Harvard Bound - Interview with Darya Makshyna

If you were to name some of the top universities in the world, we are pretty sure Harvard would be near the top of your list. Darya Makshyna, BA in management with an emphasis in marketing (class of 2019) is one of the lucky few who will get the chance to study for a semester at this prestigious university. See what Darya has to say about this unique opportunity.

How did you first learn about the Visiting Undergraduate Student program offered by Harvard?

A former Webster Vienna student named Tobias also took part in the program and told me all about this opportunity. When I first heard about it, it seemed unattainable. I was inspired by his experience and decided to research the program.

What was it like applying for this program?

During the application, Harvard asked that I prepare a tentative study plan that I would like to take while at Harvard. That was actually really interesting, because I had to download the full catalog of courses that they offer – which is around 500 courses. I combed through all of them and had to choose 4 or 5. They don’t really offer management or marketing courses, so I couldn’t choose any that fit my major. I chose courses of my interest and then I had to justify why I should be enrolled in these courses and how they would help me further my academic, profession or personal life. I chose the courses Game Theory in Economics, Personal Networks (how people express themselves online), Issues in Education (my first choice), Leadership Psychology and Decision-Making.

How do you think this opportunity will impact your future?

It’s an educational opportunity of a lifetime. I will be surrounded by people who also share my interest, aspirations and hopefully the networking connections will last.

How do you feel about studying in the USA?

I have a cool advantage, because I have been studying at Webster Vienna which is an American University in Europe. So I am familiar with the American course structure and environment but in a European setting. I am so excited to experience the American university culture in the States which I often see in the movies, with cafeteria lunches, studying in the library and sweatshirts with logos. I’m going to be a typical study abroad student, buying merchandise and running around with my camera.


"...but even more exciting was the outpouring of support from the Webster international community."


How did your friends react when you told them the news?

I received a lot of support and encouragement from my Webster Vienna classmates and friends, but even more exciting was the outpouring of support from the Webster international community. People I met through Webster leadership summits and LEADS retreats. Those who I have met, but am not really in touch with, wrote me congratulatory messages. Even faculty from St. Louis reached out. It was totally unexpected, but really cool and inspiring.

What will you miss the most about Webster Vienna?

Everything! I will miss the people a lot, because I am used to seeing them every day and they are a big part of my life, both students and faculty/staff. I will miss our SGA office and routine, so to say, because it was always on my mind. And I will miss Vienna!

What advice do you have for other students who are interested in participating in the Visiting Undergraduate Student program with Harvard?

Get involved! And try and do your best. If somebody told me two years ago that I would be studying at Harvard, I would have laughed and said that’s not possible. But it is, because when you work you get the results.

How did Webster prepare you for this program?

What I am thankful most to Webster Vienna for are the professors. Each individual professor has endowed me with deep insight into their subject areas. The education was practical, up to date and helped me understand what I want to study and how I want to develop in my academic field. Webster Vienna also was so supportive in my application process, providing accommodation letters and administrative assistance any time I needed it.


We would like to thank Darya for her time and wish her the very best on this exciting academic journey ahead of her. Also many thanks to Krista Price for transcribing this interview.