February 16, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Bill Zepernick's Peace Corps experiences in Kazakhstan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kazakstan : Peace Corps Kazakhstan : The Peace Corps in Kazakstan: February 16, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Bill Zepernick's Peace Corps experiences in Kazakhstan

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 5:37 pm: Edit Post

Bill Zepernick's Peace Corps experiences in Kazakhstan

Bill Zepernick's Peace Corps experiences in Kazakhstan


Bill Zepernick's Peace Corps experiences in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, starting June 7, 2002, and Uzbekistan, from 08-15-01 to 10-03-01, and all other things in between!

Updates from Kazakhstan: Click here to go to read my letters and updates from Kazakhstan. I know the web log format is kind of lame, but its the easiest way for my to update from the land of Kaz.

Pre-Kazakhstan Journal: Go check out my past journal entries from before, during and after my Uzbekistan PC adventure, as well as before m departure to Kazakhstan

<<=== Other Sections: Look at the sidebar and check out the other delicious web offerings this page has to offer - Photos, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan information, and much more!

Letter's from Kazakhstan
« Bad Pelmeni | Main
February 01, 2003
Sexual Confusion in Kazakhstan

i'm sure everyone remembers my cat Kumar, who I have had for a month or two.

But just the other day I made a shocking revelation..moy kot is actually maya koshka (in English ... my cat (masculine) is actually my cat (feminine) ). When I got the cat my neighbor told me it was a boy, so I believed her and didn't bother checking for myself. But this week her friend who found the cat ask "how is the koshka?" Ian I said "don't you mean kot he's a boy cat." well i looked and it ends up that it is actually a girl cat after all. so I'm changing her name from Kumar, to Kumara.

but other than my cat's gender crisis, not too much is going on. my counterpart wants me to be a judge at some english competition tomorrow, but i really don't want to. the weather has warmed up a bit, and the forcast says it will get even warmer. today its probably up to about 36 degress and next week, i read it will get up to a whooping 50 degrees..which it hasn't been since october, so that will be very nice. maybe i'll go for a swim in the talgar river since it's practically summer :)


Posted by billzep at February 01, 2003 03:30 PM

January 31, 2003
Bad Pelmeni

I think I ate some bad pelmeni last night and threw up profusely...

For all of you that don't know pelmeni is like the equivalent of Russian ravioli. i served it with chili I had made on top, which actually tasted pretty good, but either the chili or pelmeni wasn't good and I puked it all up. pretty crappy. but after I puked, i felt better and today i'm doing fine.

On sunday I'm going to see Lord of the Rings (in Russian), so that should be pretty cool.
Posted by billzep at January 31, 2003 05:32 PM

January 24, 2003
More Snow

We just got about 9 inches of snow in Talgar...

which is nice since the snow had begun to melt a little and it was getting kind of wet and muddy. Now we have a nice thick layer of snow covering up the grime, postponing the spring thaw for a while. i've been asking around, and people say that the snow starts melting for real in March, and is usually completely gone by the end of the month.

Not too much is going on. Saturday I have a meeting with some other volunteers to start planning an English/Ecology summer camp for kids. I started working with a Russian tutor, which has already helped clear up some stupid mistakes i've been making for the last 7 months. My tutor was a language teacher for several peace corps trainings, so she knows how to work with americans and is really nice, so i think working with her will really improve my language ability. And in addition to helping with russian, because of kazakh hospitality, I can't leave her apartment without being feed tea and something to eat, which is nice since i don't like cooking for myself (i like cooking in theory, but i don't like cleaning pots and pans, especially since i only have freezing cold water).
Posted by billzep at January 24, 2003 04:31 PM

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

I am going to be a TEFL Secondary Education Volunteer. I will teach about 18 hours per week in class with students, but will also spend time working with host country teachers to improve their teaching methods and curriculum.

Even though I do not speak Russian or Kazakh, I should be able to function as a teacher in Kazakhstan because English classes will be mostly in English. And in training, I will learn the language (as much as is possible during 9 weeks), which will expand my ability to communicate instructions to students in their language, if they fail to understand my English instructions.

During training, I will do a practicum, which is basically like student teaching. This will give me an introduction to teaching classes in Kazakhstan. I assume it will be similar to my Uzbek practicum where I taught about 5 classes per week in a local school. These limited teaching days in practicum are basically just to get your feet wet in running a classroom, and by no means make you an expert in teaching English as a Foreign Language...every volunteer I spoke with said that once you get to site, you have to figure out how to deal with the administration at your school, determine the level of your students, and then figure out appropriate lessons for them. These lessons will be hit and miss, but after a while, you get the hang of lesson planning, and your quality lesson ratio gets better as time goes on.

Mail Hints!

1) Airmailed Letter will take about 3-5 weeks to reach me in Kazakhstan. Airmailed Packages will take about 1 to 2 months (I assume packages sent via surface mail will take about 2 to 3 months). But on occasion, it may take even longer for letters and packages to arrive, and sometimes they might never come at all.

2) Sending a typical letter to Kazakhstan via US Airmail should cost $0.80. This is not prohibitively expensive , so I expect lots of letters from you guys!

3) Address everything in Russian and English. If you don't want to write in the Cyrillic script, printing labels is the route to go. Here is my address in MS Word format for easy printing.

4) Number all letters and packages numerically (i.e. write "letter #2 or package #4) so that I can tell if a package or letter has not been received.

5) Don't send anything perishable or anything that might have trouble clearing Kazakh Customs (guns, explosives, foreign flora and/or fauna, etc). Use common sense.

6) Mail is occasionally lost. Current volunteers estimate that they receive about 90% of the mail that is sent to them. Don't send anything that you can't afford to lose.

7) Write me often and send me care packages!


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