posted Holiday Events & Expat Gatherings in Kazakhstan
on the Kazakhstan forum on December 04, 2013:
replied to the thread NIS Uralsk, Kazakhstan
on the Kazakhstan forum on December 02, 2013:
I am about to take up a position in Uralsk for NIS, I saw a post earlier on this forum about the contracts. Can anyone advise me if this is a wise choice that I am making
I am very happy here and have no regrets. I suspect that it is not for everyone though.
replied to the thread New in Aktau
on the Kazakhstan forum:
I am new in Aktau. Would be nice to have a pint somewhere if there is anyone else on this site in Aktau.
My family and I have lived in Atkau for 2 years now. There is a small but strong expat community. I am currently away from Aktau but should be returning soon. If you message me we can exchange some information and I can maybe set you up to meet my husband (he is in Aktau right now). Did you move with a family (spouse/children) or are you a single expat? Lifestyle tends to be a bit different if you have a family, but there is a strong group of singles in Aktau as well.
I just arrived in this city 3 days ago, and probably have to work and live here for quite a while. It will be great to know some newcomer s as me.
replied to the thread Men's Winter Footwear/Outerwear
on the Kazakhstan forum:
My wife and I will be arriving in Astana, Kazakhstan for the first time on December 1 and would like to do so prepared for the winter climate while respecting local dress norms.
Can someone give me winter footwear recommendations for business and casual dress? Do people change from outdoor boots to more formal footwear upon arrival at the office or wear shoes/boots suitable for both indoor and outdoor?
What do men wear over business suits in the winter? Is a hooded overcoat recommended or will some type of separate winter hat suffice?
Any other suggestions?
replied most recently with:
Hi! Welcome to Kazakhstan!
It is very wise of you to get prepared to the winter. Cause it is very freezing!
As I'm a wife of my business man I can tell how usually he goes outside when going to office. In December it is always very windy. So, yes you will need hooded overcoat and really thick! Wind and water protected, please!
Boots must be very protected! My husband wears Timberland's boots, they are very warm and protected. But of course they are mostly for casual wear. Regarding office wear, usually it's leather boots with fleece. And he has normal shoes to change in the office. I don't know if it is a habit in every office. Thermo underwear will be perfect too:)
Head have to be covered. If you'd like you can buy a fur hat in stores of Astana. There are pretty good variety of them.
This is what I know and would recommend for sure!
Good luck with preparations!
replied to the thread Travelling to Uralsk (Oral)
on the Kazakhstan forum:
Does anyone know the best route to Uralsk from the UK. The flights seem to be cheaper to Almaty than Astana though Astana is closer. There only seems to be two airlines offering flights to Uralsk, one of which has had a recent crash in January. I understand that the runway is under reconstruction at Uralsk airport. Is it better to take the train? What are the travel times from Almaty/Astana to Uralsk by the fastest trains?
Any advice/shared experiences appreciated.
Thank you for the information. I should be on my way to your hometown this time next week!
I will try and book a flight with Bek Air
My name's Albina. Uralsk is my hometown, but now i live in Astana.
There are 2 airlines flying from astana or almaty to uralsk: SCAT (their Challenger crashed almost a year ago), and Bek Air. Air astana refused to fly there because of the airport conditions.
Flights are regular, almost every day. I think it won't be a problem to get a ticket on arrival to astana or almaty. Round ticket astana-uralsk-astana costs around $350.
Going there by train is too long - 36 hours :-D. Not a good idea. Round ticked costs nearly $150.
If any more questions, you are welcome!
replied to the thread Teaching?
on the Kazakhstan forum:
Can't make up my mind whether to take up the offer and work in the capital teaching at one of the schools for the elite of khazakhstan! Do I need the hassle? I seem to read so many more negative comments than positive ones about contract problems and payment problems and sub standard housing.
I lived in Almaty, Kazakhstan for four years between 1995 and 1997, between 2007 and 2008, and between 2009 and 2010. Almaty and Astana are different cities, and Kazakhstan can have regional differences.
You said you did not want hassles and headaches. Then forget about Kazakhstan because that is what you will get.
Most people live in apartments. The common apartment is a large common room that serves as the bedroom and living room. However, the new apartments can have one bedroom, sometimes two. The apartments can be nice depending how much you want to spend.
Kazakh government is a bureaucratic nightmare. Before 2008, I went to the immigration police and applied for a visa extension. It was a piece of cake because my ex-wife and kids live in Almaty. After 2008, the immigration police made every a hassle. The immigration police fined me $200 because I put my in-laws address down on the registration but lived somewhere else.
First, you need a business visa to enter Kazakhstan. Then you go to a clinic within three days, and a nurse checks whether you are hiv negative. Then you turn in the hiv certificate into the Internal Police and apply for a registration form. Do not lose this certificate. Also, do not lose your immigration card that an inspector staples in your passport. You must present your visa in the passport, immigration form, and police registration certificate to immigration to leave Kazakhstan.
Second, your school should apply for a labor permit. The process is long and bureaucrat and can take over a year. The equivalent of a state governor must sign it. I never applied for a labor permit. Usually, a Kazakh embassy will issue new business visas several times without the labor permit. It does become an issue and an embassy will deny a business visa with one.
Third, you may need a bank account, but some schools pay in cash. You go to a bank to get a letter, saying the bank will give you an account. Then you take the letter to the Tax Authority to apply for a taxpayer ID number. The bureaucrats may not be helpful, and my ex and I had to argue with one to get the number. Then you return to the bank to set up an account.
Fourth, if you want to be legal, you sign a lease with a landlord. A notary prepares the documents and may demand various documents. Then you register the lease with a government agency and pay taxes on it. I never did this.
In my case, my ex is Kazakh, and she could fight the bureaucrats.
When I returned to Kazakhstan the last time, I refused to work for an organization that Kazaks managed. They mismanage the organizations, and they always have cash flow problems. Thus, they never pay the workers on time. Furthermore, the managers do not like to sign contracts. Thus, negotiations about salary, benefits, etc become a continuous process. Anyway, contracts do not mean anything. As you guessed, managers find ways to reduce what they pay the workers. My last employer in Kazakhstan was a Turkish university, and I would work for them again.
You want to teach the elite of Kazakhstan. I found 1/3 of my students were brilliant and a joy to teach. However, 1/3 of my students were a nightmare. They came to class late, talked in class, never studied, tried cheating on the exams, etc. I wanted to grab their necks and choked them to death. I saw the same thing in Bosnia. I think after the Soviet Union had collapsed, many parents didn't discipline their kids. They wanted their kids to enjoy freedom with no discipline or manners.
Would you like me to continue? I can write a book about my adventures there.