Dobriy Vecher! (Good evening)
Today started with more delicious porridge, and one of my personal Russian favorites, cirnicky (a small, thin cake made of tvorog (cottage cheese) and topped with a mild yogurt). Class today was very fun - I taught the students Jeopardy to play a review game about literature reviews, and we conducted an aerodynamics experiment using forks and spoons to demonstrate Bernoulli's principle. We also talked about making posters for science fairs, and the students practiced making posters of their own.
After class, we then toured the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU). The tour included a visit to the nanotechnology lab (they manufacture solar panels for space!), the maritime institute, the digital media technologies lab, and the faculty of information technology. We also had the honor of meeting the Vice President for Academic and Information Technology, and talk with some students about their experiences at the University.
After the tour, we were invited to dinner with the Bekkhozhin family (one of our students). The restaurant was beautiful, in a giant room with a ceiling covered in paintings and designs depicting nomadic Kazakh life. As is usual in restuarants and cafeterias in Kazakhstan, we washed our hands before the meal (there is often a special area outside of the bathrooms just for this purpose!) Nikhil and I were instructed to sit at a corner of the table far away from the entrance. I read that this was a sign of respect, and guests normally sit far away from the entrance of a room - Kazakhs follow this tradition with care! Appetizers included fried fish, salad, sausage, baursak bread, and a dumpling-like dish filled with meat and vegetables. The main course was fried chicken with rice, french fries, and beet salad. There was also a great selection of fruit and some pretty pink pastries for dessert! (With of course, a cup of hot tea). I enjoyed talking with the student and his family; his mother spoke English very well, and we talked about our life at MIT, and how she compared life in the USSR versus independent Kazakhstan. I also spoke a bit of Russian with the student's grandmother!
Tomorrow I look forward to teaching the students about rocketry!
Students hard at work on their posters!
I am a junior studying AeroAstro at MIT. I love rockets, airplanes, birds, and anything that flies! In my free time, I enjoy crocheting, solving sudoku puzzles, and reading. I have been learning Russian for about two years, and I'm so excited to visit Kazakhstan and learn about the beautiful country and culture!