About the Program
Cultural Program
Student Life
Costs and Payment
Visa and Passport Information
Funding Sources
Applying to SSRES

SSRES (Summer School in Russian and Eurasian Studies) at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan is an intensive academic program that offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Russian or Kazakh languages and to experience Kazakh and post-Soviet  culture in the heart of Eurasia.




JUNE 3 – JULY 31

June 3 Students arrive in Astana. Orientation
June 4 Proficiency testing, course placement. Cultural program starts
June 5 Classes start
July 26 Last day of classes
July 28-30 Final Exams and exit proficiency testing
July 31 Students leave Astana


Program Overview


SSRES students can choose an intensive course in either Russian or Kazakh and be placed according to their level of proficiency: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or advanced/superior.  Students of Kazakh should make themselves available for proficiency testing prior to their arrival in Astana.


In addition to their intensive language courses, a weekly practical course in Kazakh Language and Culture is included in the cost of the program.


SSRES students have the option of enrolling in one elective course in English, for an additional fee. Eurasian Studies courses are offered as a part of Nazarbayev University’s Summer Term curriculum and open to local and international students.


Nazarbayev University is a Western-style university located in Astana, Kazakhstan,  where English is the language of instruction. This is the first university in Kazakhstan that is committed to working according to international academic standards, guided by the principles of autonomy and academic freedom.


Nazarbayev University is a world research leader in Eurasian studies. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University offers an MA in Eurasian Studies, a two-year interdisciplinary area studies program taught in English. It is the first of its kind to be offered in Kazakhstan, and one of only a handful across the Eurasian region.


SSRES students live on Nazarbayev University's comfortable, modern campus in Kazakhstan’s new capital, Astana.The program is open to international students from undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as to working professionals.

SSRES students can choose an intensive course in either Russian or Kazakh and be placed according to their level of proficiency: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or advanced/superior.  Students of Kazakh should make themselves available for proficiency testing prior to their arrival.


Language courses at SSRES are taught using the communicative method of instruction through linguistic and cultural immersion. Students are placed into appropriate groups, according to their level of proficiency (as defined in ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines). Courses are taught by professionals, trained in current methodologies and experienced in teaching international students.


Student Tutors: In addition to their coursework, students  work with bilingual student tutors from Nazarbayev University, who provide additional conversational language practice, as well as orient students to the city, organize extracurricular activities, and accompany the group on excursions. The tutors receive training to assist students with their study of Russian and Kazakh.


SSRES offers optional elective courses in Eurasian Studies taught in English. Check our website for the list of electives for SSRES (coming every winter).


Past electives included:

  • Politics and Governance of Eurasia
  • History of Central Asia
  • History of Kazakhstan
  • Survey of Contemporary Russian Literature and Culture
  • Introduction to Translation

SSRES offers a free, non-credit-bearing, course “Practical Course in Kazakh Language and Culture.”


Eurasian Studies Lecture Series

Designed to be broad in focus and accessible to general audiences, lectures on topics related to the culture, history, politics and literature of Kazakhstan are given by the Nazarbayev University professors who introduce students to the most current research in their fields. The Lecture Series is open to the SSRES participants, as well as to the NU community, including students and faculty.

The list of the lectures is announced every Spring before the programs begins.


Previously, the Eurasian Studies Lecture Series for SSRES included the following presentations:

  • Daniel Scarborough "Ethnic Deportations to Kazakhstan and WWII"
  • Hélène Thibault “Gender Issues in Central Asia”
  • Gabriel McGuire “Kazakh Folktales and Folklore: Genres, Themes, and Characters”
  • Alima Bissenova “Fitting into a Secular Society: The Discreet Charm of Kazakhstani Muslim Entrepreneurs”
  • Daniel Beben “History of Islam in Kazakhstan”
  • Alexei Trochev “Dealing with Victims of Stalin’s Terror in Kazakhstan”
  • Caress Schenk “Labor Migration in Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Region”
  • Nikolay Tsyrempilov “Devils in the Flesh: The Dzunghars and Their Legacy in Kazakhstan”
  • Zohra Ismail Beben “Environmental Problems in Central Asia”
  • Ulan Bigozhin “Reinstitution of Tradition: The Kokpar Game in Contemporary Kazakhstan”
  • Uli Schamiloglu “The New Kazakh Latin Alphabet: Perspectives and Problems”

During their stay in Kazakhstan, students will be able to participate in weekly excursions in and around the city of Astana, including Burabay National Park, KARLAG (Karaganda Corrective Labor Camp) – one of the largest labor camps in the GULAG system, and a trip to the Korgalzhyn nature reserve – the northernmost habitat of pink flamingos.


