International Airfare (to and from Russia)

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 […]

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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 […]

Five Best Coffee Shops in Bishkek

Coffee culture has come to Bishkek! The Kyrgyz are becoming more discerning consumers and this can be seen in its developing food and beverage business. I’ve had more than a semester to explore Bishkek’s many coffee shop offerings, and now present here my list of Bishkek’s five best coffee shops.   #5) Куликовский 41 Gorky […]

SRAS Trip to Turkmenistan from Bishkek

SRAS students in Bishkek travelled to Turkmenistan from October 21 to October 25. We were so excited about this unique and rare opportunity to visit the country. Visas can be difficult to get and the country is less visited than even North Korea. We had spent a lot of time in the Central Asian Studies […]

Reviews of the Housing Options in Bishkek

The following is a compilation of student reviews about possible housing options in the city of Bishkek. This page is meant to help students prepare for their time abroad. Living Conditions Kat Watt (Spring, 2019): I’m going to be real, London School dorms are hardly a five star hotel, but they have made some improvements […]

A Ski Weekend in Karakol from Bishkek

One of my favorite hobbies is skiing, and I was super stoked for an opportunity to shred some snow on the beautiful slopes of the Tien Shan! There are several ski slopes in mountainous Kyrgyzstan. There are a few small ones around Bishkek but the country’s largest complex is at Ski Base Karakol. This is […]

A Day in Tashkent’s Old City: Travel from Bishkek with SRAS

As part of SRAS’s Central Asian Studies program, students had the opportunity to travel to Uzbekistan for a full week. The first day of this week-long expedition began with a half-day tour of Tashkent’s old part of town. We were accompanied by our guide, Donat, or “Don” for short. He had outstanding English, and even […]

Bishkek: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in Bishkek report spending about $30-50 a week average over the course of their stay. This covers groceries, eating at the university cafeteria, city transport, eating out, school supplies, modest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 70 som = 1 US dollar. 100 som is about $1.50. Prices […]

SRAS Guide to Living in Bishkek

The following is a quick overview to some of those services and products that students often need in the course of a semester or summer abroad. This covers everything from haircuts to pharmacies and gyms to computer repair. Students should generally expect to need to speak at least some Russian when seeking out these experiences […]

Best Craft Beer in Bishkek

I come from Montana, which has the 2nd most craft breweries per capita among US states. I proudly carry this new Montana tradition as my own and I’ve been on the lookout to satisfy my craft beer craving while studying in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Luckily, from recommendations and word of mouth, I’ve found several bars in […]

SRAS Trip to Uzbekistan from Bishkek

Our trip to Uzbekistan was a long time coming. Originally scheduled as a two-week Central Asia tour, the London School in Bishkek and the tour company they booked our trip through had apparently both misunderstood Uzbekistan’s recently revised visa policies. Thus, we didn’t have the visas we needed and wound up heading back to Kyrgyzstan […]

The Kyrgyz National Museum of Visual Arts in Bishkek

As part of the Central Asian Studies Program, SRAS students took an excursion to The Kyrgyz National Museum of Visual Arts in Bishkek. While this wasn’t my first time to the museum, this was my first time with an English-speaking guide who helped us to understand the art that we were looking at. Likewise, the […]

The Museum of Mikhail Frunze in Bishkek

Under the Soviet Union, Bishkek was called Frunze. Mikhail Frunze was a Red Army leader that was instrumental in crushing resistance in Central Asia during the Russian Civil War. In his honor, the city, which had previously been known as Pishpek was renamed Frunze in 1926 when Kyrgyzstan became the Kirgiz (Kyrgyz) Autonomous Soviet Socialist […]

Ne Prosto Orchestra at Bishkek’s Philharmonic

On Friday, September 20, Ne Prosto Orchestra performed at the Bishkek’s Philharmonic. Ne Prosto Orchestra (The Not Just an Orchestra) is based out of Almaty, Kazakhstan. They are a group of young musicians that specialize in playing movie soundtrack scores. Originally put together by a few recent college graduates trying to figure out how to […]

Swan Lake at the Opera and Ballet House in Bishkek

The Opera and Ballet House in Bishkek is striking. Officially called the Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after A. Maldybaev, it looms large on Yusup Abdrahmanov street near Ala-Too Square. With large white columns stretching in front of the pink building, its elegance is alluring. After one of my teachers at the London School […]

