Kapchagay, Kazakhstan (Summer, 1997)
US Peace Corps Kazakhstan
Before serving in Karatau for two years, I had to do my Peace Corps Pre-Service Training in Kapchagay,
located north of Almaty.
My journey to Kazakhstan started while I was still a student at the
University of Washington in Seattle. I needed to find something to
do after I graduated. I chose the US Peace Corps. During the
interview process, the Peace Corps asked me what country I wanted to
visit. I said Ukraine, but there were no slots then. I knew about
Kazakhstan from my Near Eastern Studies class in 1993, so I asked
about Kazakhstan. Four months later, I received my invitation to
serve with the US Peace Corps in Kazakhstan.
I flew to Washington, DC, in May 1997 to join the KAZ-5 group.
Read the captions for my story about these images. No pictures
After the swearing in ceremony, all the newly minted Peace Corps
Volunteers headed to the Almaty train station the next day. I took
the train with the Taraz PCV group and then headed to Karatau
Unfortunately I got very sick after a month in Karatau. The Head
of the English Department, Gulzhamal, and her husband took me back
to Almaty where I spent nearly a month recovering. I really
appreciated the help of the Peace Corps Medical Officers and PC
Staff at the time.
Departure of the Peace Corps from Kazakhstan
In late 2011, the Peace Corps departed Kazakhstan. I will not
discuss the reasoning for the departure. You can read it all
online, but I do not necessarily agree with them. In 2008,
Kazakhstan launched their Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools. The NIS schools were quite successful, though with some
headaches. The influence of the Peace Corps is evident.