Turkmenistan is a predominantly Muslim country, with a population of roughly 5 million people. The capital city, Ashgabat, has a population of around 700,000. Turkmenistan is a desert environment, with very low precipitation, mild winters, but very hot, dry summers. Temperatures range from -10C to +55C. Locals speak several languages: Turkmen, Russian, Uzbek, Turkish, some English and other languages, with the first 2 being predominant. Although mostly Muslim, Turkmenistan is nonetheless a secular country, and does not have clothing, food, or alcohol restrictions. For those who prefer a vegetarian diet, or have another intolerance, such as a gluten allergy, finding the right food products may pose more of a challenge than in other countries, but is possible. Ashgabat has buses at a cost of about 10 cents/ride (monthly pass available), and there are gypsy cabs, which is the preferred method of transportation for most residents, at a rate of $1-3/trip for most locations within the city limits. Embassy staff is available at any time to provide assistance with any additional questions or requests for information.
Host Institution: International University for the Humanities and Development
The International University for the Humanities and Development (IUHD) opened in Ashgabat in 2014. This university is one of two in Turkmenistan that uses English as the medium of instruction, and the only one based on a Western system of education – a 4-year bachelor’s Degree followed by a 2-year master’s degree (the latter is not available yet, but the university administration is working on a program to propose it to the government in the near future). The university plans to accept international exchange students as soon as possible. It currently has a 1+4 system – a 1-year language prep program, and a 4-year BA program. The university currently offers bachelor’s degrees in 14 fields, and plans to open additional fields of study in the future. In 2015-2016, this academic institution hosted its first English Language Fellow. IUHD allows Fellows considerable freedom in teaching. Fellows can use outside materials, as long as they cover the topics included in the syllabus. Post requires all Fellows to inform their department head ahead of time of any additional materials they’d like to use in teaching, and to keep Post informed of any and all extracurricular activities they are asked to participate in. Past Fellows have found this institution welcoming and productive.
- The Fellow will teach all aspects of general English, including writing, speaking, reading, and listening to undergraduate-level students. The students’ skill level is expected to be mixed, although likely to be at an intermediate level.
- The Fellow will work with the host institution to identify aspects of U.S. culture to incorporate in lessons as appropriate.
- The Fellow will carry out occasional informal workshops for English teachers, and consult teaching staff on minor matters related to teaching.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Support the Mission’s diplomacy goals by teaching English language classes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
- Support English language learning at PAS through various activities taking place at the Information Resource Center, as well as through PAS’ own English language classes.