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: Magtymguly Turkmen State University
Turkmen State University was established in 1950. It has the following departments: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, Turkmen language and literature, foreign languages and literature, and law. In total, there are 28 majors to choose from, with several having been added recently – namely, oriental studies, theology, archaeology, meteorology, ecology, psychology, Arabic/Turkish/Chinese/Italian language and literature, journalism, and information systems and technologies. The university is the oldest in the country, and because of this, it has a well-established administrative process when it comes to education – in other words, it is a well-oiled machine, albeit still following the Soviet system of education and instruction. Fellows placed at Turkmen State University should expect to work within a controlled environment, following a syllabus approved by the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan. Outside information and materials may be used, but they must always be cleared with the respective department head or administration of the university. All topics in the syllabus must be covered, because they will be included in the final exam, which the Fellow may or may not be asked to participate in as the examiner. The university hosted its first Fellow in 2016-2017.
- 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 Embassy’s diplomacy goals by supporting English language learning at the Public Affairs Section (PAS) through various activities taking place at the Information Resource Center, as well as through PAS’ own English language classes.