CESL accommodates Dostyk hotel employes in former USSR

By Hanh Quach

Arizona Daily Wildcat

To better accommodate its diverse clientele, the hotel Dostyk in Almaty, eastern Kazakhstan, has sent five more students to the UA to learn English.

The hotel has sponsored 20 students this year to study at the Center for English as a Second Language. The hotel Dostyk has sent roughly 30 people to CESL during the past 21/2 years, said McLoughlin.

Almost half of the employees in the hotel have come to study English, said Dzhumadilov.

Artem Badagov, 17, said most American students are not familiar with Kazakhstan, which proclaimed its independence on Dec. 21, 1991 from the former Soviet Republic.

"All of the TV programs here are only about Tucson and America. This news is interesting to you, but not to us. In our country, there is always world news," said Badagov, who came to the UA to learn English before attending an English-speaking university in his country to study business or marketing.

CESL Programs range in length for different students, but the expected stay for anyone working at the hotel is eight weeks.

Since the hotel caters to many businesses and marketing representatives, English has become a necessity. "They come here to learn English and when they return, they are better employees," said Emmett McLoughlin, president of the Fair Winds Trading Co., a sister company to the hotel Dostyk and the students' link to their home in Kazakhstan.

But Badagov, who has been in America since the second summer session, will not return to his country until Dec. 15.

"If you come to our hotel and no one can speak English, how do you feel?" said Dauren Dzhumadilov, 24, who works in the Currency Exchange Department at Dostyk.

But coming to America, where most people don't speak Russian, can also be frightening.

"The first week was very terrible. I was afraid to speak with people because if I make a mistake, they will look at me and laugh," said Badagov, speaking with a melodic accent.

However, the students agreed that they found the biggest differences in the culture, people and teaching.

"Here, teaching is very informal. In our country, we must dress up and call the teacher by their first name and their father's name," said Dzhumadilov.

"I cannot get used to calling my teachers by their first name," added Badagov.

Through Badagov, Nailya Tusibaerva, 38, a barmaid at the hotel, said even though the teaching method is informal, it is effective and helpful.

"Here, there is a lot of practice. Always a reminder of English," said Badagov.

Housing arrangements, transportation and additional expenses are paid by the hotel and arranged by the Fair Winds Trading Co., said McLoughlin.

The students are given $300 a month for food, which Dzhumadilov jokingly said is spent on more important things. "We buy a lot of phone cards for speaking with our families. To call Kazakhstan, it costs $2 a minute," he said. Dzhumadilov says he calls his 10-month-old daughter at home two times a week.

But, Badagov said, the standard of living in America is higher than in his country. Because everything is ready-made and fast food, it is more expensive than in Kazakhstan where most things are found in raw form.

"It's nice in America. Here, people wear shorts. In Kazakhstan, it is more formal, everyone wears uniforms. Also, there are many famous things in America, like Disneyland," said Badagov, who visited the theme park as soon as he arrived at the U.S.

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