Study Abroad in Kazakhstan

Study Abroad in Kazakhstan

Introduction About Study Abroad in Kazakhstan

Students who decide to study abroad usually have a prioritised list of countries they wish to apply. Some of the more popular ones are usually in Europe and Asia. As far as Kazakhstan goes, it is still a new destination for students but fast becoming a favoured one. Moreover Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country, is not only a treasure trove of rich culture and beautiful, distinct architecture, it is also one of the wealthiest nations in Central Asia. The fact that it is a melting pot of ethnicities is enough to justify the fact that it deserves more attention and consideration by international students applying abroad. Kazakhstan is a promising destination for higher studies with its rising reputation for great quality and international standard location.

Kazakhstan borders the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east with China and Russia. Its largest city is Almaty, It is not without reason that as many as 50,000 students (approximately) enrol in Universities of Kazakhstan for various streams of education. These universities are world-ranked, meaning that they deliver education whose quality is nothing short of that offered in other Western countries. And if you are wondering if Kazakhstan will be safe for students from different cultures and ethnicities, then the fact that only 66% of the country’s population is inhabited by Kazakhs should say a lot about its diversity. The culture of Kazakhstan is a fascinating blend of Asian and European, Islamic and Russian influences. Perfect for those who wish to study Central American and/or Russian studies, Kazakhstan is beginning to adapt English on a country-wide level. However, if you are applying in Kazakh, it’d be a good decision to learn Kazakh/Russian.

Why Study in Kazakhstan?

While applying in Kazakh universities, it is important that you weigh your possibilities and know which university suits your requirements the best, other than having an exciting curriculum. Although there are around 150 registered Kazakh universities spread throughout the country, if you want to experience the best facilities, education system, curriculum, and student culture; head to the bigger cities with a larger population.

Another reason why you should consider Kazakhstan for your higher studies is because eight of its universities have been listed in the QS World University Ranking list. All of these are located either in Astana and Almaty (both former capitals) and Shymkent. These cities are also thriving with diverse population and put the unique Kazakh architecture, culture, history, food, clothing, population and all its specialties on proud display. Almaty, the older capital city from 1929 to 1997, is also the cultural and commercial capital which means that this is where the Central Asian cultures, countries, and populations come together in an outstandingly exciting mix. This is where you will find the international programs in Kazakhstan. As for Astana, the former capital city of Kazakhstan since 1997, this is the hub of urban buildings and all the major Central Asian studies programs. More than being the capital of Kazakhstan, there have been continuous efforts in making it the epicentre of Central Asia ensuring all conveniences are available at hand.

Shymkent, on the other hand, is the third largest city in Kazakhstan on the southern part of the country. More than its student scene, this place is of extreme historical importance as the city dates back to the 12th century and sits on the iconic Silk Route. For international students studying Central Asian studies, this place is of singular importance.

It also goes without saying that the cost of tuition fees, hostel fees, and the overall cost of living in Kazakhstan is considerably lesser than other Asian and Western countries. Compared to other central Asian countries, Kazakhstan may seem to be on the higher side but that is because it is also the gateway to and the epicentre of the Central Asian nations, bringing opportunities that other nations in the region may not have access to.

Top Places to Study in Kazakhstan

The cities of Almaty (the older capital city of Kazakhstan), Astana (the former capital city), and Shymkent are the best places to consider to study in Kazakhstan. Not only are the universities in these three cities well-recognized for the quality of education they provide, but they also have a wonderful placement which enables the student to settle better in an unknown country. That is to say, these cities are at the heart of the Central Asian nations and are melting pots of culture, people, and different ethnicities. So, it is not only safer for people of other ethnicities in these cities but their historical significance is also an impressive setting for those studying arts and humanities. For example, Shymkent city is perfect for those studying central Asian Studies for it allows them to live and breathe the traces of history they study in the university.

Top Universities to Study in Kazakhstan

One of the biggest decisions to make after you decide to study in Kazakhstan is to decide which university you wish to opt for. Needless to say, it is one of the most important decisions you will make in your academic career. So, it is important that you know which of the 150 odd universities in the country are top ranked and make it to the universally recognized lists of the best international universities in the world. Al Farabi Kazakh National University is the best university in Kazakhstan, followed by the few listed below:

University Name Location
Al Farabi Kazakh National University Almaty
Nazarbayev University Nursultan
Astana Medical University Astana
Kostanay State Pedagogical University Kostanay
L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Astana
Almaty Management University Almaty
Narxoz University Almaty
Akhmet Yasavi University Kazakhstan
Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University Almaty
Kazakh British Technical University Almaty

Top courses to study in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is gradually emerging as an international education destination and the number of courses that it has to offer the international students are increasing every year. While weighing your opportunities and possibilities, it is important to take note of the political, social, and even geographical advantages of a certain place. Kazakhstan enjoys singular importance for students who wish to apply for Central Asian Studies. This is, or rather should be, accompanied with a basic to intermediate knowledge of Kazakh or Russian language to have a better understanding of the course and to also interact with the locals as English as a medium of interaction is yet to occur on a wide scale in Kazakhstan.

