Today is a memorable day for Nazarbayev University for Number #1 person of the country paid an official visit to our academic institution. Since the very morning everyone felt excited and all the students helped to organize the meeting with the President of the RK. Everyone was happy, everyone anticipated to see Mr. President. When Nursultan Abishuly entered the atrium everyone greeted him standing and applauding. At least the President came for we expected him to come on student commencement day. Nursultan Abishuly began his speech after a short greeting. I listened with attention and didn’t want to miss anything. To begin with, our President congratulated all the students of the university and told about the idea of opening University that will give international education in Kazakhstan. “WE are lucky” President said “to pass the entrance exams and study there right now.” Out of 4000 students applied to the university  only 484 students were accepted on the results of the exams. In future the University plans to educate 4000 students. It means 10 times more than it is now. The idea of Nazarbayev University ( New University of Astana that time) appeared 5 years ago. Analyzing the amount of money spent to give valuable education Nursultan Nazarbayev decided to open a New University in Astana that would meet all the requirements of foreign education. It will be cheaper to educate the next generation within the borders of home country. It will be sensible. On the other hand, with President and prestigious foreign universities in support I think it will be a temporary hardship on the way of building our own competent education.

Also, President touched upon Bolashak program, as he convinced that beginning from now students won’t go abroad for Bachelor’s degree to study professions offered at Nazarbayev University. The only one exception is the teachers of English language that can go abroad for B.A. by Bolashak. I think it is right. Why do not use the education that home country offers?

The contribution of Bolshak Program to the democratic and economic development of the country is great and so will be of Nazarbayev University’s I hope. The fact that the University was named after N. Nazarbayev proves its importance for the future of Kazakhstan. As Nursultan Nazarbayev said at first he didn’t want the university to have his name, but regarding all the changes happening in the world and the position of Kazakhstan in world trade market, President agreed. Today Kazakhstan plays a great role in the world economy and there is no doubt that the name of Nazarbayev University will back and champion its reputation in the world. Even in his speech today in the atrium the President referred to the University as New University of Astana several times.  

Moreover, President told about the projects on work in various spheres of development and expressed his gratitude to all people of Astana for collaboration in organizing OSCE summit.President shared all the kind and warm words uttered by 55 representatives for succesful and safe meeting. The OSCE summit was a huge step of Kazakhstan to worldwide fame.

Also University students asked their questions to the President making use of his long-waiting visit. One of the students asked: “What faculty would he choose if he was a student of Nazarbayev University?” The answer was explicit – engineering. And the students sitting behind me “wowed”, I guess they were the students of that precise faculty. With this answer President encouraged students to go to engineering faculty for our country lacks those professions. The most interesting case is that one of NU students were given a book by our President when he was 3 months. And now 19 years later that very child studies at the University named after President himself. In the end of his speech President encouraged the students to study hard and make that difference they are expected to do. As the gratitude to Nursultan Abishuly one of our best students ( President’s namesake) thanked him and gave the Declaration of our Nazarbayev University.   

 However, could students imagine that they would see other well-known politicians from the other countries as well?! Such politicians as Gerhard Sheder, Romano Prodi congratulated Kazakhstan with OSCE summit and students with Nazarbayev University. The nice meeting ended with common photo session of President, foreign guests and NU students. So we saw off all the guests and were ready to have hand-shake with them.

“I need to buy earphones” I thought approaching the computer. I devoted the day to Ted.com videos. There are a few videos recommended by our PDP teacher and I am eager to watch all of them. Here are five different videos, where the first I have watched in the end of the list. As a patriot of Kazakhstan and an admirer of Astana and all the buildings it has I searched Norman Foster’s speech first for my interests with the architect converge. Norman Foster mentions a green agenda idea as a basis of many modern buildings appearing all over the world. He emphasizes the unity of nature and buildings. He champions the idea of pollution-free buildings and the idea of natural resources such as light, ventilation. The design of all the architectural buildings Sir Norman Foster created have common philosophy. The philosophy of tenacious connection between nature and architecture. Astana is a true example of it. All the buildings are built here on the same criteria. Even our Nazarbayev University, it is a modern building with natural atrium of tropical trees and many different plants. During a day the light comes only from the sun. You feel like you entered the nature coming from the nature.

