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Frequently Asked Questions


Who studies at AUCA?

AUCA is a global learning community comprised of students from over twenty different countries. By studying at AUCA, you will join a richly diverse group of young scholars and future leaders. For more information on AUCA's student body, see their webpage: About AUCA.

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Will I take courses with AUCA students?
Yes! North American students who study on the AUCA-Bard program are directly enrolled in the university's courses and study side-by-side with current AUCA students. For more information on course offerings, see AUCA's course catalog.

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How much Russian do I need to get the most out of the program?
As the academic language of AUCA is English, AUCA-Bard has no Russian language requirement. It is recommended, however, that students possess a minimal knowledge of Russian or have completed the equivalent of one year of college-level Russian. The spoken language of Bishkek is predominantly Russian, which designates the city as a wonderful space for beginners of the language. For those students with little to no experience of Russian, a three-week Russian Language Intensive is offered in Bishkek to all participants of AUCA-Bard before the start of the academic program.

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Will I have the opportunity to travel?
AUCA-Bard's academic program is paired with a cultural program that is designed to introduce students to Central Asia outside the Kyrgyz capital. Study excursions to Lake Issyk Kul, Kyrgyz villages, guided hikes through the Ala-Too Mountain range, horseback riding treks and more will expose participants to the wide variety of Central Asian experience. When possible, students will also enjoy a weekend trip to such destinations as Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

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Can I afford the program?
Very generous need-based scholarships are available from Bard to assist students with the cost of the program. Be sure to speak with your financial aid and study abroad offices about transferring your federal student aid towards the cost of AUCA-Bard, and to consult our AUCA-Bard Scholarship Guide, found on the Dates, Costs & Scholarships page.

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Where will I live in Bishkek?
Students from outside Bishkek and abroad will enjoy living and learning in the safe and comfortable AUCA international residence hall, just a short walk from the campus and downtown. With its distinctive mix of cultures, the dormitory will provide unique opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural communication. Those students who spend a full academic year at AUCA may re-locate to host-families or independent living arrangements in the second semester.

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Is Bishkek safe?
Since the political unrest of spring 2010, Bishkek has shown a noticeable calm in its political and cultural climate. Several Americans have studied at AUCA since the spring, some of whom were present for the events of that time. All of them have stories to tell, and all of them have felt secure and decided to remain in Bishkek. If anything, brief security concerns from Bishkek's past spring have ensured the creation of political structures that will keep the country stable and safe for visitors.

Participants in the AUCA-Bard Program are supported by a network of individuals in both the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan, all of whom have extensive experience with the region and managing international programs. The Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) at Bard College is responsible for the overall administration of the Bard-Smolny Program and assists students through the application, selection, and pre-departure process.

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Can I join student clubs or organizations?
All visiting students are allowed to join AUCA student organizations. For a full list of AUCA student organizations, see the university's website: http://auca.kg/en/clubs/.

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Who issues credits for AUCA?
Visiting North American students will receive transcripts from Bard College for their completed coursework. Courses at AUCA should fulfill the requirements for graduation at visiting students' home institutions, and each completed course will amount to four credits.

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