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Peace Corps


                                           Our Kazakhstan by eyes of American volunteers.
Every autumn we meet some American volunteers in our Gymnasium. They are having some teaching English lessons practice. They are so different ! They are so active! All pupils remember their performance on the 1-st of September , when they sang a song ‘’Country Roads’’; and the Teacher’s Day, when everybody showed his own talent. It was amazing. So, I decided to interview them. And today let me introduce it.
                                                                                                      The Interview.
 Ksenya:It’s your first visit to Kazakhstan, isn’t it?
Catherine, Collin, Michael, Rachel, Max: Yes. it is.

Ksenya: What have you known about our country before your visit?
Catherine Wilson I went to my neighbor in the USA who is from Kazakhstan. She told me about Almaty and the mountains.
Colin Cousin Not much, I knew about eagle hunting.
Michael Wong I knew it was west bordering China.
Rachel Miller I read about the geography and political system
Max Barry I knew that it was a very beautiful country and that the national instrument is dombra

Ksenya: What is the brightest impression of your first days in Kazakhstan?
Catherine Wilson I love to look at the beautiful mountains being invited to tea shows me the hospitality of the people here and I love to see this too. I also have enjoyed meeting teachers and students who are excited about learning.
Colin Cousin I love the mountains.
Michael Wong When I saw the Pizza Hut in Almaty,I was so happy!
Rachel Miller I loved Kazakhstan immediately and saw the beautiful scenery in the mountains.
Max Barry My brightest impression was when I attended my first ‘’gosti’’; everyone was so friendly, and the food was delicious.

Ksenya: What was the most difficult for you at your classes at school?
Catherine Wilson I don’t like public speaking so at first I was nervous to get up in front of a class. Once I get to know my students I enjoy teaching.
Colin Cousin Not much.This school and the students are awesome!
Rachel Miller The most difficult about the classes would be when I give insinuations in English.Sometimes they are unclear for students so I have to clarity.
Max Barry Тhe most difficult part of my classes is knowing whether my students have understood the lesson.

Ksenya: What do you like the most in our Gymnasium and in our town Esik?
Catherine Wilson The students here are very good students. Some work hard and many enjoy learning. I love the colors of Esik.
Colin Cousin I love the people, the mountains, and the food.
Michael Wong I love the people here. Everyone seems pleasant.
Rachel Miller Gymnasium has been amazing. All of the workers, teachers, and staff have been great and very hospitable. The teachers have been helpful and the students are very intelligent. I can tell the students will be very successful in life. I am very passionate about teaching and love working with the students at Gymnasium.
Max Barry I like how active and smart the students in Gymnasium are, and how friendly are the people in Esik.

Ksenya: Thank you!


They are so different! Eternal funny Collin, whose life hasn’t got any black stripes at all! Friendly and very nice Catherine, whose voice is so charming and her playing the guitar is exciting. Very clever and interesting –Max , who plays the guitar too and sings songs as well. The best photo and computer expert- Michael, who knows a lot of funny stories. And, at last, a very sociable and nice girl-Rachel, who likes doing sports very much. But, it isn’t a complete information about them, it’s only a part of it. We hope, they will know a lot of useful and amazing things about Kazakhstan and would be good at teaching. And we wish them: ‘’Good luck!’’ 



                                                                                        Ksenya Pavlenko.10''A''.


Peace Corps Volunteers 2010

  

 

Hello Gymnazia!

 

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work in Gymnazia. I truly enjoyed teaching in my English classes and I hope that everyone enjoyed their time being taught by us Peace Corps volunteers. I have no doubt that each and every one of you will become successful where ever you go in life. Feel free to keep in touch with me and read my blog which will have updates about my journey in Kazakhstan:

 

Blog: http://mjwinkz.wordpress.com

Email: wongmj@gmail.com

 

Be sure to let me know who you are if you contact me. I would be more than happy to practice English or Russian or even Chinese Mandarin with you! And I plan on visiting Esik a few times during the next two years in Kazakhstan so it would be nice to see you when I return for a visit. =)

 

Thank you for all your support and for the wonderful memories!

