Astana, as the capital of Kazakhstan, is a reasonably cosmopolitan city with amenities that are not common in most Kazakhstani cities, like international restaurants, several large indoor malls (useful in winter), and cultural activities, both local and international. Supermarkets with some European goods are easy to find, although it may be difficult to find even basic U.S. staples such as peanut butter. Due to the climate and transportation system, winter poses another challenge, namely finding a variety of fresh vegetables. Canned and frozen vegetables can be found, but winter offerings usually consist of carrots, potatoes, beets, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. As Astana is the capital, it may be possible to find other fresh vegetables in the winter but those are usually expensive or available in very limited quantities. Public transport within the city is excellent and cheap. Taxis are available and Uber has recently arrived. Traveling from Astana to other cities usually requires flying: Air Astana is safe and currently inexpensive, with good internal connections and also frequent flights to international cities such as Dubai, Bangkok, Seoul, London, and regional capitals.
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world by size but boasts a population of less than 18 million. Due to this immense landscape, it is not a simple task to travel around the country, especially in winter. Astana is located in the heart of the steppe region and is subject to extremely cold temperatures in winter, often approaching -40 F or even lower. It is also windy most of the year. Fall and spring are brief and summers usually mild. Astana often receives snow and this can lead to ice on sidewalks and entrances to buildings, which may be dangerous.
Host Institution: S Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University
S Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University is one of the leading agrotechnical universities in Kazakhstan and among 11 priority universities, designated by the Ministry of Education and Science. It is ranked among the top 800 universities in the world by QS and boasts nearly one thousand faculty members. Among its key international partners (in thirty countries) is the University of California, Davis, which is ranked as the number one agrarian research university in the world. Located in Astana, it benefits from resources in the capital and an ability to draw foreign faculty members from around the world. As part of the country’s trilingual plan, content teachers are now being required to teach some courses in English and most are ill-prepared academically for this task. The presence of a Fellow will improve the general English ability of these content teaches and thus help students better understand these English-language subject courses.
- The Fellow will work with subject teachers to enhance their competence in the four EL skills.
- The Fellow will work with EL teachers on methodology of teaching English and TOEFL preparation tips.
- The Fellow will teach academic English, particularly writing.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Conduct workshops for public teachers at the American Corner in Astana, as well as periodic discussions with the general public
- Work with local EL teachers’ associations.