Living with a host family for the first time

There is a lot about studying abroad in a country so far away from and different than the US that could intimidate anyone. The distance from loved ones, the language barriers, the cultural differences—you name it. For it me, however, the prospect of living with a host family made me for the first time made … Continue reading Living with a host family for the first time


A New Perspective

When I first arrived in Tajikistan I was so excited about every part of the program: the classes, the people, the culture, the physical landscape itself. You name it, I couldn’t wait to do it here. However, I admit that when it was announced we’d be making our trip to the famous Pamirs after the … Continue reading A New Perspective

Conducting Research with Afghan and Tajik Border Police in Dushanbe

Besides taking Farsi and Tajiki language classes in Dushanbe, I have also been working with EU Border Management in Northern Afghanistan (EU-BOMNAF). BOMNAF, a UNDP Tajikistan affiliate, works with Afghan and Tajik border police and customs officials to equip them with the skills to control their borders. This July, BOMNAF hosted a two-week border security … Continue reading Conducting Research with Afghan and Tajik Border Police in Dushanbe

Finding Heritage in Tajikistan

A few summers ago, my sisters and I were in San Diego with my parents visiting a park. On the way, we saw a shop selling kites. My parents wanted to buy one to fly together but my sisters and I were apprehensive – we had never flown a kite. What if we spent a … Continue reading Finding Heritage in Tajikistan

The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

As one of the few ERLP students in Tajikistan studying Tajiki, I consider myself fortunate to be able to live life through my target language every day.  Like most other participants on the program, I came to Tajikistan with a background in Farsi, the Iranian dialect of the Persian language, but not in Tajiki.  While … Continue reading The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

Which Way Forward?

Tajikistan, a landlocked Central Asian country of 8 million people, receives few mentions in Western media outlets. Yet a cursory tour of the country makes it clear that it has become a battleground for outside powers. Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and the US have all spent millions on development projects in Tajikistan, visibly reshaping … Continue reading Which Way Forward?

The Gratitude of Giving in Tajikistan

On the night of my departure from Tajikistan back to the United States for winter break I skeptically double-checked my packing list, puzzled why my large duffel bag had absolutely no room to spare. As I tallied the contents cramped in my bag, mostly pairs of clothes and Tajikistani gifts I had bought for my … Continue reading The Gratitude of Giving in Tajikistan

Getting Hitched – The Tajik Way

Yesterday I attended my first Tajik wedding or tooi (тӯй). In Farsi, the word aroosi (عروسی) means wedding and aroos (عروس) means bride. In this case, the aroos was a 17-year-old girl from the small town of Tursunzoda, located about 30 km outside of Dushanbe. Tursunzoda reminded me of a lot of rural towns in … Continue reading Getting Hitched – The Tajik Way

Déjà Vu in Dushanbe

I was hit with an acute case of déjà vu as I disembarked from the plane at 4:30 am in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This feeling was not without due cause, for 14 months earlier I had arrived in the very same spot when I first came to Tajikistan to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Critical … Continue reading Déjà Vu in Dushanbe