The bachelor undergraduate courses in Kazakhstan are four years long and since they are based on the Russian education system, are more theoretical than research-oriented. If you are applying for your higher education in Kazakhstan, take the following courses in consideration for these are best that the country has to offer.

Eligibility to Study in Kazakhstan

Getting admission in Kazakhstan is pretty straightforward and easy to understand. Unlike other countries where the application process can be a big hassle and can sometimes be overwhelming. In Kazakhstan, it is relatively easier to navigate one’s way through as the common eligibility criteria is mentioned clearly. However, it must be kept in mind that the eligibility for admission also depends on and varies from university to university and even from course to course. So, it is important that you cross check with the respective university you are applying to in order to make sure that you are perfectly eligible for the application. As for the basic criteria which applies to every Kazakh university, it is as follows:

  • Applicants should have passed their +12 exams from a recognized institution with a minimum of 50% marks.
  • Applicants must be equal to or more than 17 years of age.
  • Applicants must have a valid passport.

Education cost to study in Kazakhstan

As mentioned before, Kazakhstan is a relatively affordable destination for higher education. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidates aspiring to study in Kazakhstan shouldn’t be aware of the costs of tuition and living there. Even though the costs of education in Kazakhstan vary from university to university and from course to course, the range is from $200 to $4,000 a year. This depends on whether you are studying in a public or a private university.

Documents required for visa process for admission in Kazakhstan

After your application, the next step is to wait for the university to send across a confirmation and an invitation letter which will carry the message of your application approval. The next, and most important part, is to apply for visa to Kazakhstan. It is only after you get your visa application approved that you will be allowed into Kazakhstan. So, it is important that you keep a check on the documents required for the visa application. Following are the documents you will need for the application. Failure to produce these will risk the cancellation of your admission to the Kazakh university:

  • Invitation letter from the university.
  • Confirmed air tickets.
  • Original, valid passport
  • Two recent photos with white background
  • One visa form

Scholarship for study in Kazakhstan

Even though the cost of tuitions in Kazakhstan are comparatively low, universities do offer scholarships to students on merit. Even though not all of these may be available to the international students coming to Kazakhstan for studies, some are offered to students with excellent academic achievements and/or facing financial hardship.

In such a case, it would make sense to first seek scholarships from your home country or institution. For US students, the Boren Awards offers scholarships to students studying lesser taught and uncommon languages. The Boren Awards can cover up to $20,000 a year depending on the course and the requirements. American Councils Russia Abroad Program also allows need-based scholarship to students applying for/in Russian/Kazakh universities.

The Government of Kazakhstan also offers a few impressive scholarships to meritorious international students applying in the country. The Robert Bell Travelling Scholarship In Journalism is open to all nationalities and covers partial funding for students studying journalism in Kazakhstan or any other countries. The Title VIII Research Scholar Program, 2020-21 is open for US applicants studying in Kazakhstan, studying Social Sciences and Humanities. Bayer Science & Education Foundation – International Fellowships, 2019 is open to all nationalities for students applying for masters, PhD, Training, or short courses. It is also applicable in Germany.

Choosing a Study program in Kazakhstan

If you have chosen Kazakhstan to pursue your higher education, then you must know the best of what Kazakhstan has to offer in terms of educational services. Even though it will majorly depend on your personal reasons and academic requirements, it always makes sense to do your share of research before you apply.

One major factor that goes into determining which course will suit you the best in Kazakhstan is your language needs. Kazakhstan is increasingly adapting English language and has introduced a few English courses which are entirely taught in English, for example Nazarbayek University in Astana. However, this is not the case for most degrees, courses, and universities. The student will require working knowledge of Kazakh or Russian language. This means that students who are applying from Russia or for Russian Studies and those who wish to study central Asian cultures and literature will benefit the most from the universities in Kazakhstan.

Given that a renewed amount of effort and resourced have gone into making Kazakhstan a favourable destination for studying for international students, the universities offering science and technology-centric courses have also gone up. For students of Russian origin or those coming from other Central Asian regions from around Kazakhstan, this is an excellent opportunity to take forward your science and technology education.

Kazakhstan, with its 50,000 exchange programs each year with different countries, welcomes international students for an immersive cultural and academic experience. Some of the universities which have international ties and host exchange programs frequently are Bryn Mawr College and UCLA. The American Council’s Russia Abroad program also joined hands with Kazakh government a few years ago.

Foreign student life in Kazakhstan

An estimate of 14,000 students’ study in Kazakhstan throughout the 100 universities, with the figures rising each year. Uzbek, Indian, Chinese, and Kyrgyz students and people make up for most of the population. There are students from Russian, Tajikistan, and the US as well studying at Nazarbayev University. This goes on to show that Kazakhstan hosts its fair share of international students who are satisfied with their quality of life in the country and the educational services they receive from the highly skilled staff at their respective universities.

