Bishkek is a great value to adventurous students of Russian, anthropology, politics and diplomacy, and Central Asian area studies. The city has relatively few English speakers and offers a truely unique cultural experience. Bishkek is the politically turbulent capital of one of the United States' strongest allies within the strategically invaluable region of Central Asia. Here, students can intensively study Russian and even Central Asian languages upon request and learn the complex politics that govern this land. Students can experience the multicultural environment of Central Asia and take advantage of the many great outdoor experiences the surrounding countryside offers. The cost of living here is about half of that in most locations inside Russia.
The London School offers a friendly and laid-back atmosphere in which to study. Students wishing to combine serious language, history, and cultural studies with crafts lessons, village home stays, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming are especially drawn to The London School. The London School is a private language school operating since 1998, future diplomats and state department employees frequent its programs, which have also directly served clients such as the UNDP, the US Embassy, and USAID projects.
Location LSB is located in the center of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, just south of the main downtown area. The Vefa Center, a shopping complex known throughout the city, is just a block north on Sovetskaya St., at the bus stop hub you’ll often be using when getting on and off public transportation to and from many other parts of the city.
Campus/Student Life As a small, private language school, LSB has a close-knit community feel. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in activities, and home stays really enhance cultural immersion. LSB is also involved in teaching English and other foreign languages to locals, so there are always plenty of students around, representing a range of nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
Dorm Details The dorm is on-site. Expect a roommate. Rooms are small but in good condition (see the pictures below). Rooms contain beds, desk, and wardrobe. The kitchen is shared between several people. The dorm does not have lockdown hours (curfews).
Home Stay For a more immersive experience, our more adventurous students elect to stay in a local home. One month of optional homestay is included in all SRAS Bishkek programs. It's not for everyone, but it is a great experience! Limited availability.
SRAS Support at LSB The Director of LSB is a member of the SRAS Team, and SRAS students have a dedicated manager at LSB. Upon enrolling with SRAS, students receive a detailed guide with specific information on where to find the facilities and food outlined below and much more. All arriving students are given a practical tour covering the campus, how to use Bishkek’s public transportation, and where to find places locally to purchase food and other necessities. The LSB manager is always available by cell phone (cell phones are included with all programs in Bishkek) to answer any questions, discuss any concerns, or help in the event of emergency.
University Facilities Laundry facilities are available. There is a computer lab with Internet access and a small library. There is a small cafeteria where students can get a tasty, filling meal pretty cheaply. Students also come here to have a coffee or tea between classes and hang out with friends – or to meet new ones!
Campus/Near-Campus Food There is a small cafeteria on campus with decent food, large portions, and good prices. There are plenty of options near the School as well – there is a foodcourt inside the Vefa Center, and plenty of small cafes – as well as small food stands and mini-grocery stores – lining the streets in all directions, with the most options North on Sovetskaya St.
Nearby Attractions All programs include excursions (see the individual program pages for details). There is plenty to do in Bishkek, but not in the traditional sense of museums and exhibits – Kyrgyzstan is more about outdoor adventure and experiencing the unique culture of this place by getting to know locals. That said, LSB is a short bus ride from all Bishkek’s major attractions, includingAla-Too Square (the center of the government and the city life), the Presidential Palace, the "Statue of Liberty" (which replaced the statue of Lenin in 1991), and the Flagstaff, which is ceremoniously raised and lowered every day at sunrise and sunset and where you can witness the changing of the guard.
Summary: Pros and Cons
Pros – cultural immersion, hospitality of locals, close-knit community feel on campus, opportunity for outdoor excursions and unique village home stay experiences, computer lab and dorms on the premises, unique experience of living in a former Soviet Republic and in Central Asia.
Cons – petty crime in the city, smallness of the campus can be con for some, relative lack of exhibits or events related to the fine arts.