Pre Departure

06/01/2015, Blog by Feruza Ghias, Community Psychology, SRAS (School of Russian and Asian Studies) – Russian as a Second Language program, in The London School of Languages and Cultures, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

I chose to study through the School of Russian And Asian Studies (SRAS) for many reasons. One of the main reasons is the location – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I’ve been exposed to the Russian language and Asian culture in Uzbekistan, where I was born. I went to a Russian-speaking school there. In 2005, when I was ten years old, my family moved to the United States due to lack of economic opportunities.

For the past ten years that I’ve been living living in America, I missed Uzbekistan very much. I missed the simplicity of Uzbek lifestyle: groceries and clothes/accessories sold on the streets. I missed the flavorful food: Uzbek plov (rice), shashlik (marinated sausage), and the meat-stuffed samsa (Uzbek version of the Indian samosa). When we moved to the US, I spoke fluent Russian. However, over the years, unfortunately, my Russian declined as I became busy with my American studies. I wanted to strengthen my Russian language skills and visit Uzbekistan so much so I started searching for study abroad programs in Uzbekistan. SRAS website and specifically this Russian program was one of the first websites that popped up.

Even though this program will take place in Kyrgyzstan and not Uzbekistan, I don’t mind it. My dad had visited Kyrgyzstan before and when I spoke to him about this, he told me that Kyrgyzstan is very similar to Uzbekistan culturally and that a lot of people spoke Russian there. After hearing my dad’s points on Kyrgyzstan and taking into account my desire to connect with my Uzbek roots and improve my Russian, this program became an easy choice for me. Plus, living in Kyrgyzstan will be a bigger learning experience since I have never been to that country before.

Since I’ve never lived on my own before, I was concerned about how I would keep in touch with my family. I spoke to them and my friends who travelled abroad and they advised me to use Skype and Viber applications because those are good for international communication and they are free. So, I downloaded those apps and got everyone’s contact numbers on there.

I’m excited and looking forward to this journey!


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