When I found out I was going to Tajikistan for the Spring of 2019, I knew there were going to be a lot of things different from living in the United States. One of the most interesting things I discovered was what life is like for a family living in Tajikistan.
In the United States, most families have the Mom and Dad working jobs who are also trying to raise a family together. This is very different compared to Tajikistan, where many of the families follow classic gender role duties. For example, in my host family, the father goes off to work most of the time while the mother stays home and cooks and cleans in the house. This made it very difficult for me try and do things I would normally do by myself in the United States such as cooking food or doing my own laundry. Overtime however, I was able to convince my host mom to let me do some of the chores around the house and help.
One other thing that really stood out to me while living with my host family in Tajikistan compared to living in the United States is the very simple lifestyle they live. In America, most families are occupied with work or school obligations and are constantly busy. This has resulted in many modern families not spending a lot of quality time together. In Tajikistan it is the exact opposite, people here will spend almost all their time at home together and are very involved in with each other. Almost every time I am home with my host family, they are relaxing in the living room and watching football on the TV. They will talk to each other and learn what everyone will be doing that day.
Another interesting thing I discovered while living with a host family in Tajikistan is how flexible they are to completing daily tasks and how they find very simple ways to overcome problems they might face. An example of this would be when I tried to make coffee with my host family. I did not know until the second week that most of my family does not drink coffee so they did not have a coffee machine. They overcame this problem in a very unique way. They put the coffee grind with water in a pot and boiled it. They then poured the pot coffee through a mesh net to separate the coffee grinds from the coffee. It was an interesting process to watch and it was great to see one of the many ways that people in Tajikistan would overcome difficulties and obstacles compared to the people and families living in the United States.
After my first two weeks with my host family, these are things that have stuck out the most to me on how my host family and the lifestyle of Tajikistan differs from family life and lifestyles in the United States. I hope that as the program continues, I will get to learn more about the lifestyle and culture of Tajikistan.
By: Daniel Bickle
Program: Eurasian Regional Language Program, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Term: Spring 2019