Astana Modern City Tour - the three-hour tour of the left bank includes trips to Independence Square, Khazret Sultan Mosque, Water-Green boulevard complex, Astana-Bayterek monument, the Round Square, and the shopping and entertainment center, “The Khan’s Tent” (Khan Shatyr).
Kazakh Culture Day – a day dedicated to Kazakh traditions related to language, interactions with nature, and life-cycle celebrations (besyk toi, tusau kesu, bet ashar, shashu, til, ashar, etc.)
Traditional Nomadic Hunting with Eagles - Students will learn the history of the Berkutchi eagle hunters, as well as some basic hunting techniques.
KARLAG Tour A guided tour of Dolinka village includes a visit to the Memorial Museum of the Victims of Political Repressions. The exhibit includes prisoners’ everyday items, including a diary that describes the events of the 1930s - 1960s, photos and documents, and personal effects of the prisoners.
The “Old” City Tour and Kazakh Markets - The tour of the right bank of the city reflects the rapid changes and growth of the city since Astana became the nation’s capital. Students will stroll in Central Park and along the Ishym river embankment. After a boat tour of the city and visits to churches, mosques and synagogues, the students will go to the large central market and have lunch in the old city.
Balkaragay Country Club and Stables - An experienced instructor will give horse riding lessons at the track where training and competitions are held and race horses are boarded. Afterwards, students will be treated to a delicious Kazakh meal with aromatic tea from a Russian samovar.
Astana Day Festivities - Astana celebrates its anniversary as Kazakhstan’s capital on July 6. Astana Day is a national holiday in Kazakhstan. Every year this popular event draws large crowds of visitors and residents. Weeklong festivities include performances and cultural events to celebrate Kazakh traditions and the cultures of Kazakhstan’s multi-ethnic society.
Weekend Trip to Burabay National Park - Students will enjoy a break from city life at Burabay National Park and Nature Preserve, an oasis of lakes, mountains, and wildlife in Northern Kazakhstan. During nature excursions, they will have the opportunity to hike and boat, as well as to breathe the fresh mountain air. The trip includes meals and a one night hotel stay.
Explore Kazakhstan: optional trip to Almaty - For a long weekend in the middle of the program, students can take an optional trip to Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan and the country’s biggest city. Students will travel with Nazarbayev University students. The trip will include a tour of Almaty’s historical sites, as well as an introduction to the city’s dining, shopping, and cultural life.

Our program is unique in that it fosters close contact with local NU students. The tutoring program, housing arrangements, and cultural programming all enable SSRES students to feel at home in Astana and forge lasting international friendships, from the time when they are met at the airport their departure at the end of the program.

SSRES 2018 students participated in wide range of activities organized by NU students, including:

  • Dombra lessons
  • Astana city scavenger hunt
  • Ultimate Frisbee competition
  • Talent shows
  • SSRES choir
  • Karaoke

International students live on campus where they share dormitory rooms with NU students, who speak both Russian and Kazakh. A typical room has two beds, two study desks, closets, and a bathroom. Students living in the dormitory also have access to fully-equipped kitchens.

Our modern and well-maintained campus contains everything students need, including a pharmacy, laundry facilities, cafeteria, hair salon, study rooms, cafes, restaurants, and more. The buildings are fully guarded and secured with 24/7 resident assistance.

The meal plan includes two meals a day from Monday to Friday. In addition, there are several restaurants and cafes on campus, as well as a grocery store on the first floor of the student dormitory, which sells groceries and prepared meals.


8 weeks:   3 June – 31 July



8-week program: Optional Fees
$6500 $1000
8-week Intensive Russian (equivalent to one academic year) Elective Course in Eurasian Studies (in English)
Practical Course in Kazakh Language and Culture




8-week program: Optional Fees
$6500 $1000
2 consecutive 4-week intensive kazakh language courses (equivalent to one academic year) Elective Course in Eurasian Studies (in English)
Practical Course in Kazakh Language and Culture

* The program fee includes: dormitory housing in a shared 2-person room, meal plan, airport pick up and drop off, cultural program, excursions, tutoring, books (on loan), gym pass, and official Visa Invitation Letter.




8-week program:
8-week Intensive Russian (equivalent to one academic year)

** The fee for Astana-based academics and professionals includes classes, books (on loan), tutoring, and learning materials, but does not include housing, meal plan, or cultural programming.


Estimated additional expenses*** Total:
Airfare (from the USA) $1600
Visa $200
Health insurance costs vary
Local transportation $30
Personal expenses $125
Sub-total (non-billable) $1955

*** These are estimated expenses to help you plan and prepare for the program. These amounts are subject to change depending on international economic factors and past participant reports. Student expenditures in the country depend greatly on personal spending habits, post-or during-program travel, and available funds.


The meal plan include lunch and dinner only (Monday – Friday)


Students must have passports that are valid for at least six months beyond their intended period of stay. Kazakh nationals living abroad need passports, which are valid at least six months beyond the date of entry.



International students need visas to come to Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev University’s (NU) Department of International Cooperation will provide assistance to students applying for visas, including letters of invitation and detailed instructions on how to apply for a visa.


For a user-friendly flowchart on applying for visas to Kazakhstan, see the following instructions:


Below is a brief overview of the process.

Nazarbayev University will provide Visa Invitation Letters, which will be issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This process will take approximately 10 to 15 days.

