Center for Central Asian Languages

If you have decided to study Central Asian languages and do not know where to study them, welcome to our Center for Central Asian Studies (CenCAL) at IUCA!

At our Center we offer courses in Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Uzbek, Uighur, Tajik, Dungan and Russian languages for international students and for those from Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries.

CenCAL's mission is to provide both foreign and local students with the opportunity to explore, learn, and excel in their language of interest. The Center welcomes foreign researchers, scholars, and students conducting studies in Central Asian languages to consider studying at the International University of Central Asia.

CenCAL is licensed by the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The language courses are six to nine months long depending on the attendee's language skill level. Upon completion of the course, students receive a certificate from the International University of Central Asia. If they wish, they have the option to become a regular student at IUCA.

While studying languages at our Center you will have an opportunity to take credits as IUCA regular students do, in languages you understand. Instruction takes place in both Russian and English.

For example, Weirong Ren, a student from China, has been studying Russian at IUCA. Besides this, she has taken Composition, Public Speaking, International Law and Film studies in English which she already knew.

Some people who are used to living in big cities might not want to live in a small town. On the other hand, studying in a small town like Tokmok also has advantages:

  1. Living in Tokmok, you will spend less money than living in Bishkek. For example, to rent a 2-room apartment (a 'one bedroom' in the US) costs 50-100 dollars per month, while in Bishkek it could easily cost 300-400 USD. It is the same with food: fruits, vegetables and meat are consicerably cheaper in Tokmok. Besides all food products are very fresh – they have come right off the farm.

  2. Definitely, pollution is much less in Tokmok than in Bishkek or other big cities.

  3. In Tokmok traffic is less, and you will not find traffic jams here.

  4. The mountains are not far from Tokmok: on week-ends you may go to the mountains to get out into nature. These are the famous Tien-Shan, the Mountains of Heaven, and you will find they are well named.

  5. And last but not least, usually people in small places are friendlier and ready to help. This applies to Tokmok 100 per cent.

Bishkek is only one hour away (60 km) from Tokmok, so if you want to go to a night club or a fancy restaurant, or if you have an important meeting at, say, your Embassy in Bishkek, you may easily do so. Taxis and minivans are available at the Tokmok bus station. They get you to Bishkek in about an hour.

In a nutshell - welcome to IUCA, to the Center for Central Asian Studies!


Director of the Center
Damira Aseneevna Sydykova




Center for Central Asian Studies (CenCAL) Center at the International University of Central Asia (IUCA) operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Center’s objectives:
- teach foreign students Kyrgyz, Russian, Kazakh, and Uighur languages to allow them continue their studies in universities of the Kyrgyz Republic;
- provide foreign students and young researchers the opportunity to continue their study of the Kyrgyz and Russian languages in the language environment;
- increase the level of the studied language.

As an academic unit, the Center organizes its educational process on individual and regular programs for teaching foreigners Kyrgyz, Russian, Kazakh and Uighur languages in accordance with the schedule approved by the IUCA Rector.

The Centre can provide its students the opportunity to take additional courses in one or two disciplines other then the studies language.

Final exams at CenCAL (assuming student’s proficiency in English, i.e. TOEFL) are counted as the entrance examination for all programs at IUCA.

Upon completion of the CenCAL courses, students will receive a "certificate" indicating the name of the course takes and duration of training.

Terms of training vary from 6 to 9 months or more.


Faculty of the Center

Damira Sydykova is the director of the Center and a scholar with teaching experience in the United States where she taught Kyrgyz language at the University of Maryland in 1993-1994.
She published a textbook entitled "Kyrgyz Spoken Language". She is an acknowledged specialist in the field of teaching both Kyrgyz and Russian to international students.
In Kyrgyzstan she has been teaching Kyrgyz language to representatives of the International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, and the Eurasia Foundation. She teaches Russian and Kyrgyz languages to the staff of the Embassy of the United States in Kyrgyzstan. Besides, she has been invited to teach Kyrgyz to the local staff of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic and National Electrical Company of Kyrgyzstan. At IUCA teaches Kyrgyz and Russian languages for local and foreign students.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Natalya Zadorojnaya Russian language instructor, "Pedagogy" program head, PhD, Associate Professor. She authored numerous textbooks and manuals on Russian language.







