Travel to Almaty from Bishkek

 At the end of my summer program in Bishkek, a friend of mine and I wanted a weekend getaway from Bishkek and decided to visit Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital, Almaty, which is just over the border. A few other students had already gone and encouraged us to check it out.  Almaty lies at […]

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Bishkek Travel Excursions from SRAS

Bishkek sits in the heart of Central Asia, surrounded by natural beauty. SRAS programs in Bishkek offer two categories of travel components. All regular programs offer several trips to see more of Kyrgyzstan, particularly its rural cultures. Students specifically on SRAS’s Central Asian Studies program have an extended travel component that covers multiple Central Asian […]

SRAS Guide to Living in Bishkek

 What’s it really like to live in Bishkek for a semester? Staying long-term in a city is much different from just vacationing there. You’ll need to navigate more of the practical, everyday services of the city and budget to include more miscillanious and long-term expenses. Thus, this guide covers everything from haircuts to pharmacies and […]

Managing Your Cash While Abroad: A Student Guide

Eurasia today is quite affordable. Students are often surprised how far their dollars will go even in major cities like St. Petersburg and Warsaw – and very surprised at how far they go in places like Bishkek and Irkutsk. However, students can also be surprised at how easy it is to run into troubles – […]

Arrival in Bishkek: Student Impressions

Thinking of spending a semester in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan? Let our students let you know what to expect when arriving to the city! Heading abroad is always a big step and can feel exciting or overwhelming – or both. Learn from the experience of others and hit the ground running! How did you feel when you […]

Life in Bishkek: Student Reviews of the City

What is life in Bishkek really like? To help you stay up to date, we’ve asked our students to share what they found while abroad in Central Asia! Finding Things SRAS: First, think of the city – what was available in terms of culture, shopping, and services. Were you able to find things to do […]

Buying a SIM Card in Russia: Free Russian Lesson

This free Russian MiniLesson will help you learn the vocabulary need to get a SIM card in Russia. If you are on a regular SRAS study abroad program, SRAS will help you to obtain a local SIM card. In many locations, SRAS can also supply you with a “burner” phone for use while on the […]

How To Make Local Friends While Abroad

Many assume that living abroad for a few months will force you to make local friends in your host country. However, the reality is more complicated. Here I will share my tips and tricks for overcoming fears and reservations and experiencing the full joy that comes from true immersion while abroad.   Why Immersion is […]

Addressing Strangers in Russian: Building Russian Vocabulary

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. When addressing strangers in Russia, it is important to maintain an appropriate level of politeness. The address should be in a formal manner, a person should apologize […]

International Airfare For Study Abroad

SRAS is not in the business of selling plane tickets, with the exception of group educational tours and domestic flights not available for purchase outside of Russia. An economy-class, round-trip ticket from New York to Moscow, as of June, 2020, averages between $500-1000, depending on the time of year, carrier, and other factors. If you are using […]

Travel to Thailand from Bishkek

I didn’t expect that during my time in Bishkek, I would have the opportunity to visit Southeast Asia (although it has long been on my bucket list). Taking a quick look at Google Flights, it appears that a flight from Bishkek to Thailand costs upwards of $800. However, thanks to the invitation from a local […]

Weekend Trips from Bishkek

Kyrgyzstan is a small country that abounds in natural beauty – many great locations are just a short drive away and can be experienced on a surprisingly small budget. Many of these independent student experiences were arranged through a company called Community Based Tourism, which seeks to use local guides and local resources to make […]

Bishkek Housing

In Bishkek, you have two living options: a home stay or a dormitory. Each comes with its own pros and cons. The following student reviews of the Bishkek domitories are meant to help you make your housing decision and prepare for your time abroad on SRAS programs in Bishkek. Bishkek Dormitories   Living Conditions in […]

Getting a Massage at Kamin in Bishkek

A former SRAS student in Bishkek took the time to compile a list of best places to go for services as diverse as getting a haircut, getting your nails done, and getting a massage. Some of the services listed are not those that a student would normally just splurge on, but I was intrigued by […]

Day Trips from Bishkek

Kyrgyzstan is a small country that abounds in natural beauty – many great locations are just a short drive away and can be experienced on a surprisingly small budget. Here are several that students on our study abroad programs in Bishkek recommend! Issyk-Ata Hot Pools 1 Hour Outside Bishkek; ~$20 budget Review by Mikaela Peters […]

Packing List for Study Abroad

A semester or year stay abroad requires considerable planning. You will need to consider the season and location as well as what you need to bring and what you should find abroad. If you will be spending winter months in most SRAS locations, luggage can quite easily become unwieldy, which can mean airline charges for […]

Bishkek Study Abroad Reviews

We asked some SRAS graduates to share their open and honest evaluations of their experiences on SRAS Study Abroad in Bishkek. SRAS actively seeks out feedback from students on all programs so that we can continually improve our offerings. Kathryn Watt (Spring, 2019) For the last four months I have lived and studied in Bishkek, […]

