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Country Guides
Study in Kazakhstan

Though still an emerging destination for international study, Kazakhstan and its universities are fast claiming a place on the higher education map.

Here we take a look at the country’s progress in establishing itself as a regional study hub for Central Asia, and what prospective international students need to know about universities in Kazakhstan, local life and the application process.

The largest and wealthiest of the countries nicknamed the ‘Stans’, Kazakhstan has long been an ethnically diverse country; in the 2009 census, only 63% of residents were native Kazakhs. This international element is also a key characteristic of the country’s higher education sector, in which global collaborations and exchanges are occupying an increasingly prominent role, with universities in Kazakhstan keen to welcome international students and academics from across the world.

Fast Facts

  • Capital is Astana, but largest city is Almaty.
  • Currency is the Kazakh tenge (one tenge is made up of 100 tiyn).
  • International dialing code is +7 and the internet domain is .kz.
  • President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in power for more than two decades.
  • Borders with Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China and the Caspian Sea
  • Known as the world’s largest landlocked country (the Caspian Sea is basically a huge lake, so isn’t counted)
  • One of the world’s lowest population densities, at about 15 people per square mile (compared to 83 per square mile in the US, 21 in Russia and less than eight in Australia)
  • Most people speak Russian and/or Kazakh; English is also fairly widely spoken.
  • Kazakhstan was part of the former USSR and has been independent since 1991.
  • There are more than 131 different ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan.
  • Baikonur Cosmodome, the world’s first and largest space launch facility, is in Kazakhstan.
  • Main religion is Islam.
  • Rare animals found in Kazakhstan include snow leopards, eagles and falcons.
  • National musical instrument is the dombra, a two-stringed instrument resembling a guitar.