Along with the thrill of moving to a different country with a beautiful landscape of both mountains and plains, students may want to know more about the standard of life students enjoy in Kazakhstan. Given that most universities which welcome the highest number of international students are located in the buzzing cities of Astana and Almaty, students will have access to conveniences that they may have enjoyed back in their home country. However, given that it is a totally landlocked country, it is important to take note of the strategic limitations to it having access to conveniences that allow for a Western-like lifestyle.

The people of Kazakhstan are warm, welcoming, and accepting in general and provide assistance as and when you seek it. However, you will need to be proficient in their language to converse with them. As far as safety is concerned, Kazakhstan is fairly safe and secure, despite infrequent incidents that happen in every country worldwide. It is especially important for international students to take precautions as there have been incidents of crime against foreigners, although very rarely.

Kazakhstan’s landscape is as beautiful as any central Asian country and is worth being explored. However, some parts of the country are on a high altitude and when you intend to explore these places, make sure you have sufficient medication and proper mountaineering kit, for mountain sickness is a possibility. It is important to know local guides before venturing out to unknown states in the country alone.

When looking for housing in Kazakhstan, it is convenient for international students to look for accommodation provided by the universities within the campus. This ensures complete safety and is also cheaper as compared to privately rented apartments/houses. Home stays are also available but only for certain study programs.

About Kazakhstan

Formerly a Soviet territory, Kazakhstan is the Central Asian country which is the world’s largest land-locked country and the ninth largest country in the world. It was the last to gain its independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It accounts for as much as 60% of Central Asia’s GDP and most of its western parts are located in Europe, meaning that it is a transcontinental country. The country has a population of 18.3 million people as per 2018, a low number compared to its large geographical area. In fact, it has one of the lowest population densities with just six people per square kilometre. The capital of the city is now Nur-Sultan (Astana till 2019) and the population mostly consists of nomadic people and empires. In fact, the etymology of the term ‘Kazakh’, which owes its origin to Turkish language, spirals back to the meaning ‘to wander’.

Kazakhstan shares borders with the countries of RussiaChinaKyrgyzstanUzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also has shores adjoining a large part of the Caspian Sea. It’s terrain is a diverse mix of flatlands, steppestaigarock canyonshillsdeltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. The predominant religion in the country is that of Christianity and Islam and Kazakhstan is said to be home to as many 130 nationalities, a diversity the people cherish and celebrate. Even though English is growing in popularity amongst young Kazakhs, the state language is still Kazakh and the people converse in Kazakh and/or Russian.

Its present capital, Nur-Sultan is a city founded as a fortress way back in 1830.The President is putting directed efforts at Nur-sultan living up to the honor of being “a model city of social wellbeing”. It is home to a number of exciting cafes, restaurants, cultural hotspots like the Oceanarium, the world’ youngest opera theatre, and the iconic Baiterek Monument.

All in all, life in Kazakhstan is a heady mix of an overdose of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Yan-Shan, Tarbagatay and Altay mountains, located in the south, south-east and the west part of the country are perfect for trekking enthusiasts and those who are fond of the mountains. For those who enjoy water bodies will prefer the Caspian Sea, sometimes referred to as the largest lake in the world, which has its shores in the west. Northern Kazakhstan is also home to a number of breath-taking glacial lakes. Besides, the diversity of the country comes with its share of advantages which means that you get to interact with a number of people from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, which is an enriching experience.

Food in Kazakhstan

Given that Kazakhstan’s history consists of shepherds, nomads, and camel rearing families, the food of the country is heavily reliant on meat, majorly mutton and horse-meat. The country is also fond of its dairy and dairy products. The techniques of cooking and the eventual tastes which define Kazakh cuisine is strongly determined by the nomad culture. People store and preserve their food, and thus are proficient in preserving the meat for a long time, and people also have a preference for sour milk, which goes on to show its nomadic cooking habits and taste. The ort tulik mal is the base of Kazakh cuisine and includes four kinds of meat- camel, horse, sheep, and cows.  Other popular dishes include beshbarkamk, kazy, shuzhuk, kuyrdak, zhal, zhaya. Pilaf and kebab are also eaten in abundance. Sut, kaimak, Sary mai and irimzhik are popular dairy products. Baurshak, shelpek, shek-shek, and zhent are the most popular desserts enjoyed throughout Kazakhstan.

FAQs about study in Kazakhstan

Is it safe for Indians to study in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is a multi-cultural and diverse country which already houses its share of Indian people who call it their home. Other than infrequent incidents of crimes against foreigners, Kazakhstan is as safe as it gets in any foreign country for an outsider. It is always important to be cautious and aware of one’s surroundings. But, as universities pay extra attention to safety and security of its students within the campus, safety isn’t a big issue for students in Kazakhstan.

Is it costly to study in Kazakhstan?

Even though tuition fees vary from universities and courses, studying in Kazakhstan is cheaper than other countries in the West. The average range of yearly fees is within $200-$4,000. The cost of living in Kazakhstan is also relatively much lower.

How long are undergraduate courses in Kazakhstan?

Undergraduate courses are for four years in Kazakhstan.

Is MBBS available in Kazakhstan?

Yes, MBBS is available and open for applications from international students in Kazakhstan.

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