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7 Things to Know Before You Study in Astana

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With a population of around a million, Astana is a city in the heart of Eurasia. Different cultural events, eye-catching architecture designed by Norman Foster and Kisho Kurokawa, and the city’s key sights are guaranteed to impress and make your stay unforgettable. This friendly city has hosted international events including Congress OSCE, Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Asian Winter Games, Muz TV Awards and, recently, the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate.

If you’re planning to study in Astana, here’s my complete guide to what you need to know…

1. Prepare for a harsh winter Prepare for winter

If your country does not have a distinct winter season, you may have some tough days during your first year in Kazakhstan. But you will get over it and get used to it soon. Before arriving to study Astana, I would recommend checking the weather forecast in advance, as it is rather extreme (+30°C in summer, -30°C in winter). If you think that cold weather is always bad for health, you are wrong! The frost can actually make you feel stronger and energetic, and snow always feels magical. Plus, the winter climate of Kazakhstan means you can have a chance to enjoy winter sports like skiing and skating.

2. Bring your sportswear Bring your sportswear

If you like sports and a healthy lifestyle, Astana is for you. It’s fit-oriented, with various facilities available to everyone: electronic bikes, sport centers such as SC Astana, Dinamo, Astana Arena, Alatau, Ice Palace Alau, the SaryArka Velodrome, and numerous fitness centers. The biggest of these is Fitness Palace. In these centers, many sport events have taken place, such as the seventh Asian Games and UEFA matches at the world level, national tournaments for the Cup of the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation, the Astana Cup for cycling and many others.

3. Admire the city’s architecture Astana architecture

For those who are interested in architecture, Astana is a great place to admire innovative and creative buildings. You can be fascinated by a range of constructions, beginning with the House of Ministers, Ak Orda, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Parliament Building, Baiterek, which is the symbol of Astana, administration centers, Astana circus, Mosque Hazret Sultan and Nur Astana, the Cultural President Center, the Palace of Independence, and Kazakhstan Central Hall – with this vibrant capital city still in the process of growing. A whole new part of the city is being constructed ahead of the international exhibition Expo 2017, and the Abu Dhabi Plaza Complex is the most anticipated building.

There are also many places to find cultural enrichment. The State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Astana Opera will leave you impressed. This is a new theatre, which is a step towards becoming a cultural center of Eurasia.

4. Get involved in Expo 2017 Expo 2017

One of largest international exhibitions is coming to Astana in just a few years. In its significance, the Expo is comparable to the largest economic forums in the world and, in terms of tourism, to the Olympic Games. The symbol of EXPO 2017 – The Sphere – will become a recognizable international icon, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Sydney Opera House.

For young scientists and people who work in search of alternative energies, Expo 2017 is a great opportunity to see how the world is developing in these fields. You will see the design and construction of buildings including the Central Kazakhstan  Pavillion, Corporate and International Pavilions, and hotel, retail, art and performances spaces. Most of these buildings will use green energy, including wind and solar power.

EXPO 2017 is also a platform for developing volunteering. As a student, you can become a member of this big international, multicultural and multilingual family and develop new areas of interest and communication skills. As a visitor to EXPO 2017, you will not only see the best achievements of the country, but also get acquainted with its cultural heritage, get experience of unity, universality and solidarity and become part of history.

5. Join a multilingual community Multilingual community

Kazakhstan is a multilingual state. Widely spoken languages include:

  • Kazakh, which is the state language. This is part of the rich and ancient system of Turkic languages. Turkish and Kazakh languages, history and culture have common roots, therefore there is growing interest in learning Turkish in Kazakhstan.
  • Russian, which is the language of integration with Kazakhstan’s immediate neighbors, the language of interethnic communication.
  • English, which is the international business language, providing opportunities for future development.

This multilingual environment is a great advantage, making it easier to communicate with people in Kazakhstan. The use of three languages in education, medicine, culture, transport and many other spheres provides easy adaptation.

As a student of  Eurasian National University, I want to point out that I have the opportunity to learn various languages here, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Arabian, Polish and Spanish. Also, as Kazakhstan continues to develop, a growing number of young people are engaging in different languages.

