Study Abroad: Summer Intensive Russian and Kazakh and Elective Courses in Eurasian Studies (Astana, Kazakhstan)

Deadline for Applications: March 01, 2017

Nazarbayev University (Astana, Kazakhstan), in collaboration with the University of Arizona, is pleased to announce the Second Summer School in Russian and Eurasian Studies (SSRES). We are now accepting applications from undergraduate and graduate students, as well as working professionals for our 2017 summer session. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017. Program dates for SSRES 2017: May 26-July 22 (8 weeks)

The main component of SSRES in 2017 will be an Intensive 8-week Course in Russian Language (all levels are welcome) OR an Intensive 8-week Course in Beginner’s Kazakh Language. The program offers 120 contact hours of in-class instruction in all aspects of these languages and one elective course in the Eurasian Studies curriculum taught in English. Students can choose one from the following elective courses:

  • HST 100 History of Kazakhstan (6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie)
  • HST 104 Central Asian History II (6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie)
  • WLL 230 Survey of Post-Soviet Russian Literature and Culture (6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie)

In additional to the core program, the students will have an opportunity to learn some elementary Kazakh and get an introduction to Kazakh culture by taking a weekly non-credited practical course in Kazakh Language and Culture (once a week on Fridays, free and included in the program). Students, enrolled in Kazakh, will be able to take a similar course in Russian Language and Culture.

American students have an option to apply to the program through The University of Arizona Global Initiatives and earn US-based academic credits. The University of Arizona offers full health insurance coverage, pre-departure orientation and advising sessions, and 24/7 counselling services to all program participants.  For more information, visit the program’s website at

For more information about the program, including its cost, course descriptions, and the cultural program, visit our website: and the program blog at Please address all questions to Professor Victoria Thorstensson ( 

Questions about the application process through the University of Arizona should be addressed to Professor Liudmila Klimanova, Director for the Arizona in Kazakhstan Program ( ___________________________________________________________________________

Additional Information:

SSRES (Summer School in Russian and Eurasian Studies) at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan is an intensive academic program that offers students the chance to immerse themselves in the Russian or Kazakh language and to experience Kazakh language and culture in the heart of Eurasia.

The students will live on the campus of Nazarbayev University in the new capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

Levels offered:

Intensive Russian (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced). A group for superior-level students can be opened as well, pending student interest.

Intensive Kazakh (Beginning)

The language curriculum will be taught using the communicative method of instruction in the situation of linguistic and cultural immersion. Students will be placed into appropriate levels of Russian, based on the results of a placement test and according to their level of proficiency (as specified in ACFFL Proficiency Guidelines). Russian courses will be taught by professionals trained in current methodologies and experienced in teaching international students.

In addition, students will have an option to sign up for an elective course in Eurasian Area Studies, which will be offered as part of the Nazarbayev University Summer School curriculum and will be open for both local and international students. All elective courses will be taught in English with a possible Russian-language discussion section (based on the interest and the level of the students). Nazarbayev University is a world research leader in Eurasian studies. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University offers an MA in Eurasian Studies, a two-year interdisciplinary area studies program taught in English. It is the first of its kind to be offered in Kazakhstan, and one of only a handful across the Eurasian region.

Nazarbayev University will assist students in transferring credits earned in this course to their home institutions.

List of electives for 2017:

HST 100 History of Kazakhstan

6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie

This course focuses on the history of the present Kazakhstani territory in the early modern and modern periods (XVI c. to the present). This course will start with a sketch of the history of the Qazaq khanate and with a study of the interaction between the three juzes and their (sedentary and nomadic) neighbours in the XVIII and XIX cc., including the Qing empire and the Central Asian polities on the south. Then we will study the history of the Qazaqs under Russian rule and in the early Soviet period, using the full collectivisation drive and the ensuing famine as a final periodization landmark. Following some recent scholarship, we will look at this period as a trajectory of integration of the Qazaqs into the Tsarist and Soviet State. The last part of the course will be consecrated to the study of the mature Soviet period. We will look in particular at some aspects of State-driven socio-economic transformation, the role of local leadership, and the way Soviet policies affected the emergence and consolidation of present-day independent Kazakhstan.

HST 104 Central Asian History II

6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie

This course is a survey of the history of southern, predominantly settled Central Asia from the late Timurids to the present. We will look at the history of the territory that corresponded to the Turkestan general-governorship under Tsarist rule, which encompassed the main oases of Transoxiana, but also mountain areas and plateaus to the east, deserts to the west and south-west, and the fringes of the steppe to the north. We will also make some incursions in the history of neighbouring territories, in particular those of Safavid and Qajar Persia, Eastern (Chinese) Turkestan, and present-day Afghanistan. This class focuses on issues of political structure and legitimisation, competition over natural resources and settled-nomadic relations, colonialism in its Russian variant, and the social and economic transformations that occurred in the Soviet era. The students will be exposed to a variety of primary sources of very different genres (from chronicles to waqfnamas, from OGPU reports to fiction movies) and will also be introduced to some older and new historiographical debates.

WLL 230: Survey of Post-Soviet Russian Literature and Culture

6 ECTS or 3 Carnegie

This course is dedicated to the study of contemporary Russian literature and culture after 1991 (after the dissolution of the Soviet Union). We will explore works written in various genres of prose and poetry (traditional novel, dystopias, conceptualist poetry, postmodernist fiction, popular and detective literature, women’s prose, creative nonfiction) and other modes of cultural production (music, political and performance art) and debate the place and role of literature in the modern world. We will read a wide range of Russophone writers and poets who, while coming from diverse ethnic backgrounds of the former Soviet space, chose to write in Russian and to inscribe their work into Russian literary tradition. Our authors will include Victor Pelevin, Vladimir Sorokin, Tatyana Tolstaya, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Svetlana Alexievich, Zakhar Prilepin, Eugene Vodolazkin, Boris Akunin, and others. While discussing their texts, we will address the issues of politics, re-assessment of history, memory, gender, national identity, violence and terrorism. Assessments will include regular reading response papers and reviews, and a number of scaffolded assignments that will lead students to produce an analytical paper on the subject of their choosing. The format of this course will consist of lectures, discussions, and film showings

Nazarbayev University is a world class research university in Astana, Kazakhstan. The language of instruction at the university is English. The academic processes at the University are based on international educational standards. This is the first university in Kazakhstan that is committed to working according to international academic standards and guided by the principles of autonomy and academic freedom. The mission of the university is to be a model for higher education research and modern research in Kazakhstan and to contribute to the establishment of Astana as an international innovation and knowledge hub.

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