Aleks's experience in Kyrgyzstan
Instead of going to a traditional European country, or an easily recognizable one, Aleks studied abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. As a Russian major, he wanted to perfect his language skills and figured immersing himself in another country would be the best way. He decided to study with the School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) in Kyrgyzstan because the people speak Russian and very little English. He said this was a good thing because he wasn’t tempted to speak English and it forced him to speak only in Russian.
Another reason Aleks chose to study abroad in Kyrgyzstan was because of it’s geographical location and uniqueness. He said he had always been interested in central Asia and Kyrgyzstan was more of a developing country. The people there are mostly Muslim and very conservative. These differences created some additional challenges for Aleks and required him to take precaution, but the experience exceeded his expectations.
Aleks said his Russian significantly improved due to the six hours of class each day and the native instructors. His classes were taught at the London School of Bishkek and he lived there as well. Aleks said the highlights of his trip were the excursions he took to places outside of the city. He saw many historical monuments and untouched nature that he described as breathtaking.
If he could do it all over, Aleks said he would’ve done a bit more research on the country and would’ve brushed up on his Russian before he arrived. His advice for students planning to study abroad is to start planning early and apply for funding. Aleks was able to get enough funding to almost cover his entire trip.