Another video I watched is about  the problem of math teaching. Conrad Wolfram comes with logo to stop teaching calculating and start teaching Math. In his lecture he tries to find out the problems of teaching Math. He emphasizes the possibilities computer offers for Math teaching. He is quite cognizant in computer technology and considers that Math education belies their expectancies because of the insufficient use of its possibilities. Moreover, Conrad Wolfram demonstrates what can be done with mathematical assignments if a teacher introduces it to the classroom. The same I can say about teaching English. The concept of teaching any subject should not be limited and it is necessary to make students understand that English is not only a lesson, it is also a communication, sharing information, cultural experiences and other more things. I liked Mr. Wolfram’s speech, it is arresting and critical simultaneously.

Earlier I heard the word Twitter itself, but I have never tried to visit it and get more acquainted with it.  Evan William’s speech on twitter was a concomitant factor to follow Twitter(a new and totally unknown device for me). As I have understood from Evan’s words, you can let people know what you are doing through Twitter. He contends that Barak Obama and other American politicians are twitter users. Twitter is a new device that connects people despite the miles between them. It is a good way of sharing the real events happening in your life. It might be a child’s birth or a crucial event occurred in your town, for instance. After ten minutes of struggling with Twitter options I gained a slight insight of the way it works. It is easy. (Especially for those who have 6-7 accounts). I twitted my first tweet: “I am leading research on the topic of exchange programs for international students.” Also I found followers (on education, exchange programs, books) to follow and was glad to have two followers of my own. Anyhow, we will see what else has Twitter to offer.

By the way, look around. It is the first day of winter! The time to wish Very Very Christmas is coming….

Today is the last day to arrange all the necessary things for OSCE. A great attention is paid to the security of the people living in Astana and to the guests coming for the summit. It is a meeting of the highest level all over the world. It is an audacious and at the same time full of responsibility step. Today we do have no lessons and are at the university till the lunch time. Because all the roads will be closed. Some of my students are very glad. Venera, one of favourite students said: ” It is a good opportunity to sleep well.” Some of our students have so many assignments and course works that they even sometimes do not sleep at all. They say it is okay if you don’t go to bed one day, but the next day you feel awkward yourself . So I hope students will spend their free time with profit. I also plan to finish a book I started reading a decade ago, it is “The sun also rises” by Ernest Hemingway. And turning the several units of my GRE preparation is also included into my plan list for tomorrow.

NU students are passing their exams this week. Today is the final day of the exams and at 11:00 we like supervisors are to control the discipline during the exams. We did the same job yesterday. It was their first exam this academic year and some students worried about the results of them. Others were confident in their knowledge and just asked to cheer them up and good luck! I wish them GOOD LUCK today too!

It is expected that some of the foreign guests will visit our university and have a talk with students. Our study will go on despite the summit while other universities and colleges have a week holiday due to it!

I was intrigued by U.S. Embassy for providing possibilities for students organising Alumni Education Fair at Radisson Hotel Astana in October, 14. Fair was the main reason for people of all ages to gather there. As Woody Allen said “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up” and those people who visited the Sunday fair guaranteed their future with successful development. Education Fair comprised over twenty universities and organizations , that offered a range of programs taught by well-qualified professionals of the world.

Among them Bolashak Program was the most important and ‘overcrowded’. A lot of students surrounded Bolashak representatives from the very beginning till the end of the fair. International Bolashak Program is celebrating its 17th birthday this year. Bolashak has provided thousands od students with opportunity of studying at the best universities of the world in a duration of 17 years. (for more info go to www.edu-cip.kz)

 

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies was the next participant of the education fair. Johns Hopkins School is one of the most  prestigious universities of the U.S. It offers Master’s Degree in the spere of international relations, international economy and politics. Students of Hopkins School influentially widen economic world outlook as a result of international studies during two years of Master’s

Degree. (for more info go to www.sais-jhu.edu)

Cornell University engaged the seat next to Johns Hopkins School. It is one of the youngest universities famous for its industrial, scientific, technological progress. CU graduates are well-known people such as J.Rubinstein( Ipod inventor), M.G. Menokal ( Cuba ex-president). ( Bolashak, #3(17), 2010).

