Friday, September 7, 2012


    So here I am, half way around the world, in Kyrgyzstan. For those of you who don't already know, I'll be spending the next four months in Bishkek, the country's capital, working on my Russian and learning all the ins and outs of Central Asia. I arrived here two weeks ago and won't be seeing the western world until the end of December. For now I am living with a very sweet Kyrgyz woman and her 8 year old daughter, but at the end of September I will be moving into the dorms at my school. There are three other students in my class, all from the United States, and all with incredibly different backgrounds. One is a history major, one is a political science major, the other is an ex-military, agriculture (?) major interested international security, and then there's me... really into the culture and stuff. We all get along really well and, despite our different areas of expertise, we all seem to be working for a common goal, so our classroom discussions have been very lively and well rounded.
    The first part of most days we each have private language lessons. I have to say, four hours of one-on-one lessons is exhausting. By the end of my second class I am beat. Everyone else says the same. It is really a struggle to get through to lunch at 1. But it is only the second week of classes, so I'm sure we're all just still settling into the swing of this new schedule. By the end of the fourth month I think I'll be cruising through those hours with ease.
    In the afternoons we all get together for "The New Great Game" and "Understanding Central Asia". These classes are in English, discussing the history, culture, and political economics of Central Asia. On Wednesdays we have the incredible opportunity to hear lectures from guest speakers, have discussion panels with local students, and finish the day with a cooking or crafting class. Our first two guest speakers were absolutely amazing and I had the good sense to record their lectures.
    Living here has been very cheap and it seems that every day I have some new wild story from my trips on the public transportation, but more on that later. The city is safe enough, with relatively little violent crime. There is a large Russian population here so being a white person doesn't necessarily make me stand out as a foreigner, which is comforting to me.
     More later!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that you say being a white person doesn't make you stand out as a foreigner...I noticed that many ethnicities don't really stand out in Bishkek, due to the fact that Kyrgyz people themselves have a broad range of looks. I also felt somewhat comforted by the fact that I didn't stand out either!