From Kazakhstan to San Diego – A Student’s Journey – Alisher Kalibekov

Alisher Kalibekov

Alisher Kalibekov

In a very diplomatic way, Zhenis Kalibekov would love to see his son, Alisher, follow in his footsteps. Zhenis is the Republic of Kazakhstan’s diplomat to China, following four years as his country’s diplomat to Russia.

Alisher enrolled this semester in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program through SDSU’s American Language Institute.

As Zhenis was recently taking part in an English interview, his son sat intently listening to all that was said. Alisher does not speak English, but he plans to perfect the language through the EAP program.

“This is a big step for my son,” Zhenis said. “He is very proud to be accepted by the American Language Institute. He’ll take English, get to a high level and choose where he will go. I want my son to help people and his country.”

The EAP program will help Alisher develop the skills needed to succeed at a U.S. university. He will most likely learn English for one year at SDSU, and then go to either Harvard or UCLA to study international law.

Alisher actually preceded his father, who is based in Beijing, by one year in China. The son studied Mandarin in China for two years before graduating in July. According to his father, Alisher studied Chinese for 13 hours daily from 8 am-9 pm.

“He was one of the best students in the school,” his father said. “In China, the rules are very tough. He knew nothing when he went to China; but he liked it. In a short time, it was necessary for him to communicate with the Chinese people.”

Why did Alisher leave China to enroll at SDSU? Bill Price, executive director of the ALI at SDSU, was the executive vice president at the now defunct OSULA Education Center when Zhenis studied there a decade ago. Zhenis remembers Price as being “the best friend of all the students when I studied in Los Angeles,” so he was only too happy to send his son to be under Price’s direction at the ALI.

“Dr. Price was always giving good suggestions and advice,” Zhenis said. “As students, we could always speak openly to Dr. Price. He gave me good direction to go to Russia as a diplomat. Now that I’m in a high position as a diplomat, I’m very proud of it and very proud of Dr. Price.”

Zhenis is also very proud of his son for coming to SDSU as a way of learning English and eventually becoming a diplomat. “Being a diplomat is very interesting,” Zhenis said. “I now have the knowledge to protect my citizens and companies in foreign countries. I tell my son to get a good education and use it in a professional field.”