Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:57 pm

Anyone have any 1st hand experience with this university in Almaty Kazakhstan? My son is interested in attending for physics and astronomy BS program. We are in the US and he speaks some Russian and Kazakh, but is not fluent.

Starfish
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Starfish » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm

It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm

Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:28 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm
Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
Kazakhstan is not Afghanistan. "Stans" are not all the same.

I have observed that Central and Eastern Europeans have a greater respect for schools and education than Western Europeans and Americans. The Czechs have extensive programs for gifted children and share their experiences with interested neighbors. I don't have any knowledge about similar programs in Central Asian countries, but I am assuming that a flagship Kazakh university attracts the best students. And a strong peer group is probably more important than big-name professors.

By getting a physics degree from a Kazakh school, the OP's son will probably be better prepared for the global labor market than American graduates who spend four years deciding what they want (following their dreams) and end up serving tables and driving Uber.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:47 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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lgs88
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by lgs88 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:31 pm

Sounds fascinating.

I’m all for undergraduates making adventurous choices. This fits the bill.

That said — the American college experience can be a worthwhile one. Perhaps he would consider enrolling in an American university, then studying abroad in Kazakhstan for a full year. He could perhaps enroll directly if the study abroad office was not supportive (which it may well not be). The modern university is packed full of bureaucratic silliness, most of which can be overcome with a little endeavour.

All in, though, I think his head is in the right place.
merely an interested amateur

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celia
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by celia » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:47 pm

What would he like to do for a career and how do companies compare that university with others? (This is a rhetorical question.) Would they choose someone with education at that school over a traditional U.S. college education?

It sounds like he would be intentionally putting himself at a disadvantage.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by TropikThunder » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:54 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:57 pm
Anyone have any 1st hand experience with this university in Almaty Kazakhstan? My son is interested in attending for physics and astronomy BS program. We are in the US and he speaks some Russian and Kazakh, but is not fluent.
On a lighter note, Kazakhstan is a hotspot for many mail order bride outfits, so he might get more than just a degree. :P

Starfish
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Starfish » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:00 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:28 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm
Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
Kazakhstan is not Afghanistan. "Stans" are not all the same.

I have observed that Central and Eastern Europeans have a greater respect for schools and education than Western Europeans and Americans. The Czechs have extensive programs for gifted children and share their experiences with interested neighbors. I don't have any knowledge about similar programs in Central Asian countries, but I am assuming that a flagship Kazakh university attracts the best students. And a strong peer group is probably more important than big-name professors.

By getting a physics degree from a Kazakh school, the OP's son will probably be better prepared for the global labor market than American graduates who spend four years deciding what they want (following their dreams) and end up serving tables and driving Uber.

Victoria
I was talking from 2 points of view here:

1. For present: the purpose for a student should be to have as much fun as possible. In a dictatorship next door from ISIS in a country plagued by brain drain that does not seem to be very likely.
I do not think there is a real danger involved, although you never know. Look at a closer 'stan:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/2- ... ar-BBLeTCH

2. For professional future: name of university is probably unknown to potential employers.
What is worse is that nowadays everybody wants out. And who gets out first? Students. Good students. They go on fellowships and various arrangement in foreign universities with no intention of return.
The main value of an university is the entourage. If students around you are not good it's hard to be motivated. If professors are terrible and uninterested in teaching it's hard to learn.
Let's not forget the other adaptation issues an American will have:
1.. doesn't know the language very well
2. compounded is the teaching style, VERY different from US. A lot of professors have no interest in pedagogy, discussions, research etc
3. motivation to get the degree is very different from locals'
4. the expectation for his knowledge in math an physics will be probably very mismatched and impossible to recover.

