The trip started with a reception held by the representative of the Austrian economy, MMag. Winkler, who gave an enlightening overview of the economic situation and the potential of the country. In a cozy environment, the group found out that the ninth-biggest country in the world, where both Kazakh, as well as Russian are spoken, generates its income primarily from energy.
Friday was marked by sightseeing: apart from sights in the old and new city, the focus was on exciting real estate projects, both already implemented projects and projects currently in development. This is particularly thanks to an unusual event that was initially greeted with political skepticism: in 1997, the capital was moved from the city Almaty, which faced natural boundaries to growth due to the surrounding mountains, to Astana. Ever since, the city has been experiencing enormous growth, which is visible by many buildings from famous architects (e.g. by Norman Foster). In the course of the city tour, the group had the chance to visit the construction site of the Abu Dhabi Plaza. In an exclusive tour around the site, participants found out that the construction industry in Kazakhstan has to suffer from challenging climate conditions: not only does the temperature range between -40 and +40 degrees, but the industry also has to deal with around 300 days of wind per year.
The topic wind was also prominently represented at the EXPO Astana 2017, which our group took a trip to on Saturday: the world exhibition 2017 revolved around the topic “Future Energy”. Apart from interesting talks about current local challenges in the area of Energy and Building, several countries presented their approach to energy of the future. As one of them, Austria showed the use of body strength for energy generation – as such, our participants were able to set a TV screen in motion simply by using a regular bike.
The trip to such an extraordinary country, which is rarely covered in our media, was an enriching experience for all participants – and the planning process for the next study trip has already started!