Kyrgyztan: MINT Bishkek Summer-school 2015

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“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

The only difference was, half way through the three weeks in Kyrgystan- I did not find myself alone.

The trip began on a not-so-happy note. A pretty horrible note actually. I had just found out, along with my family and my teachers, that I had not cleared the reading section of the B1 level German language exam that I had given a week back. And, to be honest- this trip was like an escape from all the pressure, the frustration and all that everyone around me was saying. I realized, even before i went that I deserved what I was hearing. But, that did not make me want to listen to what my well-wishers had to say anymore. So, back to the trip. We left Lucknow and I tried to leave all that I was feeling behind, and when we reached Delhi and I began interacting with the teacher who would be accompanying Arjun(the other kid who was travelling with me from Lucknow) and me, itbecame relatively simple. When we departed for Bishkek, there were barely any people in the large aircraft and we all wondered where we were heading to. The immigration-officer was just as mysterious as the other people who were even distantly related to this country. But, I was truly looking forward to an unknown land where I would spend the following three weeks.

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We arrived in Bishkek by night, after a barely three hour flight journey. And we were tired nevertheless. What followed in the following three weeks is impossible for me to put down in a Blog this small. But, to sum it up.

  1. Everyone spoke Russian, Kyrgyzish and Tajikish much more than they spoke German.
  2. I could mostly only use German if I wanted to converse with anyone other than Arjun and Rrivu(our teacher), so I ended up exploring German in a whole new way.
  3. I met people that had a huge impact on me
  4. I think this trip helped not only my German, but also my life.

We had Maths, Physics and Information Technology classes, each of which had German as its medium of conversation. The fact that Russian was used more is another thing. We had various workshops in the afternoon: Theatre, Website, Electro-Technology, Photography and many others. I attended Website and at the end of the Camp, I figured out how to make a local website and we also made a not-so-nice website together. But, then again. The process was loads of fun.

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We also had a trekking trip to the mountains which was AMAZING! We were dead tired by the end of it, especially me because I have almost no physical exercise in my routine. But, what we got to see was COMPLETELY worth it. The waterfalls, the mountains, the horses(one of which was ACTUALLY sitting- and it wasn’t a donkey!) galloping, hearing kids from neighbouring countries advocate how their mountains were more beautiful(was really funny!), and all the thinking that being out in Nature provokes was an amazing experience. Kyrgystan is so, so beautiful. Even when you walk down the street, you can see the snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Even when the sun is shining bright and its so warm you’re sweating, those mountains will be looking down at you, in all their whiteness and cool glory.

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We travelled, one particular weekend, to a lake called Issy-kul. I can’t believe I said Kyrgystan was beautiful before I visited this paradise. It was so beautiful, I actually forgot to take pictures.: I was so lost enjoying the moment. The only pictures I have of the place are those that were taken to update the Summer-school blog or those my friends managed to take. The place was dumbfoundingly breathtaking. Calm, cool, blue waters- who’s temperature didn’t change no matter how warm it was. Mountains, the same stunning snow-capped mountains in the distance peeking in and out of dreamy, cloudy covers. I can’t describe how moving the landscape was. We played in the water, got burnt(quite literally) in the sun, splashed water at each other innumerable times and returned with sunburns and happier souls. The thought of leaving Issy-kul was deeply saddening. But, it  wasn’t half as saddening as when we parted at the end of our three weeks in Bishkek. With the amount of Russian being spoken around me and how out of place I was feeling at the beginning of the second week- I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would find friends that I would miss at the end of the Camp. But, I found so many friends and yet more reasons to cry when we parted. The organizers were so, so, so nice. I met so many people, one person in particular, who inspired me so much to improve the way I do things in life. I wouldn’t even try to name the people because the list is long and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I did find so many friends I definitely intend to stay in touch with and meet up with again sometime later in life.

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We ate more ice creams and consumed more Coke cans than I can remember, during this trip. Because the Hostel food was rejected as Kyrgys food even by the native inhabitants of the country. I have a whole new take on self control now, for the toilets were well.. My skills of conveying what I want to say have improved like never before- what with having to use German, sign language and broken, hopeless Russian for three weeks. And yet. What I wouldn’t do to go back!

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I realized during this trip, how each language you learn opens up this whole new world to you- a world you can know only if you explore the language. I realized how knowing a common language brings you closer to people in a completely different way. I realized what I wouldn’t do if people who are not from India would be invited to a Camp in India. I realized how I need to change so many things in my life. I realized that I definitely want to learn more languages in my lifetime, so as to explore so many different takes on the world. I zeroed in on what I want to study- which is a HUGE thing for me.

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I realized, I need to, I want to, and I will keep travelling.

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