Preparing for and Coping with Culture Shock

Some of our students report not feeling culture shock at all. Some are surprised by how much culture shock they experience. Often, those most affected are those who did not expect it. So how can you prepare to live in a new culture and get the most out of the experience? How do you prepare […]

Dorm Cooking Tips and Simple Recipies

Many students come abroad with minimal cooking experience. Add to this the fact that you’ll need to shop in a foriegn language and that your kitchen situation can often be very basic, many students shy from cooking altogether. However, cooking and shopping can be great cultural experiences, not to mention a great way to keep […]

How to Survive Your First Week in Bishkek

I arrived in Bishkek in a daze. I had just spent thirty hours travelling, and it hadn’t quite set in that I was actually in Kyrgyzstan. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was really in Kyrgyzstan until I visited Issyk-Kul later that day. The excursion coordinator at the London School, Danar, picked me up from […]

Home and Abroad with RSL in Bishkek and Irkutsk

Julie studied abroad in Bishkek and Irkutsk, learning Russian as a Second Language with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. Below is her review of her programs abroad and experience as a Home and Abroad Scholar. Academic Program in Bishkek and Irkutsk Bishkek First, the basics. […]

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek ~$400 for a 6-day trip I am currently a student in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan but I love traveling in general. Therefore, when my friend studying in Moscow asked me if I’d be interested in taking a trip to Georgia to meet up, I obviously said “Yes.” I planned out a six-day […]

The Art of Daily Practice and Conversations

It’s a little bit surprising to look at the calendar and think that half of my first semester in Vladivostok is already gone. Seven weeks seem to have effortlessly drifted by in strict contention with my own efforts at learning the Russian language. I can say that my knowledge of Russian when I arrived in […]

Minorities Abroad: Additional Resources

This site isn’t the only resource for minority students studying in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe! Below is a collection of interesting and useful sites from around the web, featuring videos, interviews, and much more. (Thanks to the many folks on ADSEEES and SEELANGS who have shared them!) If you’d like to suggest an additional […]

16 Ways Studying Abroad is Just Like Harry Potter

Did you ever stop to think about the fact that, technically, Harry Potter was also studying abroad? Here are 16 ways that Harry’s adventures are likely to be just like yours.   1. When you first decide you’re going abroad, you’re in a state of shock- you can hardly believe it’s real! 2. Getting on […]

7 Ways Study Abroad is a Second Childhood

After settling in with a host family in Ukraine, I’ve looked back on my notes from my first couple of weeks abroad and come to a realization – in a lot of ways, Abroad-Olivia is a child, just a little bit bigger. I’ve compiled these notes to make a list of seven reasons why living […]

The Dos and Please Donts of Turkmenistan

Let’s face it everyone, Turkmenistan has a reputation that precedes it. The country has often been associated with the trope of the eccentric “hermit kingdom.” Characteristics such as extreme cults of personality surrounding their leaders, isolationism, strict control of all information within the country by the government, downright bizarre laws and a high functioning propaganda […]

Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan

When moving to a foreign country, it is always difficult figuring out how to do the things you want to do. It can also be hard to figure out how to get out an meet locals, one of the most valuable experiences you can have on a study abroad experience. Some things you learn through […]

Christine Jacobson: Russia, Kyrgyzstan, the US, and Back Again

Christine Jacobson graduated from Stetson University in Florida with degrees in political science and Russian studies. She studied with SRAS on a custom program in St. Petersburg in 2011. She currently lives and works in Moscow, but is hoping to attend graduate school in the fall of 2014. SRAS: You worked for a year as […]

Culture Shock: Living with other international students

Most of us probably knew we were in for inevitable culture shock when we arrived in Russia, no matter how much we had convinced ourselves we were prepared. Sometimes it comes on quick, but other times culture shock reveals itself incredibly slowly. It took longer for this to sink in, but one of the ways […]

Buying Eyeglasses in Bishkek

Ossé Optical Shop Address: Toktogula 86 (corner of Toktogula and Sovietskaya) Phone: +996-312-662-763 Today I have become four-eyed. I bought eyeglasses in Bishkek. It was on my list of things to do before heading home to Washington in 48 hours, along with buying a kazan (a cast-iron pot) to make plov, and kalpaks (Kyrgyz felt […]

Long and Winding Road from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan

This past weekend, I visited Osh, the “southern capital” of Kyrgyzstan. I’ve always wanted to go because I heard the 620-kilometer Bishkek-Osh Highway, the only main road connecting Russia with the south of Central Asia, was gorgeous. I also wanted to see “the south.” People always talk about Kyrgyzstan’s cultural, linguistic, and political “north-south divide,” […]

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