An American Jonathan Lu is a Peace Corps volunteer. He came to Kyrgyzstan in 2018 and teaches English at a school in Naryn. Jonathan has learned the Kyrgyz language for two years and speaks it no worse than the locals do.
Before I arrived, I only heard about the military air base at Manas Airport. I read about it in the newspapers.Jonathan Lu
— What surprises you in Kyrgyzstan?
— I thought that Kyrgyzstan is a Muslim country. I read about it on the Internet. I thought that everything was strict here, and was preparing for it. When I arrived, I was surprised that everything was the same like in other countries. Yes, most of the people are the Muslims, but the country is modern. I am amazed at the multinational culture of the Kyrgyzstanis.
— At first, it was a little difficult, because people spoke only Kyrgyz to me. In general, I have quickly learned the basic language for two months. Then I moved to a Kyrgyz family, this also served as an impetus for learning. I practice every day; I continue to learn Kyrgyz. I like it.
— Why did you choose Kyrgyzstan?
— I have always wanted to go to Central Asia, because I was very interested in this region. I like mountains, horses and water here.
— Where have you already been in Kyrgyzstan besides Naryn?
— I have visited Issyk-Kul. When I was in Jalal-Abad, I went to Sary-Chelek lake. I have been in Chui region, of course. I really liked the forests in Jalal-Abad. I plan to go to other regions. I would like to do this before I leave for my homeland.
— I like that the relations between members of a Kyrgyz family are very close. Everyone is trying to help each other. The Americans are different.
I am also surprised by the attitude towards friends. For example, in America, even if my friend is well received at my family, no one is particularly interested in him.Jonathan Lu
— What has disappointed you in close acquaintance with the local population?
— I did not have negative experience when interacting with Kyrgyzstanis. Perhaps, it is because I am a bit like a Kyrgyz.
— What national dish do you like in Kyrgyzstan, and what are you afraid to try?
— I’m not afraid to try anything, I eat everything now. I like manty, dymdama, samsy, plov. Your food is similar to Chinese cuisine. When I came here, I was surprised that the Kyrgyz eat sheep’s tongue and eyes. I like horse meat.
— Kyrgyzstan is developing, and many tourists come here. Perhaps, the roads should be improved. If they are bad, people will not want to go to Naryn.
— Would you like to come here again?
— Yes, sure. I plan to graduate and return here.
— Yes. The nature in my city is similar to Los Angeles, there are high mountains nearby. When I look at the mountains in Naryn, they remind me of my city.
— Do you have any difficulties in teaching Kyrgyz children English?
— I work in a team with three local teachers. We teach children English together. The kids are different, there are active children among them like elsewhere. In general, I have no difficulties.