A Vegetarian in Kazakhstan

When you are a vegetarian in Kazakhstan, people immediately take notice. In America, my diet is slightly atypical, but here—I am an anomaly. Nearly everyone who hears that I do not eat meat wants to know more about me and why I made this decision. This did not come as a surprise to me. Kazakh … Continue reading A Vegetarian in Kazakhstan

Finding My Way Home

“Excuse me, would you be able to tell me where the Baikonur metro station is?” So go my usual interactions with the people of Almaty as an American who finds herself getting lost almost everyday on the way back to her host family’s apartment. The passerby in question usually gives me a strange look, most … Continue reading Finding My Way Home

Finding Friends (and Discounts!)

Before arriving in Kazakhstan, just about every single question I should have taken time to carefully consider evaporated within the span of 5 minutes. How will I handle my peanut allergy? What should I do if the crown on my tooth falls out again? Do I know how to say “Where is the nearest metro … Continue reading Finding Friends (and Discounts!)

Navigating the Waters of Fluid Dynamics in Kazakhstan

It was early February, one of the coldest weeks in Almaty. The wind blew past my teacher, program director, and me as we searched for the Physics building on the main campus of our university. I could feel my nerves heightening, but this day had been long awaited. We found the lecture hall, but having … Continue reading Navigating the Waters of Fluid Dynamics in Kazakhstan

Shuba Hunting

In Russian, the word “шуба” [shoo-ba], plural: шуби [shoo-bee] has two meanings. 1. A fur coat 2. A salad that consists of alternating layers of mayonnaise, beats, and salted herring fish. The full name of the salad is translated as “Herring under a fur coat.” To most Americans, both are foreign and puzzling. Here we’re … Continue reading Shuba Hunting

Language and Empathy

While studying abroad in Kazakhstan, it has been the first time in my life to live in a multilingual society. Kazakh is the native language, but Russian is widely spoken and understood, as Kazakhstan became a part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century and gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. … Continue reading Language and Empathy