“An action of getting tattoo itself and my tattoo both symbolize my world of freedom and

Asal Davlyatova, 23, graduated Anglo-American University (AAU) in 2017 with a bachelors in International Relations. Originally from Uzbekistan, she currently works as a Procurement Specialist at McKinsey & Company and lives in Prague with her husband.

Enrolling into AAU and leaving her family behind was a difficult risk she was willing to take. “I was long to seek the better education and better life that fit my personality. While I was looking at many other options, I found AAU’s International Relations program and thought it would be nice to start a new adventure,” Davlyatova said.

Davlyatova has been interested in law and linguistics. However, as a former member of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan’s current educational system remains similar to the Soviet model along with the national government restricting academic freedom. Its male-dominated educational system made it difficult for Davlyatova to pursue her desired course of study. Women’s education in Uzbekistan is still lacking, especially at the university level, due to high tuition fees and social expectations pressuring women to focus on housework after high school. Since her early adolescence, she longed to move outside of her home country to look for a better quality of life with freedom. For her, it was Prague.

At the age of 18, she decided to get a tattoo representing her will to be free as a bird in the sky.

Currently, in Uzbekistan, tattoos are taboo and even considered to be ‘dirty’. At 21 years old, she got her first tattoo on her ribs to keep the tattoo hidden, closer to her heart, and at the center of her body.

Davlyatova’s tattoo

“One day, I felt today is the day I am getting my tattoo. I just googled tattoo studio, which in Pavlova, and walked in there and got my first tattoo there on the same day. I did it without telling anyone. It was my own decision that I had for over two years.”

“Alis Propriis ea Volat”

The Latin phrase translates to “She Flies with Her Own Wings.” “When I found this quote, I felt this would represent myself the most.” To her, this was a special quote she wanted to live up to. Her tattoo became the motto by which she lived and overcame the hardships of studying and living in a foreign country.

Her family learned about her tattoo about two years after she got it. She reminisces about her mom’s confused expression but her father’s admiration which illuminated their support for her, despite their physical distance.

By sharing her tattoo story, she hopes to inspire other students who struggle finding their own place in the Czech Republic.

“Decisions that you make will eventually result in a good way no matter what because that is your decision and you will never regret it.”

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