I had never heard of Kazakhstan before applying to the Peace Corps. I only knew that I wanted to teach at the university level, which meant going to either Eastern Europe or Central Asia. After researching the latter, I made it my first choice, and I’ve never regretted accepting an assignment in Kazakhstan.
True, I experienced many frustrations there, mainly due to corruption and the problems that inevitably accompany corruption. But I also have more gratifying memories than I can list here… of my beautiful host family in the tiny village of Kainazar… of my challenging training in nearby Talgar and Yesik… of my talented students and colleagues at the Academy of Languages in Shymkent… of my travels to Aksu-Zhabaghly, Lake Buravoe, Turkistan, and the ancient cities of Otrar and Sauran… and of my year living in vibrant Almaty, which, though no longer the political capital, remains the country’s economic and cultural capital.
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