The Russian Overseas Flagship is currently running and is located at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Students began in late August and will complete the program next May 2020. There are three Bryn Mawr College students and one Haverford College student studying there this year. These students were required to complete the Bryn Mawr Russian Domestic Flagship program before proceeding to the Russian Overseas Flagship program.
As part of the Russian Overseas Flagship’s Fall Newsletter, Isabella Chaney '19 spoke about her experience living with a host family:
“My host family experience has been nothing but wonderful. I was, in all honesty, quite nervous about living in a homestay before coming to Almaty. I’ve been living away from home for four years, and was worried about how I would adapt to living with a family again. In reality, there was nothing to worry about. I was placed with the perfect family. My host mom is absolutely amazing! She and I spend our evenings drinking tea and discussing books. We’ve covered everything from Tolstoy’s War and Peace to Edward Said’s Orientalism. History, philosophy, sociology, we can spend hours sitting in the kitchen sharing our ideas. We also started watching a TV show in Kazakh together. I started studying Kazakh about a month ago, so I understand very little. When I manage to pick out a word (usually “no” or “hello”), she’s as excited as I am. We do, of course, speak mostly Russian, but when I try out my few phrases of Kazakh, she’s always supportive, as are my host dad and host sister. Their enthusiasm for my little successes makes learning Kazakh all the more rewarding. Being in the right host family is incredibly important, especially in the beginning of the program. I immediately felt at home in Almaty, largely thanks to the warmth and hospitality from my host family. No matter how difficult classes may be, however much I miss home, or whatever else may go wrong in my day, I know that when I come home, my host mom will be there with a sympathetic ear, good advice, and more food than one person can possibly consume in one meal. If I have questions, I can always ask. She wants to know what’s happening in my life, and is legitimately interested in my opinions and experiences. Our program is quite intensive, but with my host family’s unfailing support and unending tea, I know I’ll not only make it through, but I’m sure that this year will be as fun as it is educational.”