Kazakhstan: An American Gains Fresh Perspectives

Explaining the motivation to leave one’s homeland, comfort zones, and, ultimately, established identity can be a difficult task. When the proposed destination is considerably less comfortable than one’s accustomed conditions, explaining becomes even more difficult. Catch phrases like “life changes,” “new adventures,” and “fresh perspectives” can only shed so much light on your intentions – […]

Kyrgyzstan, A Love Story

During the spring semester of 2008, I decided to study abroad in the rustically beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan. Many would be surprised at my exotic choice of destination (which is actually increasingly popular among SRAS students). However, what really set my study abroad experience apart from the ordinary was me. For I was not only […]

Sheep Guts Won’t Kill You: A Guide to Seeing the Kyrgyzstan that Most People Don’t (Part II)

This is the second of a two-part series. Read part one here Naryn: Work the System Some people I talked to suggested that Naryn was the most Kyrgyz of all the provinces. Most of the country’s Uzbek population lives south of this province, and the Russians tended to keep to the northern areas. In fact, […]

Sheep Guts Won’t Kill You: A Guide to Seeing the Kyrgyzstan that Most People Don’t

I’m an anthropologist. Actually, I’m still a year of fieldwork and a dissertation away from getting my Ph.D., so that makes me an anthropologist-in-training. In September 2007, I will move to Central Asia to study the ways people think about things like their ethnic group and their religion, and how that affects their participation in […]

Culture Shock: A Kyrgyz in the States

One of the greatest advantages of studying abroad is the experience of culture shock.  It teaches us that even our most basic assumptions of “how things are” do not always hold true and that cultures can exist, and even prosper, while holding assumptions that shock and bewilder our own. It is often only through this […]

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