Guide to TEFL in Kazakhstan
Nowadays, teaching English in Kazakhstan is a completely different story if we compare the one we had a few decades ago. Young people tend to master their soft skills and gain diverse knowledge to succeed in the modern world with open borders in terms of business, tourism, and international relationships. There are more people now in Kazakhstan who are willing to learn foreign languages, and not only among the young generation. International financial institutions, as well as oil companies, do their business in the country.
The hiring process, from the vacancy being uploaded on a job-hunting website, and during the onboarding process, is often in English. As a result, there are a lot of language schools and courses in Kazakhstan that demand teachers with accredited certificates.
How much can I make teaching English in Kazakhstan?
Language schools and courses can be found in any city, like Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Aktau, Karaganda and other financial or industrial centres. The average monthly salary is 350-400 GBP but you can earn up 1,300 GBP, depending on your qualifications and experience.
Teachers constantly developing get salary increases on a scheduled basis. For instance, those who have the qualification “Teacher-Master” get at least a 70% salary increase. Salaries are paid on a monthly basis. It is common for international teacher contracts to include many hours per week to make teaching in Kazakhstan profitable.
Language schools in Kazakhstan usually offer international teachers help with visa applications, airfare cover, free shared accommodation as part of a contract, and health insurance.
If you enjoy teaching English and sharing knowledge, you will one hundred percent have admiring and thankful students.
What are the requirements to teach English in Kazakhstan?
A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is required, as well as experience of not less than two years. Your degree should be in a subject you want to teach. An Accredited CELTA / TESOL certificate, or IELTS / TOEFL if you are not a native speaker, is often required, depending on the language school. English teachers in primary or secondary state schools might not have these certificates.
When is the best time of year to look for teaching jobs in Kazakhstan?
You can apply any time. However, July – August would be the best time to start job hunting for English teaching jobs. By September, most hours are already allocated, and your salary is based on hours per week.
Where are the most jobs teaching English in Kazakhstan
As mentioned above, English teachers are in high demand in big cities: Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Karaganda, Pavlodar. In smaller cities there is a demand as well, but not that high, with lower earnings. English teachers can obtain jobs in private or public schools, a lyceum, a gymnasium, or a university. In private schools, offering their classes to people of different ages, salaries are way higher, with more benefits as well. You can find a list of schools in Kazakhstan here.
You should also remember that apart from, or instead of, working in a school, many teachers provide English classes privately. In such circumstances your client can be a student who needs to pass exams to enter university, or an adult pursuing career progression, or even those whose family members live abroad.
Your choice depends on your personality and the time you are willing to spend on the job. But you should definitely leave some room to get acquainted with Kazakh culture and traditions, and enjoy beshbarmak, a national dish consisting of boiled horse meat, shourpa with large noodles, potato, and onions, and baursaks, a national dish made from spherical or triangular pieces of dough and fried in oil, and other delicious food.
What’s the best way to find teaching work in Kazakhstan
Needless to say, most schools will interview you in advance by Skype or phone, but some will require in-person interviews. And, of course, word of mouth still has its power. But to avail it you should start making friends! Another useful link here is Expat Centre.
What are the visa requirements to teach English in Kazakhstan?
All visitors to Kazakhstan are required to have passports with validity of more than 3 months from the visa expiration date. The passport must contain at least 2 blank pages intended for visa and stamps. An invitation letter should be obtained from your employer.
As mentioned above, most employers will help with visa applications. Immigration regulations are liable to change on short notice. Therefore, prospective teachers are advised to check the current situation before departure through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Kazakhstan.
What is the cost of living in Kazakhstan?
The key drivers of the country’s economy are ore, manganese, chromite, lead, and zinc among others. Agriculture is essential, accounting for 5%, industry 35%, and service 60%. The country also produces and exports oil and gas in hundreds of thousands of metric tons. However, a few years ago, the local currency (tenge) took a massive dip against the dollar and prices soared. The situation remains unpredictable. Therefore, it is important for expat English teachers to make sure they are up to date with Kazakhstan’s current economic situation.
Prices vary across Kazakhstan, but here is a guide:
Accommodation cost in Nur-Sultan:
One-bedroom apartment in city centre – KZT 140,000
One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre – KZT 90,000
Public Transport fare varies slightly from city to city:
City centre bus/train fare in Nur-Sultan – KZT 80
Taxi rate per kilometre – KZT 120
Milk (1 litre) – KZT 330
Eggs (12) – KZT 430
Loaf of white bread – KZT 100
Rice (1 kg) – KZT 250
500 gr of boneless chicken breast – KZT 631
500 gr of local cheese – KZT 1,086
1 kg of apples – KZT 524
1 kg of potatoes – KZT 127
0.5 l domestic beer in the supermarket – KZT 299
2 litres of Coca-Cola – KZT 437
1 packet of cigarettes – KZT 350
Going out (these prices can also vary depending on the city and district)
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac meal or similar) – KZT 1,730
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district – KZT 2,239
Basic dinner out for two in a neighbourhood pub – KZT 7,260
2 tickets to the movies – KZT 2,743
2 tickets to the theatre (best available seats) – KZT 10,553