Mathias, a volunteer from Argentina, has spent the last few months in Kyrgyzstan. Here he teaches English and runs a speaking club. We met him and asked him to share his impressions of the country.
My parents are from South America. Father's homeland is Chile, mother's is Argentina. I was born in Canada. I spent the first 11 months of my life there. For the next few years, my family and I lived in Chile, Canada, and Argentina. Now I am a second-year student of the Universidad Adventista del Plata University, majoring in Business Administration.
Our university has a volunteer program. I thought about helping other people, and applied for participation with a friend. We didn't know where we were going. Among the partners there are many European countries, the USA, Egypt and other locations. The coordinator offered the position of an English teacher in Kyrgyzstan. I heard about the country from other volunteers who have been here, and I agreed.
In preparation for the trip, I searched for information about the country on the Internet. I found a little: mostly about yurts, horses and mountains.
Before crossing the border, we were nervous. We thought that no one here speaks English. But everything went without difficulties. It was great to be in a new place.
One of the first impressions is the delicious local food. I like everything I've tried: pilaf, lagman, samsa, kebabs, manti.
I was surprised by the local minibuses. In my country, buses are used for special trips: to nature or to another city — not as public transport. But I quickly got used to it.
One of the first impressions is the delicious local food
I arrived in winter, and many advised me to wait until summer to appreciate the nature of Kyrgyzstan. They were right. There are many amazingly beautiful places here. Since May, we have been out of town, camping. We visited Issyk-Kul. It's great that you can go out of town and soon find yourself in the mountains, get some fresh air and relax.
I like Bishkek. It is small, you can quickly get from one place to another. It's safe here. I like to visit the city center and parks. My favorite places in the city: Yntymak Park, Erkindik Avenue. Lots of great places to run and cool stadiums to play football.
About the activity
My responsibilities include conducting individual and group English classes. Different people come to us, companies and their employees turn to us. I also run a conversation club. I teach students of different levels, starting from Intermediate.
I manage the social networks of the club. I am responsible for the production of content, I design posts. I follow the overall development of the organization.
I didn't think there would be so many people in Kyrgyzstan who want to learn English. Many people need it for study or work. Knowing a new language opens up many possibilities. I am glad that I can share what I know and help Kyrgyzstanis improve their skills.
About people and traditions
People in Kyrgyzstan are nice, always ready to help. They help you feel at home. I appreciate it.
In March, I attended the celebration of Nooruz. I liked the traditional dances to the music — it's different from everything that is in my country. I've been to a wedding. These are great holidays that all people enjoy. Many observed Orozoo. It was interesting to watch this.
About the plans
My contract will end in February of this year. During the remaining time, we plan to learn more about the country, visit Osh and other cities. I am planning a trip to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
When I return to Argentina, I will continue my studies. My girlfriend also works as a volunteer in Uzbekistan. We like Central Asia. If there is an opportunity, we will come back here.