Spotlight on Alpamys (Alpa) Yechshanov, a Student Worker in the International Student and Scholar Services Office

By Sonia Patel, International Student and Scholar Adviser

Left to right: Wendy, Sonia Patel, Laura Bellacicco, Alpamys Yechshanov

Left to right: My Nguyen, Sonia Patel, Laura Bellacicco, Alpamys Yechshanov

October 19, 2023

Alpamys (Alpa) Yechshanov is one of our student workers in the International Student and Scholars Services Office (ISSSO) and plays a vital part in helping make our office run smoothly. 

Alpa hails from Almaty, Kazakhstan, and is a junior majoring in Graphic Design. He has a passion for art, design, architecture, and volunteering. By the end of his senior year of high school he could speak five languages (i.e., English, French, Kazkh, Mandarin, and Russian). Alpa has a passion for language learning, and that has continued while at St. John’s University. 

Kazakhstan is in Central Asia, and even though it is the ninth largest country in the world and largest landlocked one, many people would not be able to quickly pinpoint it on a map. Alpa wants people to know that his country is one of the most beautiful in the world with breathtaking landscapes that encompass mountains to the lowland steppes. Some fun facts he shared were that horses were first domesticated in modern Kazakhstan and the highest mountain skating rink was located there. Kazakhstan is also home to more than 120 different ethnic groups and nationalities. 

While in high school, Alpa spent his extracurricular time on activities such as art and graphic design, volunteering, and language learning. He is passionate about the importance of blood donation; he started donating in his hometown of Almaty and has continued to do so here in New York at the New York Blood Center.

Alpa told us that the word “Kazakh” has a special meaning that is tied to the culture of the people of Kazakhstan. It means “nomad” or “wanderer” or of an “independent” spirit—and so it is no wonder that Alpa had no hesitation in traveling halfway around the world to attend college in New York City. His first impression of New York City was highly favorable, and it has not changed. He loves the people, culture, food diversity, and museums. 

Alpa chose St. John’s University because of its location, the scholarship award he received, and the graphic design program. Once on the Queens campus, he was impressed by the beautiful buildings, the Great Lawn, and the state-of-the-art facilities. 

“My experience as an international student at St. John’s has been positive,” he said. “The University community is so diverse that I have never felt homesick. The University hosts hundreds of international students from all over the world.”

Alpa plans to complete his studies at St. John’s and work in a professional graphic design studio. In the future, he hopes to start his own graphic design studio or company. 

Sonia Patel joined St. John’s in January 2022 and currently works as an International Student and Scholar Advisor, holding DSO and ARO designations. She has a J.D. and B.A. in Political Science and came to St. John’s after working for foreign missions to the United Nations.