So I'm here...
Trip Start Aug 20, 2006
49Trip End Ongoing
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There are six people in my language class, and so far we've all gotten along pretty well. Next week we start Kazakh language- blah. Also next week, we begin a sort of student teaching program where we only prepare a lesson plan for the first 15 minutes of an English class. This week we have just been observing to see how a Kazakhstani classroom is run. September 1st was the first day of class throughout the country, with several dances and presentations. School here is a lot more formal than it is in the states. Espectially for the first day, all the little boys are dressed in three piece suits, while all the girls have huge white bows in their hair and little skirts and white shirts. The dances tended to be Kazakh dance, with a few Russian things thrown in. It was sad watching the news that day though, with a memorial to the Beslan school children and photos of all the memorials set out.
It's weird seeing the clothes here- one second a person is in perfect business attire, the next it is a person dressed in a more muslim way herding a cow down the middle of the street. Oh well. It's interesting the way religious and ethnic groups fit here. It seems to be a hard place to govern, with a significant minority population and with over 100 different ethnic groups making up the country. Right now the President is pushing for everyone to speak Kazakh. This place is the land of the polygots- especialy amongst the younger generation. Everyone speaks at least Russian and Kazakh, and it's very likely they are learning English and either French or German. Religiously, a mosque and a church sit side by side, neither with any conflicts or even graffiti. Many of the Muslims here consider those of the Middle East pretty crazy. And a lot of people still miss communism, so they're not religious- like my homestay granny. She used to be a Russian language and literature teacher, and she does not like the way Education costs so much money now, and talked about how she had many upper level educational opportunities for free.
Out of the six in my language class, only I and one other girl live with a Russian family. One boy lives with a Kazakh family, one with a Turkish family, and the remainder with Chechen families. That has been cool. Only one of those is relatively religious, praying five times a day. But it's neat to meet and interact with so many groups with which America has had so much misunderstanding and fear.
Well, I don't have much time left here in the internet cafe and don't know when I'll update again, so bye!