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 […]

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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 […]

Russian MiniLessons: How to Address Strangers in Russian

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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! […]

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 […]

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 – […]

Public Transportation in Bishkek

In Bishkek, as in many cities, public transportation is the primary and most effective way to get around town. There are four widely-used types of public transportation here: municipal bus, trolleybus, taxi, and marshrutka. 1. Marshrutka Locals have mentioned to me that marshrutkas are their most disliked method of transportation, but they are also evidently […]

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 […]

Russian as a Second Language in Bishkek and Irkutsk

Program Evaluation Russian as a Second Language in Bishkek and Irkutsk (plus Home and Abroad Scholarship)   Academic Program in Bishkek and Irkutsk Bishkek First, the basics. I was in the Russian as a Second Language program. I had class four days a week, 8:30 to 2:30, all Russian-language. My day off, Wednesday, was devoted to grammar […]

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 […]

The Vegetarian’s Guide to Bishkek

Being a vegetarian in Bishkek was not nearly as challenging as I had expected it to be. This incomplete guide covers some of the places and dishes I discovered during my nine months in Kyrgyzstan’s capital that made vegetarianism there even easier, and more delicious. I’m not a vegan (I eat diary and eggs), but […]

Chong-Kemin Valley, Kyrgyzstan

Mist, Mud, and Mountains in Beautiful Chong-Kemin Weekend Trip ~1000 som Chong-Kemin Valley is home to villages, a national park, and a state reserve just two and a half hours from Bishkek by marshrutka. I visited a village in the valley with two friends in March, travelling through CBT (Community Based Tourism). With more time […]

Meros Silk Paper Factory in Samarkand

Meros Silk Paper Factory/Бумажная Фабрика «Мерос» Koni Ghil/Кони Гил Tour cost: 3000 sum/$1.25 The Meros Silk Paper Factory was one of the last stops on this November’s trip from Bishkek to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, organized by SRAS and The London School of Bishkek as part of the Central Asian Studies study abroad program. Just outside Samarkand, […]

Central Asian Plov Center in Tashkent

Central Asian Plov Center/Среднеазиатский Центр Плова 1 Iftihor St./ул. Ифтихор, д. 1 Hours: 10:00-14:00 Entrées from 5000 sum ($2) Though I have tried плов (plov, or pilaf) in only one restaurant in Uzbekistan’s capital, I feel confident recommending Central Asian Plov Center as a worthwhile destination in Tashkent for both the food quality and the […]

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