By Ksenia Bondal
ALMATY -- Educational expos hosted by EducationUSA advising centres, with the support of the US Embassy in Kazakhstan, have helped thousands of Kazakhstani youth apply to American universities over the past eight years.
The US government-funded advising centres promote the English language and American education in Central Asian countries and elsewhere. The organisation selects universities for annual education fairs, which have an attendance of about 700 young Kazakhstanis each year.
This year's exhibitions took place in Almaty on October 14, Shymkent on October 12 and Astana on October 8.
Twenty-four accredited US higher educational institutions presented their language courses and bachelor's, master's and doctoral programmes in more than 100 majors, officials from EducationUSA told Caravanserai.
The exhibition has several objectives, said Donald F. Kilburg, spokesman for the US consulate in Almaty, while opening the expo there.
First, the universities want to admit students from various countries, and the consulate helps them with that task, he said. Second, the American educational system possesses a unique set of values and advantages that should be accessible for international students.
Kazakhstani students have good opportunities to realise their ambitions in the US, Kilburg said.
"The US has an atmosphere conducive to people discovering their talent and receiving support for [that talent]," he said. "This is due not only to American culture and society, but how the universities themselves are set up, with local industry helping them to develop."
Studying in the US appeals to many Kazakhstanis.
Denis Gavrilin from Almaty said he wants to continue studying in the US, even though he already earned a master's in management in Kazakhstan.
"I manage a team of IT specialists for a retailer," he told Caravanserai. "Now, I want to get an MBA in America because it is respected all over the world. I also want to reinforce my knowledge."
Recruiters from selected universities toured local schools and universities across Kazakhstan to talk with students about educational opportunities in the US and how to apply for a student visa.
"We are very interested in having students from different countries," Steven Hales, dean of international education at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, told Caravanserai.
Students from 75 countries are studying at Diablo Valley College, he said, including 12 students from Kazakhstan who have distinguished themselves through their academic performance and diligence.
"They are gaining interesting experience, staying with Americans in their homes," Hales said. "This is good for the family, since it learns something new, and for the young people, because they can learn about American culture."
"Students from Central Asia are very well educated, bright and polite," said Esther Meade, an admissions and records specialist at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, California.
"They are exactly what we need, so we want students from Kazakhstan to enrol with us," she told Caravanserai.