Weekend Trip to Issyk Kul from Bishkek

As part of the cultural program offered to SRAS students studying in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, we visited Lake Issyk Kul. The weekend included various activities including learning to build a yurt (a form of traditional housing). One of the highlights of this trip, however, was having the opportunity to go on a horse trek to the […]

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 Trip to Issyk-Ata Hot Pools from Bishkek

On Saturday, November 9th, thanks to a few local friends, I had the opportunity to go to Issyk-Ata. This was right around the time when it was beginning to get fairly cold in Bishkek. Therefore, taking a trip out to a hot springs resort, roughly an hour from Bishkek, was a treat. In Kyrgyz, Issyk […]

SRAS Student Trip to Kazakhstan from Bishkek

As part of SRAS’s Central Asian Studies program, students based out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan take a two-week class trip to neighboring Central Asian nations. These countries for Fall, 2019, included Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The portion spent in Almaty, Kazakhstan – just a four-hour drive from Bishkek – was the shortest of these trips and […]

Climate Fest in Bishkek

On Friday, September 20, 2019, Climate Fest was held. Millions of people around the world gathered together in support of a cleaner environment. Along with a fellow SRAS student, I attended the event at Bishkek’s Botanical Garden with a group of activists and invitees from the general public. While I personally found out about the […]

How to Train Your Eagle in Kyrgyzstan

SRAS students studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the Central Asian Studies often have the opportunity to visit Lake Issyk-Kul as part of their program abroad. This semester, the local excursions into the surrounding mountains included a presentation on local traditions surrounding trained eagles. Golden eagles have been used for hunting in Kyrgyzstan for centuries. […]

Packing List for Study Abroad (+what to do with your laptop, cell phone, etc.)

A semester or year stay abroad requires considerable planning. If you will be spending winter months in most SRAS locations, luggage can quite easily become unwieldy, which can mean airline charges for overweight bags. Planning what you need in advance can help you avoid this (and help you avoid forgetting something important). Invest in good, […]

An Extended Trip to Uzbekistan from Bishkek

As part of the SRAS’ Central Asian Studies program, I had the opportunity to travel around Central Asia, seeing Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan along the way. In this article, I’m going to write about Uzbekistan as I was there for the longest (about six days). Uzbekistan is also a country that holds a very special […]

Bishkek Central Asian Studies Program Review

For the last four months I have lived and studied in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and taken part in SRAS’ Central Asian Studies program. It’s been a whirlwind of classes, trips and local experiences. Here in this article, I’ll be giving a review of it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly! […]

A Vegan Guide to Bishkek

The first thing to know about Kyrgyz food culture is that it is heavily meat based, due to its nomadic history. It is not impossible to maintain veganism while in Bishkek, but it is difficult, as even vegetarianism is not common here. People assume that it’s purely for diet reasons, rather than ethical or environmental, […]

Karakul – Weekend Trip from Bishkek

It was Nowruz, Central Asia’s spring new year holiday, so I decided to spend the days off traveling to Karakul with a couple of friends. We spent two nights – one full day and two half days – and approximately $30 per person. It was an independent trip and turned out to be quite the […]

A Weekend in Talas from Bishkek

Talas is a small town in the countryside of Kyrgyzstan, situated in a rural, mountainous region. For the opportunity to meet locals and learn about Kyrgyz folklore, this trip is ideal. The London School and SRAS organized a weekend trip for us. They took care of everything – transfer, packed lunches on the road, home-stay, […]

A Vegan’s Homestay Experience in Bishkek

Wondering about staying with a local family while you’re in Bishkek? Though every family is different, hopefully my experience will give a glimpse into what to expect. As a vegan, I’d also like to share my experience abroad to help other vegans better prepare for their homestays. The House It was early morning when I […]

The Host Indian Restaurant in Bishkek

Craving good quality Indian food at a decent price? As with many restaurants in Bishkek, The Host is a fusion of multiple cuisines – BBQ, Chinese, and Italian to name a few, but specializing in Indian. It was a sleepy Sunday afternoon, so we decided to head to The Host for some tasty comfort food.  […]

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 […]

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 – […]

Ecoland: Health and Specialty Food in Bishkek

In the past I have found health food stores hard to find while traveling off the beaten track…not so in Bishkek. Ecoland is a shop located directly across the road from London School and if you don’t see it, you’ll hear it. Speakers blast feel good music onto the streets from a “cabin in the […]

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