I am so thankful and lucky to have found my study abroad program through American Councils Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Having developed an interest (edit: passion) for Russian and Central Asia and all things former-Soviet, I knew I had to take my studies of the region's languages and culture one step further and actually go study abroad in Central Asia. Since I had the most exposure to the Kazakh culture and language (I took a quarter of Kazakh at Stanford) I decided to apply to the ERLP after hearing about it from a friend who had embarked on the same program. It was a magical experience from the beginning: the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, was helpful and inspiring. Once I was in Almaty, however, I realized how much support American Councils gave me during the 8 weeks there. I met my host family the night I arrived in Almaty, and they were wonderful! My apartment was a short walk away from the Metro, which was a straight ride to the university, KIMEP, where I took my Kazakh language classes. Every week, I met with my peer tutor, an Almaty resident, also a student around my age, who spoke with me in Kazakh and Russian, took me to interesting places in the city, and answered any questions I had about the city, living in Kazakhstan, and about the culture there. During the program, we had a few excusions, such as one to Charyn Canyon (the Grand Canyon of Kazakhstan), to the Big Almaty Lake, a weekend excursion to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (read: AMAZING EXPERIENCE!), and another weekend trip to Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, which we took by train (it's a 12-hour train ride each way through the steppes of Kazakhstan, also an amazing experience that I highly recommend). During the week, I met with my Kazakh language professor each day for several hours of classes, and we even had lunch together everyday, which I recommend, as your language teacher (in whichever country you study abroad in) is a fantastic partner in helping you to know the country, culture, and language better. My professor was very kind and always wanted to know how I was doing, what I thought of the city, living there, and even was like a second mom, making sure I was drinking hot tea, eating enough, and sleeping enough! Overall, the experience of studying abroad through American Councils ERLP was fantastic and I would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone interested in studying abroad in Central Asia and expanding their knowledge and experience of the language, culture, and history of this breathtaking region of the world!