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Living in Kazakhstan

The Costs of Living in Kazakhstan

kazakhstanThe costs of moving to Kazakhstan were considerably more than the general costs of living in Kazakhstan. It’s easy to live comfortably here in Astana. Though, I’m happy to have savings from my last job so that I can travel/easily escape.

Housing is covered by the library where I work, which is a relief because when I researched rental prices, they averaged about $700-800 for a modest one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t have been able to afford that on my salary, which is about half of what I made at my last job in Vancouver, Canada.

I share an apartment with another international librarian. The apartment is much nicer than I had anticipated and I have en-suite laundry for the first time in my life. The panel is entirely in Russian and I’m not used to having so many options like selecting a spin cycle, which would make the machines difficult to use even if they were in English. I rely on a Youtube video of a British child giving a tour of his aunt’s washer/dryer.

My workplace provides medical benefits for a yearly fee but I’m not sure what that actually entails. I used up all of the benefits from my last job before leaving because even if I get dental benefits here, I would be terrified to go to a dentist who doesn’t speak English.

The organization also pays for a one-way ticket to Astana if the librarian has over three years’ work experience (student jobs don’t count). Even with my 3.5 years’ experience, I still had to push to have the flight costs covered.

It’s my impression that faculty get considerably more financial perks, such as living on their own, significantly higher salary, a moving budget, and flights home over Christmas. However, the library is considered a separate organization from the university and librarians as a profession are not recognized in Central Asia in the same way that they are in western countries. There are no MLIS/MLS programs offered in the region and librarians with this degree are paid much less than they would be in North America but much more than the locals generally make. This monetary disparity is especially clear when it comes to socializing outside of work. Expats most often go out with other expats because we can afford to.

Stir Crazy in Kazakhstan: One Person's Experience, Coping with Living and Working in a Strange Environment Where Normal, Day to Day Activities Can Turn Out to Be Monumental in Their Execution
eBooks (AuthorHouse UK)
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