Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a public university located in Alva, Oklahoma in the United States. With an excellent academic program and affordable tuition, the school boasts an international student body that consists of students from over 20 countries around the world. The university offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in a wide array of subjects.

International students love coming to NWOSU because it is a welcoming, family environment that has caring faculty, staff, and community that supports all students and are encouraged by diverse learners who choose to study here.

– Calleb Mosburg, Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management


Northwestern Oklahoma State University


Location: Alva, Oklahoma (USA)

Student Name: Selbi Kurbanova

Age: 22

From: Turkmenistan

Graduation: May 2021


Favorite class: My favorite class has been “Counseling Strategies and Techniques.” It was the first class to really focus on the micro-skills of a counselor; it allowed for everyone in the class to learn more about themselves and advance their ideas of what it means to be a good counselor.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Four words to describe Northwestern Oklahoma State University: Welcoming, Growing, Accepting, Fun

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Selbi Kurbanova and I am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. I am 22 years old and have been privileged enough to learn from incredible professors about what it means to be a therapist. My expected graduation date is May 2021. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in May of 2018 and have been in the graduate program ever since.

What were your school experiences like before university?

I was born in a relatively small country called Turkmenistan. When I graduated from high school there, I won a contest called Future Leaders Exchange. It is a program focused on spreading awareness and understanding of various countries to US citizens and allowing foreign exchange students to experience what the United States of America truly represents. In 2012, through this program, I studied at Lebanon High School and lived with a host family in Lebanon, Missouri. Afterwards, I went back to Turkmenistan and worked as a FLEX Alumni Coordinator for a year. During this time, I took and passed the course provided by the Prep4Success program. After I received the scholarship award for passing the course, I applied and was accepted to Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 2014.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

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How did you hear about NWOSU and what made you decide to study in the US?

After previously residing in Lebanon, Missouri, I felt comfortable with the Midwestern lifestyle, which Oklahoma also represents and delivers. The only difficulty that I encountered was that moving from Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, to Alva, Oklahoma, was a bit of a culture shock. Alva is exponentially smaller, more rural, and the lifestyle is quite different compared to a fairly populated city like Ashgabat. However, this small city size made it possible for numerous opportunities, including meeting and becoming friends with many people very easily.

What degree are you pursuing and why?

I have always been passionate about psychology. My mother is a neuropathologist and it has always been my intention to become a healer of sorts. The field of psychology is still underdeveloped in Turkmenistan and I felt like coming to the US, where counseling was an accepted and recommended practice, would allow for my immersion in the culture and optimal understanding of the counseling field. The main goal of counseling is to help your patients and that was the goal I kept in mind when choosing a college, a program, and even my courses. Northwestern staff and advisors are truly helpful in pointing out all of the possible paths for students to follow, allowing them to make a choice that would best benefit their future careers and education.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at NWOSU?

My experience has always been pleasurable at NWOSU. I am the only student from Turkmenistan at Northwestern and, frankly, it did make me homesick sometimes. However, our International Club has constantly made efforts to plan activities for all of the students, which allowed for communication and expansion of bonds between the foreign students and the local ones. I have had so much fun attending this school and have benefited greatly from the classes and the overall experience.

Do you take part in any extracurricular activities?

I have volunteered at the Northwest Domestic Crisis Services in the past. This organization helps victims of past abuse with lodging and support in various forms and I couldn’t think of a better place to volunteer. The staff members there were very helpful and eager to share their knowledge about the process of application and eligibility, as well as other information. In addition to that, I have been active with the International Club and Psychology Club at NWOSU. I have been lucky to experience being in a sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, for quite some time and that is an adventure I will forever treasure. In 2017, I became a member of Northwestern’s Red and Black Scroll Honor society. Overall, I was blessed with many opportunities to develop as an individual and improve myself at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Do your current studies support your interest and talent?

Currently, I am focusing on becoming a counselor. After graduating, I would be required to complete a certain number of supervised hours and pass an exam before becoming a licensed counselor. Classes now, in the graduate program, do vary greatly from the classes I took for the Bachelor’s Degree. The courses in the grad program are more interactive and specific in a way that allows students to experience a counseling session without necessarily working as a counselor. There are certain restrictions with the work opportunities that international students experience, which allows these classes to expertly guide and demonstrate to the students what working in the field is like and what principles and values need to be adopted beforehand.

What are your plans after you graduate?

After I graduate, I would like to get licensed in Professional Counseling, while working on my PhD in Forensic Psychology. It has been my goal for many years now to become a counseling psychologist at a law enforcement agency, where I could simultaneously provide counseling to the officers and agents and be of help during investigations concerning criminal individuals with abnormal psychology.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Northwestern Oklahoma State University?

To international students who are just starting their studies, I would suggest practicing patience and courage. The fact that English is not my mother tongue did hinder my desire to start conversations with strangers or ask for help, which is one of the things I still regret. It is not easy coming to a foreign country with no support system and a hazy future. However, the experience itself is a great journey. American students are generally very welcoming and helpful; they want to get to know you and learn about you as much as you want to learn about them. It might get hard, you might feel homesick; however, you just have to remember why you worked so hard to come to a school in the US and about all the great things you will accomplish with this knowledge and education in the future. Northwestern Oklahoma State University is an incredible school with a lot of history and it is wonderful at making people away from home actually still feel at home.

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