A great big steppe!

Posted on 28 August 2008
In July John Dray went with a group of Christian students from Lancaster and Manchester to the country of Kazakhstan in central Asia. The trip was part of a cultural exchange between British and Kazakhstani students at the University of East Kazakhstan in Ust-Kamenogorsk. He is a short report:

As well as being the birthplace of Rudi Drews, the apple and trousers, Kazakhstan is also the ninth biggest country in the world in terms of area. People know very little about Kazakhstan in Britain. Until 1991 it formed part of the Soviet Union, and because it was so remote it was used as a testing site for nuclear weapons and for the imprisonment of political prisoners in gulags. Since then, it has become an increasingly successful country with vast oil resources. Outside of the city, most of the land consists of vast Steppe, semi-arid grasslands.

The exchange took place in the town of Ust-Kamenogorsk. The city is in the north of Kazakhstan, on the edge of Siberia. As our plane arrived in Almaty in the south, it took a further train then taxi ride of 20 hours to get to the city. There we met the Kazakhstani students who were part of the programme. Our aim was partly to help the students with their English language. Therefore, in the mornings we took lessons in English on a range of subjects. In the afternoons we alternated between arranging ‘tracks’ on sports, crafts and music whilst on other days undertook excursions to various locations including the city Mosque.

If you want to know more, I would be glad to talk about it!

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