Like many of his classmates in their final year of college, Mikhail Zaborskiy ’11 is ready to take his next big step into adulthood. But there’s a catch.
At 19, Mikhail is taking that step a lot sooner than most. The business management and economics major came to Washington College from Thailand at age 16 in search of better educational opportunities, and has reached an intellectual maturity beyond his years.
“It was challenging at first,” the Russian native recalls of his first months in Chestertown. “Definitely a culture shock.”
Joining crew his freshman year helped him bridge the culture gap and feel more at home. It has also helped him balance academics with his extracurricular activities. “Having a serious commitment six days a week ensures that you stay on your toes and always get your work finished on time,” says Mikhail. “For instance, if your grades drop below a certain point, you are not allowed to practice, and if you don’t practice, you can’t participate in the regattas. I would say crew is in charge of my schedule when it comes to schoolwork. It keeps me on point.”
A co-captain this year, Mikhail is looking forward to the team’s annual spring training trip to Florida. It is an intensive team-bonding experience that gets them in shape for the upcoming season. “It’s nice to be out on the water in beautiful weather,” he says, “especially in early March, when it can be cold and dreary in Maryland.”
Mikhail has also enjoyed several academic opportunities that have helped him develop the leadership skills he’ll need in a career in international business. He picked up a minor in German, studying the language in Germany last summer, and has participated in two model diplomacy programs that took him to Yale University in Connecticut and to McGill University in Montreal. Mikhail is also president of Sigma Beta Delta, an honor society recognizing student achievement in business management and administration.
Of all he has experienced as an international student at Washington College, Mikhail is most grateful for the insights he gained into American culture. “I believe Washington College represents the great tradition of learning and emphasizes hands-on experience very well,” Mikhail says. “Here, I learned how to learn. This school taught me how to educate myself.”