In order to prepare the Visa Invitation Letter, we will need the following information:

  1. A photocopy of your passport.
  2. Your home address.
  3. Your major and home institution.
  4. The location of the Embassy or Consulate of Kazakhstan where you will be applying for the visa.
  5. A copy of your university ID card.

After the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues your Visa Invitation Letter, the NU Office of International Cooperation will scan this invitation letter and send it to you.  The scanned Visa Invitation Letter should be printed and sent along with your visa application materials to the Embassy or Consulate of Kazakhstan that you have selected or via a visa processing agency:


The visa application package should include:

  1. Valid passport (Original Document).
  2. Visa Invitation Letter.
  3. Visa Application.You must complete a separate visa application form. All fields must be filled in. You will be sent detailed visa application instructions when the time comes.
  4. One passport-sized (3.5 x 4.5 cm) photo, which should be stapled to the marked space in the upper right hand corner of the application form.
  5. Letter of Request.You must write a brief letter, addressed to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan, requesting that they issue a visa. The letter must include your name, the purpose of your trip, your contact in Kazakhstan, the dates of your planned trip, and the places to be visited.
  6. Letter from university/college/school.Please provide the letter confirming your enrollment.
  7. Consular fee.The consulate accepts only money orders for the visa processing fee. Please attach a photocopy of your money order. Cash, and business or personal checks will not be accepted. Visa fees will depend on your country of citizenship.

For more information please visit:


After receiving your visa and before departing for Kazakhstan, we advise you to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website (, as immigration regulations are subject to change.


Registration Regulations

Upon arriving to Kazakhstan, you will receive a local immigration card from the customs guards at the airport. You must keep this card in your passport for the duration of your stay; you will need it to leave the country. When you first arrive, SSRES program staff will collect your passport for registration with the local Immigration police. Your passport will be returned to you once your registration is complete. All visa-related questions should be addressed to Miras Sharipov (

Possible Funding Sources for SSRES Students:

Please consult your university’s offices of financial aid and study abroad to see what funding sources
may be available to you. This should be your first step.

Also, consider several possible ways of funding your summer study:


Large Scholarships:

Boren Awards: Include a Summer Scholarship for STEM majors and an ROTC Scholarship.Up to full scholarship.
FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowship: For students of participating US institutions, funds the intensive study of particular languages.Up to full scholarship.
Gilman International Scholarship Program: Open to undergraduates at US institutions who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding.Up to $5000.


Organizations with a Variety of Awards (large and small):

American Association of University Women Awards: For women in graduate programs.
Fulbright Awards in Kazakhstan: Various awards
Fund for Education Abroad (FEA): Offers a variety of different scholarships for US undergraduate students who have been accepted for study abroad. Some awards are quite generous and serve underrepresented groups and areas.
Golden Key Scholarship Awards: Various scholarships for members of the Golden Key Honor Society
Social Science Research Council: Supports several different fellowships


Small Scholarships:

There are many small scholarships for $500 to $2500 that can add up when you are looking to fund summer study. This list is only a sampling: Essay contest about financial responsibility.$2000 for first place, $1000 for second place
Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation Scholarship: For undergraduate students who were Girl Scouts and earned the Silver or Gold Award.Award of $1000
Hosteling International Explore the World Travel Scholarship: For US citizens ages 18-30.Award of $2000 (to over 100 applicants)
Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants: For students of institutions with a branch of Phi Kappa Phi.Award of $1000
Rotary Foundation & Club Scholarships: For all students
The Study Abroad Journal Scholarship: For students of study abroad programs.Award of $500
Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship: For US undergraduate students who have been accepted for study abroad.Award of $1000
Zip Conferencing Scholarship: Essay contest for students of communications, marketing, or business.Up to $2500.


Other Ideas for Funding:

There are a number of search sites and crowdfunding platforms, as well as websites with lists of scholarships. This list is not exhaustive.

Diversity Abroad Scholarships: Scholarship search site
FastWeb: Scholarship search site
Foundation Center: Funding Information Network: Search site for suitable funding organizations
FundMyTravel: Crowdfunding platform for travel
Scholarship Portal: Scholarship search site
Option 1 (Recommended for American Students)
American students are strongly urged to apply to the program through our partner institution, The University of Arizona Global Initiatives, and earn US-based academic credits. The University of Arizona (UA) offers full health insurance coverage, pre-departure orientation and advising sessions, and 24/7 counselling services to all program participants. For more information, visit the program’s website at With any question about how to apply though the University of Arizona and about the benefits of applying though them, contact the Director of the Arizona in Kazakhstan Program, Dr. Liudmila Klimanova ( The AU Application Deadline is February 25, 2019


Option 2 (Recommended for Non-American Students)
Students may also apply by filling out our online Application Form. To do so, please arrange for one letter of recommendation to be sent and follow the instructions on the Application Form.


SSRES 2019 is open to graduate and undergraduate students as well as working professionals. Students must be eligible to obtain a visa to live and study in Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev University will provide visa information and support (included in the cost of the program). We accept FLAS and most other scholarships.   Questions about the program can be addressed to: Amanda Murphy, Program Director (