If the purpose is to pay zero or less tuition, go in any 1st world countries, not at the end of the world.
You cannot compare any country in Eastern Europe - especially Czech republic - with Kazakhstan but these problems are similar.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:18 pm

Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:00 pm
... For present: the purpose for a student should be to have as much fun as possible....
For the present the purpose for a student should be to learn. There's nothing wrong with having fun, but it's not the prime objective.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:23 pm

US Department of State has a threat level of 1 for Kazakhstan. Same threat level as Japan which is very safe. Many major tourist destinations have a much higher warning level. This is the lowest level they have for travel advisory.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel ... isory.html

Think fear of this "Stan" is way overblown. I looked at their curriculum and it looks like it has a lot of merit for this field. The paid internship also sounds good for real life experience in the field. He wants to get his undergrad degree at Al-Farabi and then go to grad school in the US. Astrophysics is what he wants to do.

five2one
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by five2one » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:34 pm

Has he ever traveled outside the US?

I have, to include eastern europe....not a place for a young impressionable mind much less one seeking higher education.

TravelGeek
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:06 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:23 pm
He wants to get his undergrad degree at Al-Farabi and then go to grad school in the US. Astrophysics is what he wants to do.
I think the concerns about “next to ISIS” are overblown and geographically inaccurate.

I would be a bit concerned about the academic program. Obviously, the former Soviet Union has/had excellent physicists and we rely to this day on their ability to get us into space. But I would try to find out how undergraduate degree from that particular university would be received when applying for grad school at a US university. The other concern is - what if your son’s plans change over the course of the four years and he is sick and tired of school and decides not to go to grad school (or into some different field). Is an undergraduate degree from Al-Farabi Kazakh university going to be competitive in the US workplace?

Perhaps getting a US undergrad degree first and then spending some time doing post graduate studies abroad would be an alternative?

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by HongKonger » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:19 pm

five2one wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:34 pm
Has he ever traveled outside the US?

I have, to include eastern europe....not a place for a young impressionable mind much less one seeking higher education.
I live in Eastern Europe. It is a flourishing region with many forward thinking individuals and investors doing some very interesting work. It is a very exciting place to be a young person right now.

As for Kazakhstan, I know several hedge funds and large internationals corporations have been exploring the vast potential of the country for years. It has superb infrastructure and its position between East and West means it is well placed to take advantage of trade. Have you even heard of One Belt, One Road.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Starfish » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:44 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:23 pm
US Department of State has a threat level of 1 for Kazakhstan. Same threat level as Japan which is very safe. Many major tourist destinations have a much higher warning level. This is the lowest level they have for travel advisory.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel ... isory.html

Think fear of this "Stan" is way overblown. I looked at their curriculum and it looks like it has a lot of merit for this field. The paid internship also sounds good for real life experience in the field. He wants to get his undergrad degree at Al-Farabi and then go to grad school in the US. Astrophysics is what he wants to do.
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
Focus for now on the practical and easy to find information.
1. Is it required to an additional year to catch up o the language ? Some countries require it.
2. Can he pass the entrance exam? Probably he won't have t take it because he is a tuition paying foreigner but it is a good indication of an absolute minimum level required to participate in class.
3. Can you inquire what is the destination for graduates fro best high-schools in Almati? Is it Almati, Moscow, western europe/us? This should give you an indication about the value of the students and as such he value of the university.
4. What is his level in US? Can he get admitted in top 3, 5, 10, 50 universities?
This is a difficult catch 22 and a paradox.
If he cannot enter in a top university in US he might have major issues with math and physics in Almati (but even if he can doesn't say much).
If he can, it would be a pity to go to a unknown university.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Starfish » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:48 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:19 pm
five2one wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:34 pm
Has he ever traveled outside the US?

I have, to include eastern europe....not a place for a young impressionable mind much less one seeking higher education.
I live in Eastern Europe. It is a flourishing region
Yes, flourishing, with population decreasing abruptly, massive brain drain and workforce emigration, decaying healthcare and education systems.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:30 pm

Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:48 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:19 pm
five2one wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:34 pm
Has he ever traveled outside the US?

I have, to include eastern europe....not a place for a young impressionable mind much less one seeking higher education.
I live in Eastern Europe. It is a flourishing region
Yes, flourishing, with population decreasing abruptly, massive brain drain and workforce emigration, decaying healthcare and education systems.
I have just returned from Serbia where the brain drain is a real problem.