6. Explore a unique multicultural society Multicultural society

 The uniqueness of Kazakhstan is expressed in its multicultural and multiethnic people. Historically, people of different nationalities and religions have lived here in peace and harmony. Tolerance and hospitality are the main features of the Kazakh people. Kazakhstan’s formidable success as a country that has been able to prevent ethnic and religious strife in a territory where 140 ethnic groups and many religions reside; this could be a model for study and imitation for some Western countries that are facing multicultural crises.

7. Enjoy the amazing Kazakh food Kazakh food

Finally, the food! Your stomach should be ready for the food culture of Kazakhstan before coming, and there are two reasons why. First, there are a lot of delicious foods in Kazakhstan. Especially, you can enjoy various foods made with fresh meats such as lamb and horsemeat. I really want to recommend you to taste “beshbarmak”. This Kazakh dish shows the traditions of Kazakh nation well, and you can feel the nomadic spirit from this food. Furthermore, you can also have an opportunity to eat not only  traditional Kazakh foods, but also different nations’ foods, such as the cuisines of Uzbekistan, Russia and Korea. This is because Kazakhstan is inhabited by more than 130 different ethnic groups, and many nations have brought their food culture to Kazakhstan. Therefore, you must be ready for these fantastic and varied foods.

Secondly, Kazakh (or Kazakhstani) people are warmhearted, and very hospitable to guests and foreigners. It is normal for them to invite important guests to their house and serve foods of high quality. I’ve been invited by my Kazakh friends several times, and served traditional Kazakh dishes such as beshbarmak, kazy and kymyz. They always prepare foods for their guests with their utmost sincerity. So, be prepared for invitations from your kind-hearted Kazakh friends. 

Bashir Y, Ece S & 1 others saved this
Written by Youngmin Chu
I am a Korean from South Korea, but now I live in Astana, Kazakhstan. Ph.D, Eurasian National University

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Hello: Please I’m a Nigerian Student wishing to study in Kazakhsatan but I dont Know anyone to Guide me on getting Admission and an Invitation for Visa. I want to study Masters in Eurasian University In Astana

Hi Bashir, please take a look at our guide on studying in Kazahkstan, which includes information on admissions and applying for a student visa. Hope this helps!

According to this review I would like to say a few words about the advantages of studying in Astana. I agree with the statements of the author about our city. In general, it is a place of great opportunities. Because Astana is a new city and it is just beginning to reach global heights. If we talk about studying in Astana, of course, first of all I would like to suggest one of the best universities of our capital. My name is Albina Aisheva. I’m 22 years old. I would like to say some words about my university. I live and study in Astana. It is a heart of Eurasia. There are many universities and colleges and the city is full of students. However, I chose to study in one of the biggest universities in the city, the Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilyov. My branch is philology and I’m going to become a teacher of foreign languages. It has trained a lot of specialists, including a large number of foreign students from Korea, Mongolia, China. I am currently a student of this university and I’m proud of it. I know that many teenagers dream of studying here but the entrance exams are not easy. I take active part in everyday student life. We often have international conferences held at the university. There are also frequent international programs based on educational exchange. Every year, for example, students have a chance to go to abroad as a member of such exchange.

Hello, Albina. Please can you help me to get an Admission in Eurasian University Astana, I am a Nigerian. And I want to study Masters of Journalism

I find your article very interesting. I really enjoy your point of view about 7 thing to know before to study in Astana. Overall, education system in Astana is very strong. However, there are some challenging things for international students from all around the world. For example, as it is mentioned below, different weather conditions, multiculture( more than 130 nations) and etc. 15 minutes of spended time to read that article will help you to prepare for studying in Astana and give you an opportunity to gain some knowledge about Kazakhstan. P.s. Personally, I am a second year student of L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University and I invite all of you to have a great experience by studying in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Please me too I want to study in Kazakhstan in Eurasian University. Please Can anyone help me for Admission Guide and how to get a Letter Of Invitation for Visa. I am a Nigerian I want to study Masters.