 

-- Michael J. Wong


 

 

 

On behalf of all the volunteers, I, Rachel Miller, would personally like to thank everyone at the Gymnazia for allowing us to train at this wonderful school.

Esik has been an amazing town to begin my journey in Kazakhstan. Each day I am in awe by the beautiful mountains. I love walking through the bazaar and looking down the flowing river. The breathtaking scenery helps smooth the process of integration.

My first weekend in Kazakhstan I was fortunate enough to go on a seven hour hike with my host family. We were on a search for mushrooms. It was an astonishing excursion that once again proved how beautiful Esik truly is.

I taught the 11th  form about stereotypes and a common Kazakhstani stereotype is that they are known for their hospitality. Everyone at Gymnazia has been extremely helpful and hospitable. The two teachers working with us volunteers have been remarkable and extremely patient. They have been great mentors in this entire training process for the Peace Corps. Thank you very much Tamara Vasilievna and Lyudmila Danilovna.

The most astounding part about the Gymnazia, in my opinion, is the students. I cannot believe how intelligent the students are. They have been a pleasure to teach and to get to know. I worked directly in the classes of the 8th and 11th form and they are such a bright group of students that will be very successful and prosperous in life. I have had the pleasure to get to know other students through English clubs and observing other fellow volunteers classes. All in all, the Gymnazia is a school with a very talented group of people.

My training in Esik and more specifically at Gymnazia have been a memorable and wonderful experience and I thank everyone for being a part of that. I do not know where I will spend my next two years working, but I will always remember Esik and the Gymnazia.

-- Rachel Miller


Collin and the Goats

by Collin Cousins

 

            There are beautiful foothills to the mountains right behind my house, and I really wanted to take pictures from them, and just spend time up there during one of our 'Indian Summer' sunsets. This idea formed itself in my brain on Sunday evening when I spend an hour or so thinking, listening to music, and laying on a tilted bed of concrete behind my house watching the sun dip behind the mountains, lighting up the clouds and the hills with brilliant hues of  pink, violet, and blue.

            So anyway, my idea was to grab my music player and camera and run up the hills to take pictures of Esik (my village) during the sunset. But as I came downstairs I was stopped by babushka, who, hands on hips told me, "You shall not pass! … At least until you have eaten some soup.” There was nothing I could do, so I sat impatiently twitching as the babushka slowly heated up the soup, watching through the window as the sun began its final descent. Don't get me wrong, I was enormously grateful for the soup, and all of the wonderful things that I am treated to on a daily basis, but once that soup was in front of me, I sloshed the scalding liquid down my throat and flew out the door.

            I sprinted as fast as I could, but halfway up the foothill, I realized that it was a lost cause and dejectedly turned around back towards the house. After walking for a few minutes, I came upon a group of goats standing in the middle of the trail. I was bumming out and listening to music, so I just walked around them and carried on my way. After a couple of minutes however, I heard something behind me, so I turned around to see a bunch of confused looking goats running at me. To be honest, I thought that the leaders were trying to attack me, which in retrospect is completely absurd. But because of this strange thought process, I picked up a large stick and swung it aggressively toward the leader. They all froze. So I swung the stick again, and they all took a couple steps back. At this point I figured that I had established myself as being higher than them on the food chain, so I turned my music back on and kept walking. You might imagine what I saw when I turned around, so again I put the stick out in front of me, and again they all froze. This happened three or four more times as I continued on my way, but by this time I had dropped the stick, finding out that my hand was just as effective (or ineffective, depending how you look at it.) By the time I had reached the road at the bottom of the hill, I had given up trying to shoo the goats away, and was walking surrounded by my herd.

            Now I must admit that I was a bit unsure what to do at this time, because although the imagined danger had long since passed, I was still in possession of a bunch of goats that all seemed willing to follow me home. I must have looked completely ridiculous, a twenty something American guy standing around in jeans and a t-shirt looking confused and worried, surrounded by about ten equally confused goats. Fortunately, when I looked back up at the mountains, I saw a female shepherd flying out of the brush looking panicked and screaming for her herd, which she presently saw in my possession. There was a moment or two of awkward confusion as I tried to explain to this woman in broken Russian that I wasn't trying to steal her goats, and that they followed me of their own accord. She seemed dubious at first, but when she heard how terribly I spoke, I think she just figured that I was too stupid to steal goats anyways, and we parted in good spirits.

