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2023 Summer School in Kyrgyzstan

Hello, we are Saule Chalbasova and Kanyshai Makeshova – part of University of Central Asia (UCA) team participating in the UCA – Oxford Social Science Research Summer School 2023. 

The University in Central Asia and Oxford University hosted an inspiring Research Summer School from 3rd to 9th August that gathered researchers from the UCA’s Graduate School of Development. We spent three days in Bishkek actively learning and discussing about academic writing, starting from research philosophy, academic literature, choosing a research topic and finishing with proper referencing. We had engaging discussions on the use of AI in research and dissemination of our research findings on social media. 

The first part of the Research Summer School was held in Bishkek from August 3rd to 5th, 2023. It was not just a gathering of minds; it was an extraordinary opportunity to exchange opinions, broaden horizons, and delve deeper into the intricacies of research. The presence of academics and researchers from diverse backgrounds added an air of wisdom that elevated every conversation.

Following the first part of a summer school, a second part unfolded in Kemin Rayon (rural Kyrgyzstan) from August 6th to 9th 2023. The serene landscapes provided a canvas for us to translate theory into action during a dedicated writing retreat. We even agreed without any hesitation to write this exact blog on our overall experience.

Each of us also had a chance to talk about our research and get personalized guidance and created an environment of empowerment and growth. Armed with insights acquired from the summer school, our colleagues from UCA delved into the art of crafting impactful research narratives.

“I presented and discussed two of my current writings. The first one on the Economics Olympiad among high school children in Kyrgyzstan and the second one on Air Pollution in Kyrgyzstan. The feedback that I received from Troy widened my view on the topic and opened ideas for new research on air pollution using mobile applications.” – Saule

“I shared with Troy my first field trip experience in Osh region on the topic of the role of women during COVID-19. We focused on challenges women faced during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We received valuable feedback on the outline of our research.” – Kanyshai

Besides working on our research, we dove into a Kyrgyz rural life with clean air, fresh home-cooked meals and incredible mountain view.

Reflecting upon the Research Summer School held in Bishkek and the subsequent writing retreat in Kemin Rayon was a step toward enriching not just our academic pursuits, but also our growth as individuals. We feel honored to spend this week with international colleagues and exchange our knowledge and experience along with practicing our writing with a beautiful view on the Kyrgyz mountains and chicken and horses walking in the background.

Summing up, these shared moments of learning and collaboration stand as a testament to the power of education and mentorship. Our journey from Bishkek to Kemin was enriched by the presence of diverse groups of researchers, and shared opinions and knowledge became the cornerstone of our transformative experience.

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