I have also visited the Czech Republic several times and have good friends there. The Czechs lose some brains to the Western Europe, but this loss is compensated by numerous well-educated Russians and Ukrainians migrating from the East.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Starfish
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Starfish » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:42 pm

Czecks have a privileged position and are not exactly "eastern europe". GDP/capita is almost double that of other countries in the area and the country has become an immigration target from poorer countries.
GDP of Kazakhstan almost halved in the last 4-5 years. Not exactly a "flourishing" economy.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by sport » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:14 pm

There is an on-going thread about the difficulties physics graduates have finding employment. Having a degree from a university viewed as questionable by employers would not help that situation. As a physics graduate who spent most of his career working in areas other than physics, I would not recommend a physics degree to anyone, even from a prestigious university. From this school, it would be a terrible idea IMO.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by noraz123 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:33 pm

lgs88 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:31 pm

Perhaps he would consider enrolling in an American university, then studying abroad in Kazakhstan for a full year.
+1 to this.

Another option would be to spend a gap year (or less) in Kazakhstan to learn language and see if this is indeed the right choice.

I would think that your son's employment and graduate school opportunities back in the USA would be greatly lessened. This may not be a concern of his, but something to consider.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Watty » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:23 pm

I have a cousin that I have not talked to in decades that is an associate math professor at a different university in Kazakhstan but I don't know much about his experience there. A few things though;

1) He tried for years to find a permanent position in at a US university after he got his Phd. but was not able to find a long term position even though he had several teaching jobs at little known universities that were a step or two above community colleges. It would be good to take a hard look at the background of the professors he would have there since they will likely be from all over the world and may not be top professors.

2) I don't recall him being multilingual and a quick Google search indicated that that the university he teaches at teaches classes in English. It was not clear what language the classes are taught in at the university your son is looking at. Even if a class is taught in English the teacher may not speak English as a their first language so that may be less than ideal.

3) I didn't hear any of the details but at one point he had something like back problems which required surgery. He ended up going to Dubai for the surgery. Be sure to figure out what the medical situation is really like. In addition to evaluating things like emergency rooms and routine care figure out if the medical insurance will cover things like going to Dubai for back surgery.

Tylenol Jones
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Tylenol Jones » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:27 am

I try so hard not to make any reference to Borat documentary...

jayk238
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by jayk238 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:50 am

I cant believe there are people remotely supporting going to this country for an education. OP please dont so this. Please dont. Just say no.

retired recently
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by retired recently » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:05 am

Tylenol Jones wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:27 am
I try so hard not to make any reference to Borat documentary...
Do you really think that Borat was a documentary?

WVbaron
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by WVbaron » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:12 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm
Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
I walked away from this post for a few minutes before deciding whether or not to post...but decided it was best to leave a few comments. The OP is asking for anyone with feedback about this University and its academic programs and I think it is best if the comments on this thread reflect that request.

Some of the comments on here are a bit surprising and I would strongly disagree with the broad generalizations about this part of the world.

After college, I spent two years in a former Soviet republic country serving in the Peace Corps doing micro-finance development and supporting international business NGO's. Today, I have several friends who either work for the State Dept or for mega corps in this region. There are very real and legitimate concerns about the geo-politics of the region but as another person posted, there is a lot of foreign investment being made in the 'stan' region right now and that is only going to continue to grow which will create some very strong job prospects for those qualified.

Going to an international university in a country like this is definitely non-traditional, but I have also found in my and many friends experiences, that after having such a unique experience, it actually opens many doors because your resume, networking oppts, is different and employers admire that diversity on their team.

There is also an opportunity for the student to become fluent/develop his language skills in Russian and Kazak which will definitely be an asset to future employers if he decides to pursue employment related to this region (whether or not abroad or back in the US).

I do not know anything about this particular university but would echo some of the other comments that there are a lot of universities abroad and in the former Soviet block / 'Stan' region that have particularly strong academic programs, especially related to STEM. I am sure the OP will do their due diligence to make sure that this university has a strong academic program before sending his son there.

