Astana is a beautiful city.

While our School in Russia is on pause, graduate students have the chance to study in Astana, Kazakhstan, where Russian is an official language.

Kazakhstan is a state in Central Asia bordering Russia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. А leader in the fields of economics, innovation, education, and international business in post-Soviet space, Kazakhstan is in a period of dynamic development while striving to preserve its national flavor, history, and rich culture.

You will study in the capital city of Astana, a new city with extraordinary infrastructure and architecture. Taking inspiration from advanced megacities such as New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Moscow, and Tokyo, the country’s government quickly built a vibrant, convenient, clean, and safe city with a population of over 1 million people. Middlebury has two partner universities in Astana, Nazarbayev University and KAZGUU University.


Our main host institution is Nazarbayev University, an internationally renowned research university founded in 2010. Here, you will take advanced Russian language courses and Middlebury-organized electives. Elective courses might include:

  • Russian Intellectual History from the Enlightenment to Eurasianism
  • International Relations of Eurasia
  • Introduction to the Politics of Central Asia
  • Stalinist Central Asia
  • History of Kazakh Music

At KAZGUU University, you will take one or more mainstream courses alongside Kazakh students. KAZGUU university offers a wide range of courses in its School of Liberal Arts, as well as offerings in law, economics, finance, and business.

Outside class, you will conduct research for your thesis/capstone project. You will be advised on selecting and researching a topic. During your final summer at Middlebury, you will present your completed project at a mini-conference for graduate students called the Graduate Symposium.

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to participate in Middlebury-organized excursions in the region and take advantage of opportunities to engage with Kazakh students, through independent activities and cultural events in Astana. If you are studying in Astana for the academic year, our in-country staff can help you arrange an internship in the spring semester, which will deepen your language skills and immersion in the local culture, in addition to providing valuable work experience.


Graduate students may choose to live in a dormitory at Nazarbayev University or rent an apartment privately.

Guidelines and Handbook

Please review Middlebury’s Schools Abroad General Handbook and the School in Kazakhstan handbook, where you will find information on housing, visas, and other logistics.