Kazakh Wedding Traditions

Weddings are one of Kazakhstan’s many customs. Traditionally, there were several stages of the wedding ceremony, but today most couples do not go through all of them. Depending on where the members of the couple are from, they may be encouraged by relatives to follow the tradition as it has been done all along. People …

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But First, A Wedding!

The first day I arrived in Kazakhstan, or, let me say, my first day jet lag free in Kazakhstan, I woke up to my host mother telling me I would be going to a wedding with my new family in two hours.  I had woken up at 4 P.M. and was meant to leave by …

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Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Recipient Profile: Justin Hiemstra

Justin Hiemstra reflects on his summer on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program in Moscow as a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad scholarship recipient and what cultural differences he observed. Russia is truly a unique place. Whereas its neighboring countries almost all fall solidly into the group of what one might call ‘the European, Western nations,’ …

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Split Identity: Chinese American

I am Asian American, more specifically Chinese American. I was born in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. I was adopted in December of 2002 at five years old and was brought to the United States on Christmas Eve. Growing up, I always had questions about who I was, where I got certain talents from, and which of …

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Two Months to Shape a Lifetime

你好!我叫李小龙!It was my honor to have been accepted into the Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program earlier this year; and being almost halfway through the program already, I hope I am making my mentors proud. I will continue to push my language abilities, writing as many notecards for new vocabulary and phrases until my pen runs …

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Moscow: Introvert Central

Living in the States my entire life, I never realized the extent to which American society gives preference to extroverted personality types until I traveled to Moscow. Growing up I would often get asked strange questions: Why are you so quiet? Why are you mad? Why are you sitting alone? Why don’t you sit with …

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First month in Kazakhstan: a Uighur Wedding Analogy

Before I left I was expecting to land in a different world. I mean: Kazakhstan! It seemed so far away, so foreign. But it seems that a recurring feeling that I have been having since I’ve been here is like a grandiose sense of expecting the unexpected but then being hit with something just weird. …

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