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Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Moving to Kazakhstan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 22, 2023

Summary: Expats and digital nomads move to Kazakhstan for its low cost of living, its diverse culture, and its growing economy. People can find a place to live in Kazakhstan by searching online for rental properties, or by asking friends and family for recommendations. The most popular cities for expats and digital nomads in Kazakhstan are Almaty, Astana, and Shymkent.

What do I need to know before moving to Kazakhstan?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Kazakhstan, they said:

"Kazakhstan is a large, diverse country with a rich cultural heritage. Expats should be aware that the official language is Kazakh, although Russian is widely spoken. It is important to research the local customs and etiquette before moving to Kazakhstan, as there are certain cultural norms that should be respected. Expats should also be aware that the cost of living in Kazakhstan is generally lower than in many other countries, although the cost of rent and utilities can be quite high in the larger cities. Additionally, expats should be aware that the climate in Kazakhstan can be extreme, with hot summers and cold winters. Finally, expats should make sure to obtain the necessary visas and permits before moving to Kazakhstan," said one expat who made the move to Kazakhstan.

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How do I find a place to live in Kazakhstan?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"One of the best ways to find a place to live in Kazakhstan is to use online resources such as websites and social media. Websites such as Expat.com, ExpatRentals.com, and RealEstate.kz are great resources for finding rental properties in Kazakhstan. Additionally, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can be used to search for rental properties in Kazakhstan. Additionally, it is possible to find a place to live in Kazakhstan by asking around in the local community. Many people in Kazakhstan are willing to help expats find a place to live, and it is possible to find a place to live through word of mouth," said one expat in Kazakhstan.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Kazakhstan?

"Expat homes and apartments in Kazakhstan tend to be modern and comfortable, with many featuring modern amenities such as air conditioning, high-speed internet, and satellite television. Expats often choose to live in larger cities such as Almaty and Astana, where they can find a wide range of housing options, from luxury apartments to more affordable options. Expats can also find furnished apartments, which are often equipped with basic furniture and appliances. Many expats also choose to live in gated communities, which offer a greater sense of security and privacy," said one expat in Kazakhstan.

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What is the average cost of housing in Kazakhstan?

If you are thinking about moving to Kazakhstan, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Kazakhstan varies depending on the location and type of property. Generally, the cost of renting an apartment in Kazakhstan is relatively affordable compared to other countries in the region. Prices for apartments in the capital city of Astana and Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, tend to be higher than in other parts of the country. However, there are still many affordable options available for those looking to rent or buy a home in Kazakhstan," replied a member in Kazakhstan.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Kazakhstan?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Kazakhstan, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"Buying a home in Kazakhstan can be a great investment, as the country is experiencing strong economic growth and real estate prices are on the rise. However, it is important to consider the cost of living in the area and the availability of financing before making a decision. Renting a home in Kazakhstan can be a more affordable option, as it allows you to enjoy the benefits of living in the country without the long-term commitment of buying a home. Additionally, renting can provide more flexibility if you are unsure of how long you will be staying in the country. Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent a home in Kazakhstan should be based on your individual needs and financial situation," remarked one expat who made the move to Kazakhstan.

"It depends on your financial situation, lifestyle preferences, and long-term plans. Buying a home in Kazakhstan typically involves a long-term commitment, so if you are unsure of how long you plan to stay in the country or if you think you may move relatively soon, it may be more cost-effective to rent a home instead. Renting is usually the cheapest and simplest option, as you don't need to worry about the upkeep of a property, making mortgage payments, or dealing with any of the other ongoing financial burdens that come with homeownership, such as maintenance and property taxes. However, if you are willing and able to commit to staying in the same area for a number of years, buying could be the most cost-effective way to go in the long run. If you do decide to buy, be sure to research the market and neighborhoods, as well as compare property prices and mortgage terms, in order to find the best deal," explained one expat living in Kazakhstan.

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What should I pack when moving to Kazakhstan?

We asked people living in Kazakhstan to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"When moving to Kazakhstan, it is important to pack items that will help you adjust to the climate and culture. Pack warm clothing such as sweaters, coats, and hats for the cold winter months. Bring comfortable shoes for walking and exploring the country. Pack items that will help you stay connected to your home country, such as a laptop, phone, and any necessary chargers. Bring any necessary medications and toiletries. It is also important to bring a valid passport and any other necessary documents. Finally, bring a few items that will help you feel at home, such as photos, books, and music," remarked one expat in Kazakhstan.

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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Kazakhstan?

We asked people in Kazakhstan if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"It is important to be aware of cultural differences when visiting Kazakhstan. It is important to be respectful of local customs and traditions, and to dress modestly. Avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics, religion, and the Soviet Union. It is also important to avoid making negative comments about Kazakhstan or its people. Additionally, it is important to avoid touching someone without their permission, and to avoid public displays of affection. Finally, it is important to be aware of the local etiquette when it comes to dining, such as waiting to be invited to eat before starting, and not leaving food on your plate," replied a member in Kazakhstan.

"I think my humorous blunders are usually related to me using charades in my endevours to communicate. For instance, asking for chicken breast fillets and leather bags can be embarrassing to say the least," commented one expat who made the move to Semey.

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Why do people move to Kazakhstan?

When we asked people why foreigners move to Kazakhstan, they responded:

"Kazakhstan offers expats a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional culture. The country is known for its diverse landscapes, from the snow-capped mountains of the Tian Shan range to the vast steppes of the Kazakh plains. Expats will find a wide range of activities to enjoy, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and horseback riding in the summer. The country also boasts a vibrant nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore. Additionally, Kazakhstan has a low cost of living, making it an attractive destination for expats looking to stretch their budget," said one expat.

"Foreigners move to Almaty for careers in banking, commerce, oil, and education. The breathtaking mountains and easy access to nature, along with four glorious seasons and many Western conveniences, cultural events, and green spaces make it an ideal city for families," said one expat living in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

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How are healthcare services Kazakhstan?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Kazakhstan, they replied:

"Kazakhstan offers a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, specialist care, hospital care, and preventive care. The public healthcare system in Kazakhstan is funded by the government and is available to all citizens. The quality of public healthcare in Kazakhstan is generally good, with modern facilities and well-trained medical staff. Foreign residents in Kazakhstan have access to the public healthcare system, although they may need to pay for some services. Expats in Kazakhstan can use the public healthcare system, but they may need to pay for some services. In addition, many expats opt to purchase private health insurance to cover any additional costs," wrote one expat living in Kazakhstan.

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What are medical services in Kazakhstan like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Kazakhstan, they replied:

"Kazakhstan has a well-developed healthcare system, providing a wide range of medical services to its citizens. The country has a network of hospitals, clinics, and medical centers that offer a variety of services, including primary care, specialized care, and emergency services. The government also provides free or subsidized medical services to those in need. In addition, Kazakhstan has a number of private medical facilities that offer high-quality medical care. The country also has a number of medical universities and research centers that are dedicated to advancing medical knowledge and technology," said one expat living in Kazakhstan.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan

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