International Club Shows Students Kazakhstan and Then Some
A poster outside of the International Club office in the Dreyfus University Center promoting the club's event on Kazakhstan. Photo by Ross Vetterkind

International Club Shows Students Kazakhstan and Then Some

International Club hosted event to educate students about Kazakhstan, featuring a speaker and traditional cuisine.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, students flocked into the Helen Parkhurst lecture hall to learn about the heart of Eurasia. The event was hosted by the International Club, featuring a speaker from Kazakhstan.

Katya Martynova, Interpersonal Organization major and the evening’s speaker said, “It’s shocking that it’s such a huge country and not many people know about it.”

Martynova said that those that have heard of it usually say it’s because of the movie “Borat.”

“I hate that movie,” Martynova said.

Martynova shared a video that showed some of Kazakhstan’s beautiful landscapes, culture, food and life styles of modern Kazakhstan. She also talked about traditional dishes some of which were going to be available after her speech.

Two of these dishes included baurzaki, which is a Kazakh style doughnut but less sugary than the traditional American doughnut. The second is bliny which is a thin pancake similar to a crepe.

“It can be served with berries and sour cream,” Martynova said.

Martynova also talked about the history of the Kazakh people, who were nomadic and lived off the land. The “stan” in Kazakhstan means settlement. They made huts called yurtas that were spacious yet transportable.

“Kazakhstan is known for its hospitality. If you were to enter any given household, they would probably give you a lot of tea and a lot of food,” Martynova said.

Martynova also talked about how Kazakhstan was once a part of Soviet Russia.

“But now it’s one of the fastest developing countries since the fall of Soviet Russia,” Martynova said.

A lot of people had questions for Martynova after her speech was over. Most of them wanted to know some differences between the U.S. and Kazakhstan. Martynova shared with the group that there is a rather different sport they play in Kazakhstan called Kokpar. She described it like football played wile riding horses and traditionally uses a dead goat that is now replaced with a rubber version.

Some students came for the food, others came for the School of Business and Economics credits, but some came just to expand their knowledge on another country.

“We came because we were at the I-club meeting about Siberia and wanted to learn more about another country,” said international studies major Ashley Watzig.

Elementary education major Kasie Feind, said, “It’s always cool to go into this knowing nothing about the countries and coming out with all this cool new information about somewhere else in the world.”

The International Club (I-Club) is a student organization created to encourage exchange of values and ideas and raising awareness and acceptance of different cultures on the UW- Stevens Point.

The general meetings like the Kazakhstan event are held once a month every semester and are usually on every third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Other events that they do include fundraisers, volunteer events and entertainment. Their biggest event of the year is the International Dinner, where they feed and entertain 400 students, faculty and community members. It has been held every spring semester for the past 47 years. Their 48th International Dinner will be in April 2018.

Aaron Zimmerman

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