The largest country in Central Asia and the ninth largest in the world, Kazakhstan is a multiethnic state, with Kazakhs and Russians comprising the largest percentages of the population. The official state language is Kazakh, and Russian is an official language of “interethnic communication.”
Kazakhstan has vast natural resources, especially oil, gas and minerals. This has enabled the country to undergo considerable transformation since becoming an independent state in 1991. A planned city, Nur-Sultan (formerly called Astana), has been the capital since 1997. It hosts a newly founded university, Nazarbaev University (2010-), named for the first president of the independent Republic of Kazakhstan.
Over the past thirty years, the government has implemented a number of internationalizing policies, including measures designed to enable the younger generations of Kazakhstanis (Қазақстандықтар/казахстанцы) to become trilingual in Kazakh, English and Russian. Many students from Kazakhstan study in Europe and North America in connection with the Bolashak International Scholarship Program; UCLA and USC are popular choices.
Kazakhstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), among others. The largest country in Central Asia, it is a gateway for many international NGOs. Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest space launch station, is located in the steppes of Kazakhstan.
The Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures currently offers a 2-unit course in the Kazakh language. It is in the process of developing further courses.
UCLA students in the Flagship program study at Al Farabi National University in Almaty, where Russian is the primary language of instruction. The capstone year program in Almaty includes language courses designed to enable students to achieve a professional-level of Russian language competence, internships, direct enrollment courses, and homestays.