There are many reasons to experience Kyrgyzstan and learn more about its people, history, and culture. 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 Russian language training and a one week trek through the gorgeous mountains of Kyrgyzstan on horseback, practicing the language. Students can choose three weeks of language training or, for a better value, a full nine weeks. Students will also learn more about local history, culture, and food through a variety of guest speakers and workshops.
Kyrgyz Summer Adventure is perfect for students of anthropology, language, area studies, history, or even international relations. It's also perfect for anyone with an outdoorsy spirit who would like to gain Russian language skills this summer while doing something that will generate incredible stories and memories from your time riding, hiking, and engaging with locals in the mountains of Central Asia. See the sample itinerary below and prepare to get excited.
- Dates and Costs -
Four Weeks: Cost: $3,695 June 20 - July 17, 2015 (Apply by: April 15, 2016)
Ten Weeks: Cost: $7,390 May 30 - Aug 8, 2016 (Apply by: March 15, 2016)
*Cost includes tuition, dormitory stay, 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 and/or customizations. All prices are subject to change without notice.
Sample Intinerary Horse Trekking through Central Asian Mountains
Kyrgyz Summer Adventure combines intensive Russian language study in Bishkek with 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.
Students will also experience a range of guest speakers who may discuss subjects such as Kyrgyzstan's experience under the USSR, ancient Kyrgyz culture, modern social issues, etc. Students will also experience the local cuisine by learning to prepare it themselves while discussing its place in Kyrgyz history and culture.
Below is a basic description of the trek that students usually take. The length of the trek can be stretched on either end so contact us for the final itinerary. 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 horses are not difficult 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. Go for a hike, play cards, learn the Kyrgyz version of "Duck, duck, goose", or find a beautiful spot and enjoy the view. 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 with watchful eyes 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 or in a yurt with a local family Relax and be prepared for the beginning of the trek for the next day.
Day 1 8:00 Breakfast at beach camp, then drive to the base camp 9:00-10:00 Training (horse riding practice, practice putting up the tents) 10:00–11:00 Packing belongings into saddle bags 11:00 TREK BEGINS! 12:30 Lunch at Konur Olen River 18:00 Night at Momo mountains
Day 2 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 8:00 Begin the trek towards Orolmo mountains 12:00 Lunch at Orolmo mountains (visit local shepherds’ yurts) 18:00 Night at Sai Alachuk mountains
Day 3 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 8:00 Begin the trek towards At Jailoo 12:00 Lunch at Kum Bell Pass 18:00 Night at Ichke - Tor
Day 4 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 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)
Day 5 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 8:00 Trek from Kichi Angi towards Chong Angi 12:00 Lunch at Chong Angi 18:00 Night at Sary Tor (Yellow Top)
Day 6 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 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
Day 7 7:00 Wake up 7:30 Breakfast 8:00 Trek from Kok Sai to Toguz Bulak 13:00 Lunch at local shepherds house or beach camp 14:00 Depart for Bishkek
Tips for Riders and Trekkers
Be prepared for all weather, including rain and even snow (yes, even in the summer months). Bring waterproof clothing (jacket, pants, and boots). Store extra clothing in plastic bags. It is very important to have dry clothing for camp. You'll be provided with a detailed packing list before your departure to Kyrgyzstan.
The sun is very strong here. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Again, you'll be provided with a detailed packign list.
Bring any extra snacks or treats you require. Dried fruit is readily available in Bishkek and a good source of quick energy.
Tea is the drink of choice here, and it may be less caffeinated than what you're used to. If this might be a concern to you, consider bringing your own instant coffee. Instant coffee is readily available in Bishkek.
Food 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