through Travel
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (February 10, 2023) – Despite working this summer at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in an industry and area she had never explored, Maryna Yankovska was not out of her comfort zone. The senior in college has had more international experience than many people get in their lives. Yankovska, who was born and raised in central Ukraine, has had what you could call a global education.
“This is my first time in the New York area, and I am loving it so much,” said Yankovska. “I really enjoy traveling to new places, learning about new cultures and just experiencing new things.”
For all the reasons listed above, Yankovska thrived at Sleepy Hollow in the GOLFWORKS program and has excelled at Minerva University in San Francisco. Minerva is a unique University, which offers a plethora of study abroad opportunities that are built into the curriculum. In fact, Yankovska had studied in four different countries prior to her senior year.
“What’s interesting about my university is we partner with organizations in every country, so I got to learn and work with different organizations in different countries,” said Yankovska. “I learned a lot about work-life balance and how relationships between team members are different in various countries. I worked with a digital advertisement company in Berlin and a few different companies in London.”
Yankovska’s love for travel and different cultures originated during her first visit to the United States. She lived in Arizona for eight months as a sophomore in high school.
“I was 15 years old, and it’s called flex exchange program,” said Yankovska. “I was basically an American student for a year. For the first month my host parents couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand them, but then I got more comfortable and it was an incredible experience. I started learning English when I was seven, but obviously really learned a lot when I was in the U.S.”
The next time she made her way to the United States, from the small town she grew up in in central Ukraine, she trekked to San Francisco to start her journey at Minerva.
“I found out about my university through the exchange program in the U.S. when I was in high school,” she explained. “A lotof people like to go back to the States to continue their studies. Minerva allows unique travel, and a good amount of financial aid. Acceptance rate is only two percent, so I was pretty excited and a little surprised when I got in.”
While COVID threw a wrench into some of her travel plans, Yankovska still made the most of her first few years at Minerva. She traveled to London twice in that time, falling in love with the city.
“London has been my favorite,” said Yankovska. “I love the culture there. The people are so relaxed, and all are very nice. Plus, I love the architecture and design of so many buildings.”
Yankovska has always had an eye for art. In Ukraine she studied at an art academy when she was growing up. If not for her travels to the United States, she believes she might have pursued architecture as a career. Despite not taking that route, her job at Sleepy Hollow afforded her the ability to use her creative eye in many ways.
“The title of my role is banquet server,” said Yankovska. “I work and help coordinate events, primarily weddings at the club. It’s not something I was used to doing but it was so much fun. I learned a lot about various business operations, and it was so nice to help coordinate those events for people and see it all come together.”
She explained that she had searched extensively for an opportunity that would allow her to stay in the United States before she landed on the opening at Sleepy Hollow.
“I learned about the program late through my university,” said Yankovska. “They had been compiling resources for Ukrainians who might not be able to return home because of the war and I saw that this one included housing. That’s what I needed to stay and when I saw the location it was in, I knew it would be a good fit.”
Yankovska was also able to explore the surrounding area and New York City, only adding to her experience in the program.
“I actually had plans to visit New York before COVID, so I was happy to be able to finally do that,” she mentioned. “I have been into the city many times with my roommate from Thailand, and we have been able to explore plenty of areas.”
Yankovska has one semester remaining in her program, and Thailand is on the list of places she will soon visit. While she is excited to expand her international portfolio, her dream lies back in London, the first country she visited during college.
“My dream is to live in London and work there, at least in the short term,” she mentioned. “Maybe long term it would be nice to head back to Ukraine once the war is over. I think I would really like to help there in some way with what I have learned in my experiences.”
Now back in college for her last year, Yankovska can add another pin to her already crowded world map. She relishes the idea of traveling and taking on new challenges, saying she hopes to take something from each experience and each location. Trying new things, experiencing new cultures and visiting new places: that is Yankovska’s comfort zone.