Inaugural UCA Summer Camp Begins in Issyk-Kul
The inaugural University of Central Asia (UCA) Summer Camp opened on 18 June on the shores of beautiful Lake Issyk-Kul in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Camp brings together 76 exceptional Grade 10 students from Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan for a unique academic enrichment experience, where they will improve their English and math skills and receive critical support to enter local or international universities. Camp participants represent a gifted cohort of Central Asian students, selected through a competitive regional admissions process that had as many as 850 applicants.
The ceremony was also attended by Mr Adilet Bekboev, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Executive Chairman of UCA’s Board Executive Committee, and His Excellency Olim Rakhimov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Kyrgyz Republic.
“You have not only gathered us, but brought students from the best schools together to the pearl of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk Kul. Thanks to the University of Central Asia, we can maintain the brotherhood of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and this friendship will grow deeper,” said Bekboev.
The Summer Camp team is led by Mr Myrza Karimov of Kyrgyzstan, who has over 15 years of experience in the education sector in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Assistant Camp Director Farrah Kamani of Canada brings considerable experience working in youth camps. They lead a team of twenty administrators, teachers and camp counsellors bringing a wealth of experience and talent from seven countries. The staff-student ratio will be one is to four.
“This is UCA’s first effort as a regional university to bring together talented students from each of our three host countries for a residential programme. The youth attending this camp represent those chosen on merit from amongst the most talented. With our first campus scheduled to open in Naryn in September next year, these students will get a taste of what it could be like to attend UCA. UCA will also benefit largely from this experience,” said Kassim-Lakha.
Welcoming remarks were followed by a cultural performance highlighting the diverse cultures of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan by the Assembly of Peoples of Kyrgyzstan. Dignitaries then had the opportunity to meet with camp staff and participants.
The UCA Summer Camp will run until 7 July 2015. Camp sessions will follow a rigorous schedule combining academics with other learning opportunities. Participants will spend three hours daily studying English and one hour studying math. They will also attend workshops and receive resources to enhance their success with university applications, including sessions on how to apply to university; choose a programme of study based on career interests; and prepare for university entrance requirements. Other activities including sports, drama, debating and field trips, will provide additional opportunities for participants to practice English-language skills and share experiences with fellow campers.
“UCA is a Central Asian university aspiring towards international standards. The Summer Camp follows that principle. The programme design takes into account both international best practice and Central Asian curricula and needs, and participants will be taught by an experienced team of Central Asian and international staff,” said Dr Ariff Kachra, UCA Dean of Academic Affairs.
“Until now, I did not know much about the different cultures and traditions of Central Asia. At this Camp I share a cottage with two girls, one from Tajikistan and another from Kazakhstan. I am really enjoying learning from them,”
“My main aim right now is to improve my English. I am really glad to be at the UCA Summer Camp to have a chance to do this. In the future I want to study abroad, my ambition is to go to America and study medicine.”
“I am so glad I came, and that I am able to practice my English. I think this Camp is a really good idea and I like that it is very affordable. My parents always told me how beautiful Kyrgyzstan is. I never dreamt I would make a journey all the way from Northern Kazakhstan to Lake Issyk-Kul. The environment here is so beautiful.”