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Teaching?

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pokeintheeye
9/23/2013 15:24 EST

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.

TravellingProf
9/23/2013 19:37 EST

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.

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