Bad program but a great experience February 28, 2023

By (Russian, Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/19/2022 to 12/10/2022 with

SRAS: Bishkek - Central Asian Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going abroad was totally worthwhile. I learned so much that it is hard to synthesize in to one statement. It totally changed my perspective on life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were challenging and the teachers were great but the school was not very good.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Of the two on site administrators, one was fantastic (Taylor) and one was bad (TJ). Taylor ended up handling everything for me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Host family was excellent. Dorm was basically a cardboard box.

* Food:

There was no food provided except for on the occasional excursion.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program definitely gave you a lot of freedom which let you integrate with the local culture very well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues in Kyrgyzstan, but I doubt they would have been easy to address based off of the experiences of others.

* Safety:

Bishkek felt extremely safe except for road transportation.

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

The Program was really poorly run but that lack of structure allowed me so much freedom and exploration that I would not have gotten otherwise. It was a blessing in disguise but still a bad program.


* 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)


* 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? 203
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Freedom
  • Language use
  • Travelling
* What could be improved?
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Facilities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I am glad that it was so unfamiliar and challenging.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Russian

Course Department: Russian
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: The class material was not very challenging, but having to speak russian for four hours was. My class was two people and I definitely talked a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have issues transfering credit
Course Name/Rating:

Understanding Central Asia

Course Department: N/A
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was not very challenging. There was very little class participation. We were assessed with one term paper.
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no credit transfer issues
Course Name/Rating:

The New Great Game

Course Department: N/A
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues: