Afghanistan, which is officially known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked and mountainous country slightly smaller than the U.S. State of Texas. Afghanistan is usually designated as being located in Central Asia, but also part of South Asia and has a population of 32,564,342 (2015 est). Kabul, the capital and largest city of Afghanistan at 4,635,000, is located in the Kabul Province.
Afghanistan's climate is classified as arid to semi-arid, meaning there is relatively little rainfall and hot summers. Winters can be cold, particularly in the higher elevations of the mountainous regions.
Although over 99% of the Afghan population practices Islam, there are different sects with different ideologies and traditions. Relationships between members of different religious sects are often distant and tense and sometimes result in violence.
Afghanistan transportation is generally limited and in development stage after years of neglect due to war. The country has four international airports but no passenger rail. Road infrastructure is lacking outside of major urban areas. Many Afghans are not able to afford motor vehicles and rely on bicycles and motorbikes in urban areas.
Afghanistan’s education system was decimated due to war over the last several decades. Since 2002 however, the Afghan government, with the help of foreign donors, has built over 13,000 schools and recruited over 100,000 teachers. At that point, there were roughly 900,000 male students enrolled in schools with women and girls being almost completely excluded. Today, there are more than 8 million students enrolled in school, including over 2.5 women and girls.
The official languages in Afghanistan are Dhari and Pashto. Although exact numbers are difficult to track, the Afghan Constitution recognizes 14 ethnic groups; Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, and Pashai.
Health and Safety
The economy in Afghanistan is severely underdeveloped due to the effects of several decades marked by armed conflict. In recent years however, the economy has started to slowly rebound on the strength of foreign investments and agricultural production. Despite the recent growth, much of the population still suffers from shortages of housing, potable water, working electricity, access to healthcare, and jobs. Furthermore, the relatively new government founded after 2004 has struggled to establish a lasting peace, rule of law, and infrastructure to war-torn portions of the country. In addition to its internal issues, Afghanistan has ongoing border disputes with Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. Developing relationships of mutual understanding with their neighbors will be crucial to the Afghanistan’s recovery and stability.
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship
Diversity Network Summer Scholarship
Diversity Abroad & CISI Planning Scholarship
For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in Afghanistan
If you have studied abroad in Afghanistan, consider creating a profile and sharing your experience. What you have to say could help inspire another student considering studying abroad. You can also submit an article to be considered for publication on our website. Contact us at email@example.com for more information!
Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in Afghanistan.
Islamic culture in Afghanistan is still very traditional and often patriarchal in regards to its treatment of women. Western and non-Muslim women should familiarize themselves with customs and be prepared to dress more conservatively. Also, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning and advises against travel to Afghanistan due to persistent unrest and political violence.
The Kabul Museum was once considered one of the greatest museums in the world. Its exhibits, ranging from Hellenistic gold coins to Buddhist statuary and Islamic bronzes, represent Afghanistan’s rich history and are a testament to its location at the trade and cultural crossroads of Asia.
Despite its recent conflicts, Afghanistan is rich in culture and history. Also with the recent changes and advances made in education, now is an opportune time for students to immerse themselves in the culture and languages of the region.
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