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Published June 14, 2018
Although they are nearly 6,000 miles apart, Kazakhstan and Laramie have some things in common, according to nine master’s degree students who are visiting the University of Wyoming this week.
“I like the nature of Wyoming,” Makpal Ualikyzy says. “It is similar to Kazakhstan because Almaty is located in the center of the mountains. The weather, the landscape are similar.”
Students from al-Farabi National Kazakh University’s (KazNU) journalism program are learning more about news and reporting in the United States from UW’s Department of Communication and Journalism. They are at UW as part of their requirements to travel internationally to learn about another country’s media.
“It is obligatory that we pass a summer internship abroad for master’s students, and we decided to choose the United States, especially the University of Wyoming,” Ualikyzy says. “My specialty is international journalism, so I want to get knowledge and experience and compare that with our Kazakhstan experience.”
The visit is part of a cooperation agreement between UW’s Department of Communication and Journalism and National Kazakh University that was signed in 2012. Emeritus professor of journalism Mike Brown started the exchange and has taught classes at KazNU.
“It has been a very productive relationship for both universities. We have had three joint journal publications so far with the two programs,” Brown says. “I’ve really enjoyed the students. They are very smart and curious, so we are planning to continue the relationship.”
The department and KazNU have been coordinating classes so a potential student exchange or joint degree program could emerge.
“The National Kazakh University is going through a curricular change. They are moving away from the Soviet system to a Western style, where you have a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D.,” Brown says. “As part of that effort, they revised their master’s program to match our curriculum. So, as we establish a stronger sense of cooperation with them, it will be easy for us to exchange students.”
The vice dean of the journalism faculty for KazNU, Karlyga Myssayeva, will be at UW to work more on the plan in August.
Until then, student Gaukhar Jakupbayeva says she is glad she traveled to the United States.
“I came to get more experience with international journalism and learn more about digital journalism,” she says. “This is a great honor for us, and I look forward to having more knowledge about my profession.”
Another student has enjoyed her visit so far.
“I have read a lot about Wyoming and wanted to see it,” Sabira Koilybayeva says. “I like the air and that it’s windy. The people are really friendly.”
Part of the support for the visit came from the 4-Mile Fund, an endowment connected to the Department of Communication and Journalism that was created by Brown and his family. Brown says the fund is dedicated to providing additional support for the department’s graduate student program, which in this case includes the exchange students from Kazakhstan.
For more information about the agreement between the department and National Kazakh University, email Department Head Cindy Price Schultz at email@example.com.