Further, the list of the participants included Wake Forest University (http://www.wfu.edu/), Oklahoma University  

(http://www.ou.edu/web.html), U.S. Military Academy at West Point (http://www.usma.edu/), Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (http://sfs.georgetown.edu/), American University of Central Asia (http://www.auca.kg/), Rochester Institute of Technology (http://www.rit.edu/), Michigan State University (http://www.msu.edu/), and Nazarbayev University.

It is a great privilege for Nazarbayev University to participate in the fair among prestigious universities of the world. NU is the youngest

University that gained popularity in a very short period of time. It is the only academic institution that offers International Education in Kazakhstan. NU became famous rapidly, the people who didn’t hear about the university a year ago, dream of becoming its student today. It was proved by the huge amount of people who surrounded NU representatives the whole afternoon. (for more info go to http://eng.nu.edu.kz/ ).

The other participants of the Education Fair were not of less interest for it included various programs, educational centers, foreign education agencies as well as U.S. Embassy, IRC, ACK, Alumni Leaders League. The amenity of foreign education considered unattainable two decades ago is normal for modern people. Education abroad do not cause many problems today. Regardless of their age and education a lot of people apply for foreign education each year with the help of Globus Education(www.globus_almaty.com), nomadic Education (www.nomadica.kz), English House (http://www.englhouse.ru/), Capital Education (http://www.capital-edu.kz/), EF Education First (http://www.ef.kz), QSI International School of Astana (http://www.qsi.org/ast_home/ast_home.htm), Education USA (http://www.educationusa.info/Astana), Educational Center ” Bilim Central Asia” (http://www.educationusa.info/Almaty).

However, the most important organization for me in the fair was IREX (www.irex.org). IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally. I was glad to find them for I got the answer to the question that bothered me since I applied for Muskie Scholarship program. (for more info go to www.irex.org).

I felt a deep gratitude to the U.S. Embassy for organising this fair and Radisson Hotel Astana for giving support in fair organization. That was the event that would change the lives of many people came there. Looking at the crowds of people I saw modern ambitious people of present – Kazakhstan elite of future. Perhaps many students will specify Alumni Education Fair Astana 2010 as the first time they heard about the University they are applying or the event that influenced to their choice of the profession in future. Who knows?!

Jokers, crazy bloody doctors, witches, catgirls, tigerwomen, drakula”s wife, crying angel, emo, zombies, pirates, white face dolls, clowns, black executioner, alive corpse, personages from horror films . . .

That is all the creatures Nazarbayev University students turned into at Halloween Night. Halloween is an ancient holiday. The celebration of Halloween has come to us with cross-cultural experiences and wide world outlook. In a new surrounding the holiday promised to be exciting. There was atmosphere of mystery as nearly the half of the people had masks on their faces or strong make-ups over their faces. Everybody danced, took photos, played games but nobody knew who was the person behind the mask. Dancing at the party kept people connected, brought them together and helped people to release energy, to reveal inner potential. Dancing added a cheerful atmosphere of craziness. Dreadful, horrid creatures danced everywhere:  on the stage, dance-floor and even inside the fountain. The holiday made everybody forget about their things, troubles, awareness and took away the stress of working hard and studying hard. Even the teachers were glad to join the students activities making the Halloween night more jolly,  more spirited. The night was up-and coming as students tried to have a real fun forgetting the limitations of imagination enlivening their characters. Even a tender smile of a witch would frighten. But it didn’t, everybody knew it was Halloween.

I remember when I was looking for Halloween image, a young American family entered the store and asked for V. Putin”s mask. When the father put it on, a little boy hid behind his mother. The boy was scared of his father.

The holiday was then followed by jokes, games and food party. In a word the Halloween Night was a success!