American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Get Engaged Conference

FAQ: Get Engaged Conference

What is the Get Engaged conference?

Get Engaged is an annual conference organized by Bard College in partnership with Central European University, which gathers students from Bard International Network (AUCA, Al- Quds Bard College, Bard College Berlin, Smolny College of Saint Petersburg State University, European Humanities University) to present their projects, share ideas, network, and participate in professional training.

What should I do to go to the Conference?

Students have to have projects they have implemented or are implementing. If you do not have a project, start now! Even if you are late this year, you can still apply to Get Engaged in the coming year. And do not forget that you should be doing a project because you truly care about it, and not just because you want to travel.

My friend and I (also a student of AUCA) did a project together. If we apply to Get Engaged, can we go together?

No, because the conference aims to gather diverse projects, so having two people with the same project does not match the conference’s goals.

What are the eligibility criteria to participate in the conference?

Any AUCA student (including NGA) who has implemented a community-based project is eligible to apply.

Can I apply for the conference if I am a senior?


Who selects the participating students?

The SIDP Coordinator shares feedback on each project, but the final decision is always made by Bard Center for Civic Engagement. 

When can I apply for the conference?

Each year, the call for applications for the conference opens in the Spring semester. Applicants from AUCA are highly encouraged to consult with AUCA Global Fellows – both are Get Engaged alumni – Abdul Walid Azizi and Amina Ahmed before applying. You may reach out to them via the emails indicated in the Contacts section during their working hours.

When will the results arrive?

Results will be announced in a month or two after the application deadline.

Are non-Kyrgyzstani AUCA students allowed to apply for the conference?

All students regardless of their citizenship are allowed to apply to the conference as long as they have implemented/are implementing a project. However, it is important to note that being accepted to the conference does not automatically grant a visa, and it is up to the Hungarian Consulate to approve a visa. 

What will we do at the conference?

The conference’s main focus is on student projects, so you will be presenting the projects and sharing experiences, feedback, and ideas. You will also have a great chance to network with students from across the Bard College International Network, and participate in professional trainings to expand and improve your projects.

Is the conference free? All costs are covered or we need to pay something ourselves?

All costs (round flight, transportation fees, meals, accommodation) will be covered by Bard Center for Civic Engagement. You will have to pay for your visa when applying for it, however, the fee is reimbursed to you once you arrive at the conference.

Do I need to apply for a visa to attend the conference?

Since the conference is held in Hungary, you will need to apply for a visa to the Consulate General of Hungary in Almaty, Kazakhstan to participate in the conference. All selected finalists travel to Almaty together with the SIDP Coordinator to apply for the conference. 

If I implemented my project more than one year ago, can I still apply with this project?

If you are still working on that project, then yes. Projects have to be recent and continuing ones. So, if you worked on a project once one year ago, and did not do any work afterward, you cannot apply with that project.

If I participated in a project or was one of the organizers, may I use this project to apply for the conference?

Generally, selected finalists are project coordinators/ leaders of projects. If you were a participant but contributed to a project – to a great extent - that made a difference in a community, you may apply. 

Can I stay longer in Budapest or visit my friends?

You will always be flying from and back to Bishkek together in a group lead by the SIDP Coordinator, that is why you cannot stay longer in Budapest. Also, for its most part, the conference is strictly scheduled, and you have to arrive on time everywhere and not be late! You can meet your friends (in Budapest) in your free time.

How many applicants are there are from AUCA? How many of them are usually accepted?

Last year there were 32 applicants from AUCA, and 7 students were selected as finalists. Usually, the number of accepted students ranges from 5-7, but might change from year to year upon the decision of the Bard Center for Civic Engagement.

If I want to ask more questions, whom can I address?

Approach our student ambassadors Abdul Walid Azizi and Amina Ahmed via their emails, which are indicated in Contacts.

If my project is only at the beginning stage now, am I still eligible to apply?

If you have achieved some results in your project, you are eligible to apply (a project should actually be implemented at the moment of application, it is not just an idea).

Are NGA students eligible to apply? I did not see “NGA” year at the application form.

NGA students should first consult with Walid and Amina (see their email addresses and workin hours HERE). If approved, they can apply, and should indicate “First Year” in “Academic Year”. However, they should indicate “NGA” in the “Major” question.

Can I consult with SIDP regarding our applications? (questions about essays, etc.)

You can consult with our Global Fellows. Look up their emails and working hours in Contacts!

What are some tips for me to increase the chances of being accepted to the conference?

Implement quality and problem-solving projects. And in order to do that, research, prepare, plan accordingly, and start your project as soon as possible! Also, start applying to the conference early on.

What happens with the participants after the conference?

Students basically come back loaded with feedback, ideas, inspiration, and resources. Upon return, participants should put all of that in use. Participants can apply for micro-grants up to $600 and receive additional funding to continue working on their projects. They also can work with Global Fellows to receive advice and expand their projects.

Can I get more funding for my project at the conference?

There will be people from outside the Bard College International Network, who might be willing to support your project. Therefore, students should be ready to present their projects the best they can to attract new donors and more funding.

Can I apply for Get Engaged twice with different projects / How can I go to the conference again?

There is no possibility for students to attend the conference twice. The conference is organized to help students learn new skills and gain knowledge, and even if your project is outstanding, other students should be given a chance to attend too.

Are there any ways I can still be useful for the Bard Network after the conference is finished?

Of course, you can contribute by becoming a Global Fellow and consult students from the Network and help with their projects. You can expand your project across the partner institutions. You can also work with students who will just be attending the conference next year, and you can contact the Program Coordinator to learn more ways to be useful and provide support.

Can I get some products of my project to sell at the conference?

It is possible depending on what the products of your projects are and upon approval of Bard Center for Civic Engagement staff. For example, in 2017 a student project coordinator sold the felt products made by the participants of her project, and it went really well. 

Will we have some free time to walk around the city, shop and/or get to know each other?

Most of the time, you will be having free time in the evenings. You will be able to have dinners by yourselves, and organizers will take care of the cultural part of the conference (city tour).

If I want to know how other Get Engaged conferences were held or who participated, how can I get this information?

You can contact Global Fellows to get the information.

What is Bard International Network?

Bard International Network is the network of Bard College partner universities and consists of Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences in Jerusalem, the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, Bard College in Annandale on Hudson, New York, Bard College Berlin in Germany, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University (Smolny College) in St. Petersburg, Russia.

American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
AUCA Contacts