American University of Central Asia - AUCA - SPOTLIGHTS

Spotlights

Aleksei Mun, Anthropology

"In anthropology all sciences are intertwined. The student should be able to think critically."

- You are a student of the Anthropology department. Do you regret of your choice?

- No, no regrets. While applying to the Anthropology department I doubted the accuracy of my choice, but, after I have studied аnthropology for two years, I realized that I made the right choice.



- Why AUCA? Why Anthropology?

Why AUCA? You are really asking that question? Well, where else in Kyrgyzstan can I get such a good education as here? I do not know any other places. But there is one thing that caught me – it is the UniquespiritofAUCA. Outsiders will not understand. Yes, and I also enjoy the freedom of expression that AUCA gives to its students.

You know, a person may take years just to understand the essence of a holistic science as anthropology. However, the one who understood it, will be happy, because possessing skills of anthropologist opens for a man the whole new world full of riddles and opportunities.



- Tell us a little about your Department. What new did you learn there? What did it give you?

In fact, you do not get this feeling of so relaxed and friendly atmosphere in any other Departments than at the Department of Anthropology. The absolute equality reigns. At any time you can go to the Department and drink tea with professors, talk to them, and they will not look down on you and treat you as unequal to him interlocutor.

I did not just learn, but also understood and analyzed so much useful information, which I have not sort through in my head yet. Actuality, all the things that we were taught was completely new to me. I graduated the technical class at high school, which was focused on physics, mathematics and computer science. Therefore, after I entered the Anthropology Department, I completely changed my profile, and along with it, point of view to life.

I think that we need to rephrase the question, not "what the Department gave me?", but "what I got from this Department?" Unfortunately, I took for myself, is not quite as I should have taken. Moreover, how can we measure our knowledge? There is no limit to perfection. As Socrates said: "The more I know, the less I know".



- Where do you want to work when you will graduate?

I see myself as an employee of an international organization, such as UN. I want to manage my own projects on the social development of periphery and the preservation of cultural values. Another problem that I am interested in is the peaceful ethnic conflicts resolution. My choice falls on these issues because the anthropology involves a qualitative study of a person as a whole, in particular, the products of cultural - social activities of the human beings. Thus, I have a direct path to the United Nations or other organizations of this type.



- What are the prospects for the students of the Anthropology Department?

A clever and a good student always have perspectives. He even can create them on his own for himself. For the students graduated with Honors at the Department of Anthropology almost all directions are opened, even a part of the exact sciences. You may wonder and argue that this is impossible. However, it turns out that possible. I understood it myself. Anthropology - is the science of strategy.



- Tell us about your favorite classes in the Anthropology Department. What are they interesting for?

I am very interested in the direction of "Development Anthropology", so I am interested in everything that is connected with it. You know, if there is a Department in AUCA that is moving along well-trodden path, it is definitely not the Department of Anthropology. There is so much different and new in this Department, that any student of AUCA will find an interesting class for himself.



- I heard you have very interesting internships, where you go to excavations in the regions. Have you passed this internship? Tell us about it more in detail.

Actually, this is an archaeological practice, when we travel around the region, exploring the ancient monuments, and try to fill the gaps in the history. There is also an anthropological internship, when we can be sent even to another country to study certain social problems. For example, in 2012 we went to Kazan and St. Petersburg to study Central Asian migrants. It was very interesting. First of all, we won the grant, as it should be in accordance with the procedure. The main theme of the study was "Migrants and town or cities of migrants". Our group wanted to find out how workers adapt to foreign cultures and the problems they often face. We spent 2 weeks in Kazan, then the same in St. Petersburg, collecting data on migrants: citizenship, purpose of stay, place of work, etc. Then we made special cards that contained the percentage of migrants in different parts of the city. Finally, we compare and analyze the data collected from the two cities. I can write an entire article about it, if I go on to details. J

Returning back to archaeological practice, I passed it in Naryn, and we slept at an altitude of 3750 meters. We still had time to visit Son - Kul, where the altitude is 4000 m. Excavations were conducted daily. There, I have learned that an archaeologist must have a good drawing skill. He should make a lot of charts and maps. Well, and of course, dig. But do not just dig a shovel, but carefully remove the soil using special tools, layer by layer, to make sure we do not damage the artifact. After finding an artifact, you should enter data on the map. As a result, there may be an old puzzle, which can be a real discovery. At the time of my archaeological practice, we have not made the discoveries, but we have found many artifacts of the Stone Age and few from the Bronze Age. Also, I had an opportunity to study Mongolian burial and touch the real balbals (usually stone monuments dedicated to the kings and great warriors). In Son-Kul I saw a huge cemetery of kings, stretching from one coast to the other. It was a very bright moment in my life.



- Does the fact that anthropologist is a pretty rare profession scare you? Don’t you think that it would be difficult to find a job on this profile?

Fear has big eyes. Of course, I am a bit concerned that anthropology is not that developed in Kyrgyzstan, as in United States or Europe, but I do not consider it a problem. You know, good anthropologists are as "freelancers", they will always find a job on the profile, because anthropology, as I said before, is the holistic science.



- What good advice would you give to students who want to enter the Anthropology Department?

It can be discussed for a long time about the pros and cons of the Anthropology field. There is something in one science that is not in the other. In anthropology all sciences are intertwined. The student should be able to think critically. Anthropologist can only be compared with the spy agent, who he can adapt to any situation and find the right solution. So, dear friends, if you have any doubt, leave them and come to study at our Department. And most importantly, get the maximum! Then no one can impose their game to you.

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American University of Central Asia
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Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

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