Kyrgyz, American women discuss career, life goals during cultural exchange

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Kyrgyz and American citizens gathered for a Women's Club meeting Feb. 17, at Bayalinov Children's Library in Bishkek.

The Women's Club is part of the U.S. Embassy-sponsored American Corner program. Every week, the group meets to discuss various topics including marriage, children, career goals and life decisions.

Aigul Ryskalora, a student and part-time teacher at the English Academy in Bishkek, was inspired by the meeting.

"I was impressed with the ladies because they answered all our questions and interacted so well with us," she said. "I think they are super-human because they pursue work and motherhood."

Although this was not her first visit to the Women's Club, Ryskalora said this visit was the most interesting so far.

"Today's visit was different than the rest, it was very vivid," she said. "I will do my best to get here on time and attend this club more often."

During the discussion, Venera Myrzabaeva, a 22-year-old International University of Kyrgyzstan student explained the cultural pressures on Kyrgyz women to marry by the age of 25.

Capt. Kay Stern, Theater Security Cooperation social cultural section chief, said the Women's Club is her favorite hour of the week.

"The club is my absolute favorite thing to do. Even though we live halfway around the world from one another, we have more similarities than differences," she said. "These women are young and driven. They are so young, yet they already know what they want and have a plan to affect change in their families, communities and their country."

Stern is deployed to the Transit Center from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

Participating in the Women's Club provides many opportunities for Kyrgyz and American women to learn about each other's cultures.

"This is not a one-way experience. It's just as rewarding to see the zeal on the faces of the Transit Center personnel when they participate," Stern said. "It gives an opportunity for our Airmen to see new sights and experience the beauty of another country and culture for themselves."