SSRES students can choose an intensive course in either Russian or Kazakh and be placed according to their level of proficiency: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or advanced/superior.  Students of Kazakh should make themselves available for proficiency testing prior to their arrival.

Language courses at SSRES are taught using the communicative method of instruction through linguistic and cultural immersion. Students are placed into appropriate groups, according to their level of proficiency (as defined in ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines). Courses are taught by professionals, trained in current methodologies and experienced in teaching international students.


Student Tutors: In addition to their coursework, students  work with bilingual student tutors from Nazarbayev University, who provide additional conversational language practice, as well as orient students to the city, organize extracurricular activities, and accompany the group on excursions. The tutors receive training to assist students with their study of Russian and Kazakh.


SSRES offers optional elective courses in Eurasian Studies taught in English. Check our website for the list of electives for SSRES (coming every winter).


Past electives included:

  • Politics and Governance of Eurasia
  • History of Central Asia
  • History of Kazakhstan
  • Survey of Contemporary Russian Literature and Culture
  • Introduction to Translation

SSRES offers a free, non-credit-bearing, course “Practical Course in Kazakh Language and Culture.”


Eurasian Studies Lecture Series

Designed to be broad in focus and accessible to general audiences, lectures on topics related to the culture, history, politics and literature of Kazakhstan are given by the Nazarbayev University professors who introduce students to the most current research in their fields. The Lecture Series is open to the SSRES participants, as well as to the NU community, including students and faculty.

The list of the lectures is announced every Spring before the programs begins.


Previously, the Eurasian Studies Lecture Series for SSRES included the following presentations:

  • Daniel Scarborough "Ethnic Deportations to Kazakhstan and WWII"
  • Hélène Thibault “Gender Issues in Central Asia”
  • Gabriel McGuire “Kazakh Folktales and Folklore: Genres, Themes, and Characters”
  • Alima Bissenova “Fitting into a Secular Society: The Discreet Charm of Kazakhstani Muslim Entrepreneurs”
  • Daniel Beben “History of Islam in Kazakhstan”
  • Alexei Trochev “Dealing with Victims of Stalin’s Terror in Kazakhstan”
  • Caress Schenk “Labor Migration in Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Region”
  • Nikolay Tsyrempilov “Devils in the Flesh: The Dzunghars and Their Legacy in Kazakhstan”
  • Zohra Ismail Beben “Environmental Problems in Central Asia”
  • Ulan Bigozhin “Reinstitution of Tradition: The Kokpar Game in Contemporary Kazakhstan”
  • Uli Schamiloglu “The New Kazakh Latin Alphabet: Perspectives and Problems”