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Volume 6, Number 16
14 February 2000

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Kazakh Students Models of Ambition
İsmail and İskender Mailibayev are two brothers from Almaty, Kazakhstan, who received their undergraduate degrees from Bilkent University and have been continuing their education in the MBA program here. At the end of this semester the brothers will complete their studies at Bilkent and will be ready to take what they have learned to their native country.

When İsmail and İskender were asked about how they originally decided to come to Bilkent University, they said it was because they had heard a lot about it and had formed a very favourable impression of it after doing some research on Turkish universities. It wasn't difficult for İskender to settle in Turkey because he was used to moving a lot, having previously lived in Saudi Arabia, England, and Rumania. İsmail, on the other hand, says that he experienced difficulties in adapting to life here at the beginning. After a while he came to see the many similarities between Kazakh and Turkish culture, and life here became easier as a result. As for the language, after seven years, they both speak Turkish fluently with a near-perfect accent. Generally they both miss their friends and their country but they are very happy to be in Turkey, because they say that here they have had opportunities that they wouldn't have been able to find in Kazakhstan.

The Mailibayev brothers find the social life at Bilkent University very lively. Kazakh universities are so small (without any campus) that they have no social activities like Bilkent's clubs, conferences, seminars, concerts, and plays. These days, more and more young Kazakhs are choosing to pursue their higher education abroad. İskender and İsmail would like to see more Kazakh students studying at Bilkent. They are trying to promote their university as much as they can to their friends back home through photos, self-produced videos, and informational material. The brothers suggest Bilkent University promote itself more in Kazakhstan, perhaps by sending brochures, catalogues, and videos to the Turkish Embassy in Kazakhstan.

At the end of the interview, the Mailibayev brothers were asked about which country they are planning to live in after completing their studies. Both answered that they will settle down in Kazakhstan. They are so attached to their country that their only aim is to serve it by being as successful in business as they can.

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