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International Student of Month for April, Olga Mun

Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduce one international student by presenting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to intnl@lehigh.edu.

This month, ISS Graduate Assistant, Aftan Baldwin, interviewed Olga Mun , a Graduate student from Kazakhstan. The following is the interview and pictures that Olga shared with us.

Olga Mun from Kazakhstan

Q: First Olga, would you briefly introduction yourself? Tell me what you are studying at Lehigh and when you will graduate.

A: I am an international student from Kazakhstan studying MA Comparative and International Education. I am planning to graduate in 2014.

Q: What do you think about Lehigh? What are some of the differences between Lehigh and your home universities?

A: May be you will be surprised but there are not many differences between Lehigh and my home university, KIMEP university in Kazakhstan. KIMEP University follows North American educational model, so we study in English language and the structure of classes is similar. However, KIMEP is not an engineering school and we do not have labs as Lehigh does.

Q: What do you like/dislike about it (American culture)?

A: I think that the United States of America is such a big country that each state has different culture. As of my living experiences at Lehigh University, I think many American people are very polite. I like that people smile a lot here in the United States. I also like that girls wear sports clothes because girls in Kazakhstan like to wear heels and dresses.
I do not like culture of eating fast food. I think fast food is unhealthy. I think many Americans are always in a hurry and eat food "on the go". People in Kazakhstan like to eat homemade food and enjoy spending time with family while sharing food.

Q: What was life like growing up in Kazakhstan? How do most people, or yourself/family, spend their free time?

A: Have a look at the video about Kazakhstan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8cx9ScjoYHc

People in Kazakhstan like spending time with their relatives and friends. My family likes art, so we often go to theatres, galleries and movie theatres. I live in Almaty and we have beautiful mountains. Sometimes we go camping and spend time in nature.

Q: What do you miss about your Kazakhstan?
A: I miss mountains and I also miss my city. My city is not as big as New York but it is the largest city in Kazakhstan. I like going out with my friends and I enjoy urban lifestyle. Though I like living in Bethlehem because I am in love with Lehigh's campus.

Q: If someone was going to visit Kazakhstan, what would you tell them to do there?

A: Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world and it has a lot to offer: 2nd largest canyons in the world, outdoor activities, cultural activities, sport events, historical monuments and so on! Depending on your interest, you can find different options! I personally think you should travel to historic city of Turkestan.

Olga's top 8 places to visit while in Kazakhstan:

1. Historic city of Turkestan


2. Charyn Canyons (near Almaty)


3. Almaty. It simply has a lot to offer: modern galleries, sport events, many restaurants that offer local cuisine

Video about Almaty:



4. There is the highest ice-rink in the world located in Almaty! Check it out: Medeo ice-rink


5.  Opera House in Almaty

Alpieva Leila is famous Kazakhstani ballerina

6. Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan

7. Burabay natural resort (close to Astana) Me and my friends on the boat!

8. Go hiking in Tyan-Shan mountains (near Almaty)

9. Kazakh traditional food usually is made up of meat and vegetables. You can see "Besbarmak" on the picture below.


P.S. If you want to go to Kazakhstan, let me know! I will help you plan the trip :)

Q: Did you join any activities being held by ISS and what was your impression?

A: I think Lehigh University is a very friendly institution to international students. It is very important since many of us are far away from home. I went to a hiking trip and I went to Meet and Greet meetings. I want to reiterate that Lehigh really takes care of international students and tries to integrate them into university life.

Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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