An Interview with Myself

by Catherine Wilson

 

            In this article I have decided to ask myself some questions that you might want to know.

            What are some of my favorte things to do? You may already know some of these. I like to play the guitar, sing songs, read books, write stories, swim, and do things outside. Now I am learning to love teaching.  In school my favorite subjects were reading and history.

            What do I like to eat?  Here in Kazakhstan I like to eat cookies and drink tea with milk.  I also love Kazakhstan chocolate.  In America I like ot eat Mexican food.  Just like here, in America there are many different nationalities and I like to eat food from the different nationalities.

            What do I like to do here in Gymnazia?  I like teaching classes.  My favorite is to teach a class where the students and the teacher is excited about English.  I also like English Clubs.  I like to see students that are from different classes.  These students are always excited to come and learn more.

            What do I think are differences between Esik and my town in the United States?  Esik is a very colorful city.  The houses and fences have a lot of color in Esik.  Both Esik and the houses in the United States have flowers growing.  I like the flower gardens very much. 

            What surprised me most about Kazakhstan?  People in Kazakhstan drink a lot of tea.  I liked tea a little in the United States.  Here in Kazakhstan I drink a lot of tea and I like tea a lot.

            What is my favorite American holiday?  My favorite American holiday is Thanksgiving.  During Thanksgiving families get together and have a large meal together.  My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in different states.  During Thanksgiving I see all of them.  Also, my birthday is very near Thanksgiving so I celebrate my birthday with my family too.

            What is my favorite thing about Kazakhstan?  There are many things I like about Kazakhstan.  I like the mountains near Issik--they are very beautiful.  I like the people who are very friendly.  Maybe my favorite thing about Kazakhstan is meeting students and teachers who want to learn English, and who want to learn more about my country.  This is fun because then I can teach them about America and they can teach me about Kazakhstan.

            Lastly I want to say thank you to Gymnazia School.  I have had a lot of fun meeting the students and teachers at this school.  Thanks so much!

Max and the Music

by Max Barry

 

            As is the case for most Americans, music is an essential part of my life.  As is also true for most Americans, I like many different types of music.  I enjoy rock, folk, the blues, jazz, country, and hip-hop.   My favorite musicians are Bob Dylan (folk), the Beatles (rock), James Brown (funk/gospel), Johnny Cash (country), Gnarls Barkley (hip hop), and Karl Denson (jazz).  Maybe out of those six you've only heard of the Beatles, but I guarantee that you will like all of them if you give a listen.

            Not only do I love listening to music, I love making music as well.  I began playing guitar when I was at university, and I have been playing ever since.  I started out playing mostly blues—Eric Clapton, Freddie King, and Muddy Waters—and then I got hooked on folk music.  The history of American folk music and the history of the guitar are tightly bound.  Americans have been sitting around campfires with their guitars, teaching their favorite songs to their friends and families for countless generations. What is so wonderful about this is that often there are many different versions of songs; there are no official lyrics.  It’s as if the words are alive.  Some great examples of this are the songs, "Frankie and Johnny,” "In the Pines,” and "You are my Sunshine.” 

            I have been so happy to learn how much the Kazakhstani people love music.  Everywhere I go there is music.  And, like me, not only do most Kazakhstani people listen to music, they play it as well.  I have met so many musicians here: singers, piano players, guitar players, accordion players, and, most impressive of all, dombra players.  Dombra is such a beautiful instrument, and it takes a talented musician to play it well.  I hope that by the time I leave Kazakhstan in two years, I will have learned how to play some songs on the dombra.   Even if I don't, I certainly will have spent those years listening to and enjoying the rich tradition of music in Kazakhstan, and sharing the American tradition with as many Kazakhstanis as I can.

Thank you for donating photo prints for our photo competition on Gymnazia Day:

 

 
 




 

 

 

 

 


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