A Great Introduction to Central Asia Past Review

By (Kazakh Language, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill) - abroad from 09/01/2014 to 05/08/2015 with

American Councils (ACTR): Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was a great personal development experience in addition to a very helpful linguistic and academic one. I would recommend taking a year to study language and culture to any student with the ability to do so.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The program was very responsive to my needs, and both my professor and the program coordinator worked very closely with me to make sure I was being intellectually challenged, had the resources I needed to develop my language skills, and had chances to experience cultural events as well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The host city center is safe, and the program does an excellent job of responding to safety concerns

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The program provides two meals a day, and host families were always happy to provide food at home.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy must-need items such as boots at home, as you will usually be able to find better deals if you keep your eyes out for sales.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had not completed any Kazakh course before departure.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Be humble and consistently reach out to other students at your institution.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Helpful program staff
* What could be improved?
  • Make sure to communicate with your host family from the get-go
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had done more research on Kazakh culture and Kazakhstan's post-independence and Soviet history.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'