Oblast Overview

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There are seven oblasts (provinces) in Kyrgyzstan. The Peace Corps only sends volunteers to four because of the uprising that took place four years ago. They other three oblasts are deemed too dangerous.

In two days I will have a site placement interview. There I will tell Peace Corps my placement preference for my permanent site (say that five times fast). Considerations range far and wide. Do I want a small or big village? Do I want a [counterpart] who has had a trainee before or not? Do I want a counterpart who is a young inexperienced teacher or an older one? Every possible answer has upsides and downsides. I’m ignorant of so much that it sometimes hard to decide these things, but I’m trusting my gut and going with the flow. I’m sure wherever the Peace Corps decides to place me I will grow to love it and be happy, but right now I do need to think about where I want to be for the next two years.

So I’ve ranked them in order from least desired to most:

Talas   

-Cold and mountainous.

-Insular volunteer group because they are in close proximity to each other, yet far away from most other volunteers.

-Small number of volunteers.

-Either need to go through Kazakstan or two mountain passes to reach. In the winter the   mountains can become impassable. 

 

Toktogul 

Cold and mountainous.

Beautiful lake to swim in.

Small number of volunteers.

 

Chuy

Cold and mountainous.

Contains Bishkek city.

Very Russified population. All oblasts contain Kyrgyz speaking peoples, but some are “more” ‘Kyrgyz’ than others. (This is the oblast I’m in right now for PST).

Central location allows for easy access to all other volunteers in country.

 

Issyk Kul

Cold and mountainous.

Beautiful huge lake.

Tourists from Russia and Kazakstan visit in the summer in droves.

Most temperate climate due to lake effect.

Has a lot of fresh fruits and vegetable for longer period from late Spring through early winter, whereas other oblasts may have these foods for less of the year.

 

Naryn

Supposedly the most Kyrgyz. Very little Russian spoken and traditional way of life mostly preserved.

Coldest winters, but mildest summers.

Highest number of volunteers. I’m not certain, but upwards of twenty (including last years K-21’s)

Oh, and it’s also cold and mountainous

 

So there you have it. Even with my preferences clearly stated Peace Corps could will still send me where I’m most needed. There are still many unknown factors in the next two years, but I’m figuring it all out.

3 thoughts on “Oblast Overview

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      1. Seems like you’ll be contending with the White Witch regardless of Oblast placement. Make sure to befriend some talking animals – otherwise I fear for you.

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