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Country:  Tajikistan
City: Khorog

Adventurous. If that’s how your friends describe you, then Khorog is the place for you. Just to arrive here, you have to fly to Dushanbe, one of the world’s most isolated national capitals, then take a 16-hour taxi ride to Khorog. Upon arrival, you will meet a small city of 30,000 with no supermarkets, but a vibrant local market where you can buy anything you need, and some of what you want. Electricity is relatively stable, except during winter, due to the difficulty of hydroelectric power generation in extreme cold. That same cold can make travel out of Khorog difficult during winter, limiting availability of fresh foods and contributing to a sense of isolation. Internet access is slow and metered, allowing residents to disengage from electronics and enjoy the hospitality of the Pamiri people. These challenges are worth it when you compare them to experiences that are possible. Trek from Khorog’s 6,000 feet of elevation to 14,000 feet of elevation on a nearby mountain. During lunch, walk one block to the city center with a friend, buy sambusa and piroshky, and meander in the park. Khorog has one of the best educated populations of any town in Central Asia. In fact, during the Soviet era, the Pamir region had the highest rate of university and advanced degrees in the USSR. The moderate Ismailli form of Islam observed there means Muslim strictures tend to be less widely observed. A local tourism agency can organize trips into the mountains that locals call the roof of the world. If you want stories that you can tell for the rest of your life, come to Khorog. Your work will make a difference.

Host Institution: Khorog University of Central Asia School of Continuing Education

The University of Central Asia (UCA) in Khorog was founded in 2000, and a brand new campus opened in the Fall of 2017. UCA offers the smallest student-faculty ratio in Central Asia: 9 to 1. Faculty English language and pedagogical skills are the highest among Tajikistan’s universities. The Fellow will teach English language courses alongside regular instructors. While the Fellow will lead these courses, planning should be collaborative with Tajik counterparts. These partnerships will build language and pedagogical capacity among instructors and give students an opportunity to interact with a native speaker. 

Khorog State University (KSU), also in Khorog, will benefit from the Fellow’s expertise. Both universities have 25 English teachers, and the Fellow will offer in-service training at each institution on alternating weeks on topics like writing and speaking skills. At KSU, the focus will be on low-tech methodology. You will find that resources and English proficiency among teachers at KSU are lower than at UCA. UCA’s has more resources which allow for greater incorporation of technology in teaching practices. Because of these disparities, sessions will be different at each institution, but modeling effective techniques is the goal. 

Primary Duties

  • The Fellow will train English teachers and co-teach at the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) of Khorog.
  • The Fellow will participate in and conduct staff development sessions and serve as a mentor for UCA teachers.

Secondary Duties

The Fellow may be asked to:

  • Conduct discussion or debate clubs at the American Corner on different topics once a week. Topics could include TOEFL prep, holidays, and politics. The Fellow’s passion can drive the topics.
  • Leverage American Corner resources to continue the development of the English Teaching Mentor program alumni, who train English teachers throughout the region.

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