The Wisconsin-Kazakhstan Bridge

In summer 2016, the University of Wisconsin-Madison once again hosted undergraduate students from Nazarbayev University (NU) in Astana, Kazakhstan as part of the ongoing partnership between the two universities. This year a program called WisKaz-BRIDGE helped both Madison and NU students overcome cultural gaps and build new relationships.

WisKaz-BRIDGE is a collaboration between two programs. WisKaz (from “Wisconsin-Kazakhstan”) is a language program organized by the UW Russian Flagship Program. It partners UW students studying Russian with students from NU. For UW students, WisKaz offers “a chance to casually practice Russian in a stress-free environment with peers, which provides a good alternative environment to the classroom,” explains Russian Flagship Program Coordinator Laura Weigel. In summer 2015, WisKaz matched 26 UW students with 35 NU students who spent eight weeks at UW-Madison during the summer as part of the Visiting International Student Program (VISP). Students met with their partners for at least 30 minutes each week for informal conversations, speaking Russian half the time and English the other half.

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