Starting back in 2017, FLEX alumni in Kyrgyzstan organized weekly FLEX Talking Clubs for residents of various cities in Kyrgyzstan to practice their English, learn about American culture, meet and network with senior FLEX alumni. Since its inception, over one-hundred active citizens attend the clubs every month, which are hosted in American Corners across the country. Attendees are as diverse as their communities, with mothers and daughters, retirees, and students of all ages taking part in the events.
In 2019, FLEX Talking Club took events to the next level by introducing Skype calls and discussions with senior FLEX alumni. Zhanylai Mamytova ‘19 (Kyzyl-Kiya, Kyrgyzstan/ Wheatland, MO), introduced the idea of talking with people via Skype to remove distance as a barrier and to bring more perspective into the FLEX Talking Clubs. Events have included chats with recently returned alumni from the FLEX, YES, or other USG exchange programs where they share specifics about their country or culture. The audience then has the opportunity to ask questions or clarify some misconceptions about a country, region, or culture from a local.Panel discussions with senior alumni have brought top-notch professionals into Talking Clubs across the country. Alumni willing to share their time and participate in the panels have shared their professional successes such as; working for the government; working for international organizations; leading nation-wide women’s empowerment programs; working with national television channels; and the ins and outs of home-schooling their children! This project was started by former Alumni Coordinator Malike Alenova ’15 (Zhalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan/Everett, PA) and has resulted in a higher rate of engagement among senior FLEX alumni in the FLEX Talking Clubs.Thank you to the following alumni who led the clubs in 2019: Zhibek Abdymutalyp kyzy ’19, Elzada Akylbekova ’19, Salkynai Emilbekova ’19, Zhibek Kashkaeva ’19, Nuraiym Nurgazieva ’19, Elza Syrdyeva ’19, Aina Tashbolotova ’19, and Asel Umralieva ’19.