Life Beyond the City

We recently went on a three-day excursion that was filled with both beautiful views and new experiences. We left Almaty on a Friday and traveled by bus to our first destination: Charyn Canyon. Despite the occasional falling of rain and sounds of thunder, we walked through the canyon and even had some time to relax by a river. Ironically enough, this was my first time seeing a canyon and I was rightfully excited to have experienced this one. Although it was a quick stop on the way to our final destination, it was just enough to experience all that this landmark has to offer.

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This is a panorama of Charyn Canyon

Following our stop at Charyn Canyon, we carried on and continued toward our final destination: Sati. Sati is a remote village in Kazakhstan with all the characteristics of such to follow. The only adjustment to living that I truly had to face while living in Almaty was a life without air conditioning. Sati, on the other hand, provided us with a new set of adjustments to living conditions. Given that it is a remote village, there was no running water. This meant that we had to use an outhouse and bath ourselves using buckets and cups filled with water.

Alongside two other friends, we even got to experience a sauna that preceded our showers. Again, it is ironic that I have waited until traveling half-way across the world to finally experience a sauna but needless to say, it was wonderful. We ate delicious food provided by our host family such as Pelmeni and Lagman, and reserved our evenings for group gatherings and bonding. Our stay in Sati surely provided us with an alternative view of life in Kazakhstan, and I am equally appreciative of this experience.

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This is a panorama of the farm that we lived on in Sati.

Beyond our stay in Sati, we had the opportunity to travel to a few lakes, where we could simply hike, relax, and take in the scenery. We traveled to one of the lakes by way of an offroad vehicle, and although I certainly suffered from motion sickness and a few bangs to the head, this was another new experience for me. I even got the chance to ride a horse (for the first time) up to the top of a trail. I am constantly amazed by the all of the beauty that Kazakhstan has to offer, however, this excursion stood out in particular because I experienced so many new things in such a short period of time. There aren’t many foreigners that can say that have spent a weekend in a remote Kazakh village and for that, I am especially grateful that this program has given me that very opportunity.

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This is a panorama of a lake we visited an hour outside of Sati.

By: Melissa Leyba

Program: Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program

Term: Summer 2018

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