I wish you the best of luck in your search and hope future comments on this post are related to the OP's question and not sweeping generalizations about this part of the world as I do not see the OP' son going on this experience as 'destroying his best years' or 'years of setbacks' and I am sure my friends who work at the State Dept and for mega corps in that region would also agree.

Good luck on your search!

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by jminv » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:11 am

This is not a good idea and is completely random. Why this school? It will have zero recognition if he decides to come back to work in USA eventually and it’s already difficult for physics graduates to find jobs. I would go to a university in Russia for physics before I ever went to one in Kazakhstan. This is coming from someone who has lived overseas for years and also went to graduate school overseas. School abroad can be a good experience but I’m not sure why school there.

If he wants to study overseas he should either find a university in Europe that’s well known in what he’s interested in (or Canada, australia, singapore) or do a semester abroad. There are plenty of good schools abroad that i would look at before considering this one

Edit:
https://www.topuniversities.com/univers ... -astronomy

If you want to have an idea about what physics programs to go to, at least start there or somewhere else that gives rankings. This would be a lot less random than picking a program in Kazakhstan.

There’s nothing wrong with foreign education but it should have some reason behind it.
Last edited by jminv on Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

jayk238
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by jayk238 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:21 am

WVbaron wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:12 am
cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm
Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
I walked away from this post for a few minutes before deciding whether or not to post...but decided it was best to leave a few comments. The OP is asking for anyone with feedback about this University and its academic programs and I think it is best if the comments on this thread reflect that request.

Some of the comments on here are a bit surprising and I would strongly disagree with the broad generalizations about this part of the world.

After college, I spent two years in a former Soviet republic country serving in the Peace Corps doing micro-finance development and supporting international business NGO's. Today, I have several friends who either work for the State Dept or for mega corps in this region. There are very real and legitimate concerns about the geo-politics of the region but as another person posted, there is a lot of foreign investment being made in the 'stan' region right now and that is only going to continue to grow which will create some very strong job prospects for those qualified.

Going to an international university in a country like this is definitely non-traditional, but I have also found in my and many friends experiences, that after having such a unique experience, it actually opens many doors because your resume, networking oppts, is different and employers admire that diversity on their team.

There is also an opportunity for the student to become fluent/develop his language skills in Russian and Kazak which will definitely be an asset to future employers if he decides to pursue employment related to this region (whether or not abroad or back in the US).

I do not know anything about this particular university but would echo some of the other comments that there are a lot of universities abroad and in the former Soviet block / 'Stan' region that have particularly strong academic programs, especially related to STEM. I am sure the OP will do their due diligence to make sure that this university has a strong academic program before sending his son there.

I wish you the best of luck in your search and hope future comments on this post are related to the OP's question and not sweeping generalizations about this part of the world as I do not see the OP' son going on this experience as 'destroying his best years' or 'years of setbacks' and I am sure my friends who work at the State Dept and for mega corps in that region would also agree.

Good luck on your search!
You are conflating two separate issues during two separate times. Using your example as a proxy for success in this situation is misguided.
1. Just because it happened to you doesnt mean it will happen to them. Otherwise, we would all be chasing stocks because my co-worker is doing it too!

2. Your location is overly broad and generic. what soviet republic? Was it Georgia, was it Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia? These countries obviously are in much better shape than any stan

3. Furthermore you were in the Peace Corps. You were technically, objectively, under US guidance and received support and easy access to consulate and State department assistance compared to a random college student abroad. I'm not saying you had special treatment or any thing making life easier. But if things got bad, you had a channel more accessible than a college grad. Peace Corps has its own issues including multiple instances of assaults, harassment, and other problems over the decades that have left volunteers without adequate support or help and has resulted in really bad outcomes. And this for Peace Corps volunteers, what about the student that isn't well known at some university in some country?

