Tomorrow morning I will be flying out from here to Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan. I’ll be there for a day and then onward to Uzbekistan. I’ve been in Kyrgyzstan for 38 days now, and I’m going to try to reflect on my time and offer advice for anyone interested in coming here.
I spent 5 weeks studying Russian at London School and I am honestly quite happy with the progress I have made with the language. I have exceeded the goals that I originally set — I can order in a restaurant, get a taxi, arrange transport, shop etc. Over the past few weeks I’ve even been having full on conversations with my conversation teacher on a wide array of topics. We sometimes have to use Google Translate for the nouns I don’t understand, but besides that I get on pretty well in very basic Russian. While I am happy about all of this, I found that I actually don’t like studying Russian. Certainly its a difficult language, but it wasn’t the language that was the problem. I’ve found that I am just not that interested in this region and unmotivated to communicate with the people here. Without that motivation, studying Russian became very difficult. I’m impressed by how far I’ve come, but had I been more motivated I’d certainly be better. The next language I choose to study has to be spoken by people I am genuinely interested in meeting and conversing with then I’ll be more motivated to continue my studies. Additionally intensive language study is by definition very intensive. Waking up to three hours of one on one grammar lessons every morning really doesn’t make anyone excited to continue studying that language. The London School has great teachers, but the program is extremely intense. I’d recommend to anyone studying a language to not take more than 4 hours of lessons a day. At London School I was doing five.
Overall, learning basic Russian this quickly has been a good confidence builder for me. It’s a very difficult language, but I am able to converse in it in just five weeks which is very confidence building toward my next language endeavor.
Bishkek is bleh
I did not like Bishkek at all. It is a city built entirely by the Soviets and then left to rot by the Soviets. My best memories of Kyrgyzstan are everything I did outside of Bishkek. I’ve met lots of people here that really seem to like Bishkek, but it just did not click with me. I am very excited to get out and don’t plan on coming back. I can think of many significantly poorer cities that I would much rather live than here. The food is bad, the people aren’t very nice, and there is not much to do.
Kyrgyzstan on the other hand is a beautiful country. All of the hikes I went on were spectacular, but outside of the nature, do not expect much here. Kyrgyzstan’s infrastructure is in terrible condition and most of the country is very very undeveloped. Its cool if that’s what you want to see, but it makes getting around very difficult.
Run-down depressing looking buildings – yep that’s Bishkek.
I fly out on the 13th in the morning so I’ll be back here again in a few weeks on the 12th to wait for my flight. My next destination is Istanbul then Europe. I’m very excited to get back to the West.