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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in Kyrgyzstan
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Pros and Cons of Living in Kyrgyzstan

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: If you're moving to Kyrgyzstan, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in Kyrgyzstan.

Are you considering a move to the heart of Central Asia? Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked country known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for expats. But like any country, living in Kyrgyzstan comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Let's delve into the pros and cons of making this fascinating country your new home.

Pros of Living in Kyrgyzstan

One of the most significant advantages of living in Kyrgyzstan is the cost of living. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of housing, food, transportation, and healthcare is significantly lower. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Bishkek, the capital, can be rented for as little as $300 per month. Dining out is also affordable, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around $3.

Another major draw for expats is the country's natural beauty. Kyrgyzstan is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, including the Tian Shan mountains, Lake Issyk-Kul, and the vast, rolling steppes. These natural wonders provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and skiing.

Kyrgyzstan's rich history and culture are also a major attraction. The country has a diverse mix of ethnic groups, each with its own unique traditions and customs. The Kyrgyz people are known for their hospitality and are often eager to share their culture with foreigners. This can be seen in the vibrant festivals, traditional music and dance performances, and the delicious local cuisine.

Despite being a developing country, Kyrgyzstan has a relatively good infrastructure, especially in the larger cities. Internet access is widely available and reliable, and the public transportation system is efficient and inexpensive. The country also has a growing number of international schools, making it a viable option for families with children.

Finally, Kyrgyzstan is strategically located in Central Asia, making it a great base for exploring the region. Neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are easily accessible, offering even more opportunities for cultural exploration and adventure.

Cons of Living in Kyrgyzstan

While there are many advantages to living in Kyrgyzstan, there are also some challenges that potential expats should be aware of. One of the main issues is the language barrier. While Russian and Kyrgyz are the official languages, English is not widely spoken outside of the major cities and among the younger generation. This can make everyday tasks such as shopping, navigating public transportation, and communicating with locals difficult.

Another challenge is the healthcare system. While healthcare in Kyrgyzstan is affordable, the quality of care can vary greatly, especially outside of the major cities. Many expats choose to have private health insurance and opt for private clinics or hospitals, which offer a higher standard of care but at a higher cost.

While Kyrgyzstan is generally safe, crime can be an issue, particularly in larger cities. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is common, and there have been reports of more serious crimes such as muggings and burglaries. It's important to take precautions such as avoiding walking alone at night, keeping valuables out of sight, and being aware of your surroundings.

The job market in Kyrgyzstan can also be challenging for expats. While there are opportunities in sectors such as education, NGOs, and tourism, these jobs can be competitive and often require specific skills or qualifications. Additionally, salaries are generally lower than in Western countries.

Lastly, adjusting to the local culture and way of life can take time. While the Kyrgyz people are generally welcoming and friendly, cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings or culture shock. It's important to take the time to learn about the local customs and traditions, and to be respectful of the local way of life.

Despite these challenges, many expats find that the benefits of living in Kyrgyzstan far outweigh the drawbacks. The low cost of living, stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and friendly locals make it a unique and rewarding place to live. However, it's important to do your research and be prepared for the challenges that come with living in a foreign country.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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