4. The situation in the Mid east has always been an issue- but was it milder when you went than it is now?

5. There is considerable evidence and empirical research that shows learning a foreign language for US based employees is minimal at best. Sure, for foreign corporations thats great but when exactly is Toyota or GE planning to do business there more than say in India? Or China? Or South Africa? (all of which have serious issues and I do not recommend but are head and tails better than OPs proposal) Seriously, if the goal is to get exposure and experience abroad to help one's CAREER there are far better opportunities than this place.

6. Please tell me what company values diversity from working a few years or studying 4 years at a random 'stan' country university?


Please OP don't do this.

WVbaron
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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by WVbaron » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:35 am

jayk238 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:21 am
WVbaron wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:12 am
cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:15 pm
Starfish wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
It sounds like a terrible plan.
I am appealed at the methods westerners/americans (even first generation) invent to inject some "adventure" in their lives ending with no adventure but years of setbacks.
How is destroying ones' best years in life in some no name university in a dictatorship next to ISIS territory in a country where everybody with some merits is trying to get out gonna help him in life? I am very curious about the rationale here.

PS: I am from Eastern Europe, not even close but somewhat similar.
I'm not from Eastern Europe, but even from this side of the big pond I know enough to wholeheartedly agree with Starfish. Rather than welcoming your son back from his 4 year adventure he might be returning much sooner in a body bag.
I walked away from this post for a few minutes before deciding whether or not to post...but decided it was best to leave a few comments. The OP is asking for anyone with feedback about this University and its academic programs and I think it is best if the comments on this thread reflect that request.

Some of the comments on here are a bit surprising and I would strongly disagree with the broad generalizations about this part of the world.

After college, I spent two years in a former Soviet republic country serving in the Peace Corps doing micro-finance development and supporting international business NGO's. Today, I have several friends who either work for the State Dept or for mega corps in this region. There are very real and legitimate concerns about the geo-politics of the region but as another person posted, there is a lot of foreign investment being made in the 'stan' region right now and that is only going to continue to grow which will create some very strong job prospects for those qualified.

Going to an international university in a country like this is definitely non-traditional, but I have also found in my and many friends experiences, that after having such a unique experience, it actually opens many doors because your resume, networking oppts, is different and employers admire that diversity on their team.

There is also an opportunity for the student to become fluent/develop his language skills in Russian and Kazak which will definitely be an asset to future employers if he decides to pursue employment related to this region (whether or not abroad or back in the US).

I do not know anything about this particular university but would echo some of the other comments that there are a lot of universities abroad and in the former Soviet block / 'Stan' region that have particularly strong academic programs, especially related to STEM. I am sure the OP will do their due diligence to make sure that this university has a strong academic program before sending his son there.

I wish you the best of luck in your search and hope future comments on this post are related to the OP's question and not sweeping generalizations about this part of the world as I do not see the OP' son going on this experience as 'destroying his best years' or 'years of setbacks' and I am sure my friends who work at the State Dept and for mega corps in that region would also agree.

Good luck on your search!
You are conflating two separate issues during two separate times. Using your example as a proxy for success in this situation is misguided.
1. Just because it happened to you doesnt mean it will happen to them. Otherwise, we would all be chasing stocks because my co-worker is doing it too!

2. Your location is overly broad and generic. what soviet republic? Was it Georgia, was it Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia? These countries obviously are in much better shape than any stan

3. Furthermore you were in the Peace Corps. You were technically, objectively, under US guidance and received support and easy access to consulate and State department assistance compared to a random college student abroad. I'm not saying you had special treatment or any thing making life easier. But if things got bad, you had a channel more accessible than a college grad. Peace Corps has its own issues including multiple instances of assaults, harassment, and other problems over the decades that have left volunteers without adequate support or help and has resulted in really bad outcomes. And this for Peace Corps volunteers, what about the student that isn't well known at some university in some country?

4. The situation in the Mid east has always been an issue- but was it milder when you went than it is now?

5. There is considerable evidence and empirical research that shows learning a foreign language for US based employees is minimal at best. Sure, for foreign corporations thats great but when exactly is Toyota or GE planning to do business there more than say in India? Or China? Or South Africa? (all of which have serious issues and I do not recommend but are head and tails better than OPs proposal) Seriously, if the goal is to get exposure and experience abroad to help one's CAREER there are far better opportunities than this place.