Viktoriya Bulatovais teaching Russian language for local and foreign students.








Gulfira Tairova – Russian language instructor.






Raihan Toktosunova is teaching Uzbek language for local and foreign students. Raihan Islamovna has been the principal of the Uzbek school № 4 in Tokmok for the last 25 years.








Akbar Baudinov - Uighur language instructor, PhD, associate professor at the department of Uighur Philology at the Kyrgyz National University’s Oriental Studies Faculty, an expert on philosophical and ethical issues in Uighur literature.
In 1990 Mr. Baudunov defended his PhD thesis on the topic: "Ethical beliefs of progressive Uyghur poets and thinkers of the first half of the XIX century."
He has authored over 30 scientific works, methodological papers and one monograph.
Mr. Baudunov developed following courses: "Uighur literature of the Middle Ages", "Uighur literature 17-19 centuries", "History of modern Uyghur literature".
He is also took part in writing the unique book "Literature of the Uighurs in Kyrgyzstan".
Akbarzhan Baudunov took an active part in creating the Uighur Community “Ittipak”. Since March, 2008 Mr. Baudunov is the editor in chief of "Ittipak" newspaper.

Feedback from our students

Novella Chiechi, an international student from the United States

Greetings, Calamatcisbi, Zdravsvoite…. I am a second-year PhD student from the University of Chicago, studying the history of border areas between China and Russia. For me, this means Central Asia, and particularly Kyrgyzstan. During the Fall of 2010, I am studying intermediate/advanced Russian, as well as beginning to study Kyrgyz language. I study at the International University of Central Asia, in Tokmok, a small city about an hour from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. I am enjoying myself at IUCA very much, and I hope to keep up my relationship with the school long after December.  Here is the link to my blog, Novella's Travels.  Although my Twitter feed is available on my blog, as is my Flickr account, here are the addresses. 


Letter of Matthias and Christine Voelker about their Russian language teacher at IUCA,
Damira Sydykova


Bad Liebenzell, Germany, 19.07.2010


Being able to communicate in Kyrgyz has been very helpful in our daily life e.g. on the marked, driving with the taxi/bus, talking to the police and meeting with new people. Although every Kyrgyz can speak Russian the Kyrgyz language remains the language of their heart. We made the experience that people are always very fascinated, friendly and happy when they hear a foreigner speak Kyrgyz. It honors the Kyrgyz people if they realize that a foreigner speaks their language.

Since January 2009 Damira Sydykova has been teaching us Kyrgyz classes. She is a great teacher and is very talented in explaining the Kyrgyz language to foreign students. Damira Sydykova is able to explain grammatical structures in a very clear and effective way. After having explained a specific structure she always adds sentences and many examples that makes it easier to learn how the structure is used in daily life speech.


For us it was very important to find a teacher who can speak English in a way that enables her to explain and give precise information about the meaning of Kyrgyz expressions and vocabulary. With Damira Sydykova we have found such a teacher.

As she has been teaching the Kyrgyz language to foreigners for several years she is very experienced and knows how to compare the Kyrgyz language with other languages and how to explain the structure in a way that is easy to understand.





Apart from her very good teaching skills she is also a person who gets along with people very well. She has a good sense of humor – which we think is very important in the language learning process- , she respects her students and also their individual learning style. Furthermore she is able to motivate and encourage her students. We not only learned from Damira Sydykova the Kyrgyz language she was also willing to answer our questions about the Kyrgyz tradition and way of life. Apart from that she was always willing to offer her help to us in many ways of daily life.