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There are many reasons to experience Kyrgyzstan and learn more about its people, history, and language. From its position as America's strongest ally in the economically and militarily important Central Asia region to the opportunity it offers for outdoor adventure and inexpensive travel, we believe Kyrgyzstan is an oft-overlooked destination for study abroad.
Kyrgyz Summer Adventure offers intensive three weeks of Kyrgyz and/or Russian language training and a one week trek through the gorgeous countryside of Kyrgyzstan on horseback, practicing the language. Students will also be offered the opportunity to learn about local environmental issues and the development of eco-tourism in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz Summer Adventure is perfect for students who would like to gain language skills this summer and do something seriously awesome that will generate stories and memories to share and cherish for the rest of one’s life! See below for sample itinerary.
- Dates and Costs -
Dates: June 24 - July 21, 2013 (Apply by April 15, 2013)
Cost: $3 395*
For semester or full year programs in Kyrgyzstan, see Central Asian Studies
* Cost includes tuition, home stay with half board in Bishkek, cultural program, 7-day trek on horseback (all meals included), health and accident insurance, pre-departure materials, local orientation, round-trip airport transfers, and SRAS in-country support. Tuition allows for 60 hours language (Russian and/or Kyrgyz), and six hours Introduction to Central Asia (history, economics/politics, culture). Dates and availability subject to change. Contact SRAS for details. All prices are subject to change without notice.
Kyrgyz Summer Adventure combines three weeks of intensive language study in Bishkek and one week of horse-trekking. There is ample time to practice the conversational skills you will have learned so far during the trek.
During the three weeks in Bishkek, an excursion program will be provided which may include include excursions to Ala-Archa National park, the Burana Tower (a IXth century minaret), Song Kul Lake and the petroglyphs on the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. Cultural components in Bishkek could include a night at the opera, Soviet historical monuments, the nearby Manas-Aili museum, and Kyrgyz oral poets. All of this is subject to scheduling conditions at the time of study.
Below is a basic description of the trek that students usually take. Obviously, the length of the trek can be stretched on either end, but in this configuration we had one day of rest at the end to allow participants to unwind. Sometimes, it also takes a day to teach students to get used to riding horses in mountain conditions. The itinerary for the horse-trek is subject to change based on weather and other conditions.
The sturdy Kyrgyz ponies are easy to ride, saddles are comfortable and horses provide a leisurely way to see more of the natural beauty of the area.
Daytime activities are plentiful and varied. In the mountain valleys, it's possible to see the occasional mountain sheep and hear the high-pitched screech of marmots. Watch eagles soar overhead and enjoy the fresh aroma of mountain flowers. Savor it, for once you are back in the bustle and heat of Bishkek, you’ll surely miss it.
Sample Itinerary for 7-day Horse Trek Through Kyrgyzstan
This 7 day horse-trek through At Jailoo and Kum Bell Passes crosses impressive mountain passes and journeys into a region that has seen little change in centuries. Yurts litter the valley floor like giant white mushrooms. Herds of horses wander freely, flocks of sheep and goats graze under the watchful eyes you warily, as you pass. It's a journey filled with spectacular natural beauty and the occasional unexpected challenge.
Day 0 Friday
14:30 Leave Bishkek
18:30 Arrive at beach camp
19:00 Dinner at beach camp
Relax and be prepared for the beginning of the trek for the next day.
8: 00 Wake up
8:30 Breakfast at beach camp
9:00 – 10:00 Leave for Konur Olen mountains
10:00 Begin the trek
12:00 Lunch at Konur Olen River
18:00 Night at Momo mountains
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Beginf the trek towards Orolmo mountains
12:00 Lunch at Orolmo mountains (Visit local shepherds’ yurts)
18:00 Night at Sai Alachuk mountains
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Begin the trek towards At Jailoo
12:00 Lunch at Kum Bell Pass
18:00 Night at Ichke - Tor
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Trek from Ichke Tor mountains towards Kichi Angi
12:00 Lunch at Kichi Angi
18:00 Night at Kichi Angi Lake (there is a lake at the top of mountains)
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Trek from Kichi Angi towards Chong Angi
12:00 Lunch at Chong Angi
18:00 Night at Sary Tor (Yellow Top)
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Trek from Saru Tor towards Kok Sai mountains
12:00 Lunch at the edge of Kok Sai
18:00 Night near the Kok Sai Pass
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Trek from Kok Sai to Toguz Bulak
12:00 Lunch at local shepherds house
18:00 Arrive at Beach Camp and night there
9:00 Wake up
10:00 Leave for Bishkek
To bring: warm jacket and warm sweater, rain gear, 2-3 pairs of warm socks, trekking waterproof boots, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, flashlight, personal medicine, metal water bottle (0.75 litters), water filtration/disinfectant tablets and any medication in rainproof bags, long underwear, warm hat, extra waterproof bags, small back pack.
Notes: You do not need to bring a sleeping bag – they will be provided by the school. You may want to bring a sleeping pad, but this is optional. Regarding the jacket – key is that it is both warm and waterproof. Chose waterproof over non-waterproof in any case possible. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable, so please be prepared for any type of weather. There can easily be days of solid rain and you have to keep riding. A waterproof shell with fleece liner may be best for this situation.
Tips for Riders and Trekkers.
Be prepared for all weather, including rain and even snow (yes, even in June). Bring waterproof clothing (jacket, pants, and boots). Store extra clothing in plastic bags. It is very important to have dry clothing for camp.
Getting enough water to drink can be a challenge. Water is boiled for tea and you can fill a water bottle with hot water then. But fuel is expensive and heavy to carry so bring a water filter (or water purification tablets) for extra water through out the day.
The sun is very strong here. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion.
Bring any extra snacks or treats you require. Dried fruit is readily available in Bishkek and a good source of quick energy. If you need coffee make sure to bring it. Tea is the drink of choice here. Instant coffee is readily available in Bishkek.
Horsemen use string and leather cord to tie to the horses. Good straps may help avoid excess wear on your gear so bring them if you have them. "Kurgun" bags can be secured to a horse easier than a backpack.
The guide prepares the food:
Breakfast: hot drinks, bread, cheese, jam, dried fruits
Lunch: is a picnic and consists of bread, tea, cheese, cold meat, and chocolate.
Dinner: hot soup, meat, pasta, salad, rice, cheese, dried fruits, chocolate, hot drinks