6. Please tell me what company values diversity from working a few years or studying 4 years at a random 'stan' country university?


Please OP don't do this.

Wow...ok so a few thoughts:

1). I did not say that his results would be the same. I was simply making the point that I have several friends who work for mega corps in the ‘stan’ region and are successful. This does not imply that his son would have similar results. I am just not dismissing the idea as a non viable option.

2). I was in Armenia but that is not directly relevant as most former Soviet countries are struggling w similar issues of govt corruption, lack of sustainable intl investment, brain drain where younger people are leaving for better oppts, etc. I would also challenge the premise that ‘Belarus and Ukraine’ are necessarily doing ‘better’ than ‘any stan’ country and there is considerable foreign investment going into several ‘stan’ counties and there are obvious and serious issues in places like Ukraine...

3) The Peace Corps has had some serious issues w assault, risk of danger being in remote areas etc. I agree w you but it’s apples and oranges to compare that to a student abroad. I have been an expat for a mega Corp for past 6 yrs and wouldn’t feel unsafe being in a country like that...embassy’s have policy’s in place to help people abroad. You can register when you arrive in country, follow travel advisories, and they can help if needed. This is how it works all over the world. He would be fine and have resources if necessary:

4). Kazakhstan is not in the Middle East and actually a secular country.

5). Rather subjective comment as you can also find considerable evidence that foreign language skills also help find employment. I am also an expat working for a mega corp now and have been working all over Europe. Most candidates we hire speak several languages and this is a big oppt for American students who might want to work abroad as it appears the OP’s son might want to do.

6). I will leave the ‘random stan country ‘ comment alone for several reasons but my overall point is that if the OP’s son is wanting to gain intl experience, develop language skills, and this region is seeing big increases in foreign investment, it is worthy to consider it.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by Lynette » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:37 am

There are institutions in the US that will validate foreign degrees. My degrees that I obtained in the sixties are from South Africa. At that time much of the education was based on the British model. This was quite different to the US model as education was highly centralized with national exams. At that time the matriculation results were published in the newspapers with my name and results. Grading was also different. For example, if I got 60% for the final exams, I was likely top of my class. Degrees were more easily recognized by other countries in the British Commonwealth. Obviously much has changed since then. I was thinking of doing a Masters Degree here and had my degrees validated in the US.

I would not do my initial degree in a country of which many Americans have little knowledge. I was fortunate as I worked for an American subsidiary in South Africa and this is what enabled me to get jobs here - not my education. When I left my original megacorp here, and joined a new one the HR department told me that they would get transcriptions from my South African universities in two weeks. I was most amused. The South African universities were not willing to give out that information to an employer. I decided to ask for it myself. It took me a full year to get that information myself.

If the child is really adventurous, I would consider getting a degree as an US institution and then maybe investigate trying to take some courses in the 'stan country. Once the child graduates with a solid degree from a U.S. institution, they can always study further in the 'stan country.

Reflecting on this, I wonder if the child would even be admitted to a university with a US high school diploma. You face issues of equivalency even at this level. I wonder if children with diplomas from US schools are easily admitted into British or French universities as they write national exams. I don't know much about education in East European countries or 'stan countries. I don't know if there was a universal Russian model. I believe that Russia had a reputation of having a highly educated population.

In the sixties, in most countries I know that were in the British commonwealth followed a "British" model. I was often amused to find people from African countries in the British commonwealth who learnt Latin. In those day this was regarded as evidence of a solid education. My uncle was a missionary in Malawi and my cousins returned to the US to complete their high school as they did not want to have to write the national matriculation examinations. The results were based completely on national exams that covered the last two years of one's high school education. Course work during the year did not count.

I would examine the education system far more carefully before taking this big step. Incidentally I taught history and Latin for a few years in South Africa.

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Re: Info on Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:33 am

I removed an off-topic post and some comments. This thread has run its course and is locked. See: Locked Topics
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