The are in Russian, approximately 20 hours per

The program is at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. All classes are in Russian, approximately 20 hours per week with 16 hours per week for language study. Each Bryn Mawr credit is around four undergraduate semester hours. Students are placed into groups of 3-5 according to their language proficiency and the courses focus on individual learning. Participants can also audit classes. Academic year students are encouraged to replace one area studies course for an independent research project written in Russian around 15-20 pages. The classes for the fall semester are:

Advanced Conversation, Phonetics and Intonation focuses on acquisition and activation of new vocabulary and conversation themes. Classwork includes debates, oral presentations, regular written quizzes, and one written final (1.5 credits).

Advanced Grammar and Lexical Study closely analyzes verbs of motion, verbal aspect, word order, lexical groups, and is an introduction to Russian linguistics. The topics of study include nominal morphological categories, word formation, syntactical structure, and stylistics. Mass media and specialized vocabulary of the Russian press are emphasized. Graded work includes regularly written quizzes and one written final (1.5 credits).

Eurasian History and Culture is a broad survey of Russian and Central Asian culture and society ranging from ancient times to the present. Topics are religion, family, customs, history, arts, and sociopolitical organization. Grades are from readings, discussion, and written assignments (0.5 credits).

Intermediate Conversation: Kazakh Language is a course on learning Kazakh (0.5 credits). No information was given.

Spring semester classes are:

Practicum in Russian Usage which is a continuation of Advanced Conversation with more advanced work (1.5 credits)

Analysis of Grammatical Categories in Russian is a continuation of Advanced Grammar and focuses on morphology, syntax, and stylistics (1.5 credits).

Topics in Eurasian History and Culture is a continuation of the fall semester’s area studies but with an analysis of contemporary times (1.0 credits). This class can be replaced with an independent research project.

Informal Study

Participants live with a Russian-speaking host family which not only advances their Russian but helps integrate them into Kazakh culture. Two hours per week, participants meet with a conversation partner who is a local and further aids cultural integration through tours of Almaty, supports academic learning, and speaks only in Russian. These indispensable aids will push me to fully immerse myself in Kazakh culture.

Cultural Activities

Once a week, students go to cultural/historical sites like museums. These excursions are organized by the resident director and are in Russian. A week-long trip is taken outside Almaty to a city like Astana. In addition to a host family and conversation partner, students are matched with an internship/community service.


Before the program, students are required to attend an orientation in Washington D.C. which covers health and safety, academic culture, host-family life, culture shock, and strategies to maximize language gain. A full-time resident director manages the academic and cultural program and assists students in academics, administration, and personal matters. Additionally, he/she coordinates with KazNU faculty. 


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