Can you introduce yourself briefly and tell us a little about your background?
Hi, I am Aigerim from Kazakhstan. I was born in Almaty and grew up in Astana. I graduated from Nazarbayev University where I did my Master’s in “Multilingual Education”. I speak Kazakh, English, Russian, and a little bit of Korean.
How many sections of Kazakh are you teaching and how many students do you have?
I have two groups. There are 2 advanced students and 5 elementary students.
What has your experience teaching classes in the US been like?
Classes here are different from classes I had back home. First of all, it is more challenging to me since I have never taught Kazakh before. There is so much I have to figure out as I go. But my supervisor, other professors, and my fellow FLTAs have been so supportive and helpful. Secondly, there are less people in the class. So, now I am learning how to work with smaller groups.
Is this your first time visiting the United States?
Yes, it is. I am very excited to finally see all these beautiful places and get to meet so many wonderful people here.
Is there anything you miss from Kazakhstan?
I do feel homesick sometimes. Talking to my family on the phone makes it easier… Still, this is my first time leaving my home for a long time. I miss my family, friends, and my cats the most.
What is your favorite thing to do in the US?
Travelling, for sure. Wherever I am, I do my best to travel as much as I can. Learning about different ways of living and diving into new cultures always excite me.
Is there anything you’d like the readers to know about Kazakhstan?
Kazakhstan is full of wonderful places. There are high mountains, hot deserts, deep caves, thick forests, long rivers, and gorgeous wildlife. Also, there are a lot of legends about those breathtaking places which depict people’s appreciation of the Mother Nature.
Do you think learning Kazakh is difficult for an English speaker?
It might be challenging. But it is totally worth it. Because Kazakh literature, especially poems, are full of beautiful words and profound wisdom.
Do you have any advice for learning languages from your own experience?
It takes time to learn any language. Do not give up when it gets hard. Enjoy the journey.