Born in the Czech Republic to my mostly Russian-speaking Kazakh parents, I attended an English-speaking international school in Prague where I also learned to speak German.
This multicultural upbringing has shaped my love for travel, languages, soviet history and international news.
In 2004, my uncle Askhat Sharipzhan, was killed in Kazakhstan by KGB for his work as a journalist. He had obtained some information from a political opponent of the President, which was taken from him. Kazakh media portrayed his death as a drunken car accident, but hospital records show there was no alcohol in his system.
This story is not unique to Kazakhstan and is strongly prevalent in the former soviet republics. The censorship and suppression of media in these countries is harmful to its citizens, and that is why I chose to pursue journalism.
While I am currently learning the basics of journalism, my future hope is to bring light to issues of freedom of press in regions that face authoritarian rule, particularly in Central Asia.
(Photo taken in Tokyo, Japan 2015)