Astana – Raquel Reinagel, 28, switched from the humid Texas climate to Astana’s continental climate five years ago to gain new job experience and work as an English teacher at Nazarbayev University’s Preliminary Research Center. rice field. It was a moment that changed her life for her.
She quickly learned Kazakh, was able to maintain conversations with people, found a new hobby, and runs a blog on YouTube under the nickname Rocky Journeys, which has over 28,000 subscribers.
In an interview with The Astana Times, Reinagel said he had no specific reason to vlog about his life in Kazakhstan, such as “for fame.”
“I like making videos and blogging, so I did it. I thought this would be a good way to experience Kazakhstan and understand what’s going on,” she said.
My first week in Kazakhstan was filled with anxiety that I had never experienced before. She decided to capture those feelings in her first video, which Reinagel says isn’t her favorite.
“I was very nervous because it was my first time living abroad. From that video I knew it was not my life anymore, so I decided to document my feelings and emotions,” she added. .
Before coming to Kazakhstan, she had 150 subscribers, which increased to 300 in her first year in the country and 17,000 in late 2020.
“My subscribers skyrocketed after I posted videos of what I learned in my two years in Kazakhstan and where I dated Kazakh men,” she added.
Reinagel said people started recognizing her on the streets after she posted about the average cost of a weekend in Astana last March.
“The funny thing is that half of them spoke to me in Russian. rice field.
Reinagel said she first learned Russian but gave up because of its complicated grammar.
“I stopped when I started putting a prefix in front of the verb. I suggested there were about eight options and a rule for choosing the variant, but there wasn’t,” she explained.
She then started learning Kazakh on her own using the Spoken Kazakh: A Complete Course for Beginners training manual.
Her efforts to find qualified teachers to teach Kazakh to foreigners were initially unsuccessful. She found her tutor after she learned the language in intensive mode for a month.
“I tried, but there were some problems. First of all, my tutor could not adjust the language level so that I could understand. I had never taught a language before, so I didn’t have the materials. I don’t think so,” she said.
In 2021, Nazarbayev University will launch an intensive intermediate Kazakh language course. The course lasted him eight weeks and included four hours of classes, five days a week.
“I’m doing very well in these intensive types of courses. It’s eight weeks, four hours a day, so it’s very tiring. I still can’t speak fluently, but I think I’ve improved a lot.” says Reinagel.
Last summer she continued her studies at the upper intermediate level.
“I actually got some thing called automaticity. So my brain finally found a way to say things automatically with less processing time. However, those courses helped me a lot and now I can talk to people and have basic daily conversations. I can talk about a lot of things, but I can’t talk about politics, physics or math,” she said.
Regarding language difficulties, she said that certain sounds such as ϩ, گ and і are difficult for her to pronounce.
Breaking stereotypes about Kazakhstan
The first cultural quirk she noticed was her habit of being late all the time.
“It’s controversial and not always true, but it’s definitely culturally acceptable. However, Kazakhs are not always late.
Reinagel found that the legendary Kazakhstani hospitality she’d heard so much about was more modest than she was first led to believe. At first she was disappointed. She explained that she personally did not experience much hospitality when she first came to live there. Emphasized hardworking nature.
“In my opinion, Kazakhs are very hardworking people, especially their students. They work hard and have bigger goals and dreams than Americans of their age. “I’m trying to improve myself,” she said.
New hobby found in Kazakhstan
Reinagel said she has been dancing bachata, a type of ballroom dance that originated in the Dominican Republic, for nearly a year.
“In February 2021, I went to a bar and met a man who teaches bachata and asked me to take his class. The interesting thing is that I was into bachata music in high school and liked Romeo Santos and Prince Royce.
Breathtaking landscapes of Kazakhstan
During his stay in Kazakhstan, Reinagel visited Almaty, Shymkent, Taraz, Turkestan, Pavlodar, Semey, Kokshetau, Kyzlorda, Atyrau and Karagundy. Lake Kolsay in her Almaty region impressed her the most.
“It’s a stereotype, but my favorite place is Lake Kolsay. , it was very good, I want to come back and stay at the dacha [summer house] Or a guest house around there,” Reinagel said.
In spring or early summer, she visits Ust-Kamenogorsk and Katong-Karagai National Parks in eastern Kazakhstan. Saikarare animals of endangered species.
Most exciting experience in Kazakhstan so far
When asked what was the most exciting experience of his stay in Kazakhstan, Reinagel said it happened during his visit to Turkestan.
“I rode a camel and fell in love with the animal. “I just ran around in circles, but still. If I ever go to America again, I’d buy it. I think there are people in Montana who sell it,” she said.