Though less famous than it’s notorious neighbor Kazakhstan (you can thank Borat for that one), Kyrgyzstan is similarly landlocked yet beautiful nation, emerging from the control of Soviet Russia and trying to break its way into the Western world. With mountains taking up three quarters of the land, Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country, ripe for adventures and activity!
The country has faced some inner turmoil since gaining independence from Russia in 1991. However, things have settled in the last couple of years, and has allowed the nation to start building itself as a tourist destination (and given those gorgeous mountains, it shouldn’t be too difficult).
These are the highest paying jobs, earning you about $2,000 a month. They also have the longest hours, though, which explains the higher pay. The typical school day is from 8am to 4pm on weekdays, plus any preparation time. International schools generally serve expatriate families.
Private Language Academies/Schools:
Language schools are often supplementary studies for either students or adults. Classes are generally held on the weekends or during the evenings on weekdays. Pay is less than in international schools, earning you around $800 - $1,300 per month, but the hours are not as long.
There are some wealthy families who will hire tutors for their children, or adults who want to improve their English skills. This gives you an opportunity to make a little extra money besides your day job. Pay isn’t all that high, though -- only about $5 per hour, more or less.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Most of the job opportunities are in the capital, Bishkek. Outside of this city, it becomes much harder to find jobs. The school year for international schools runs from September to May, so hiring is highest in summer before the new school year, but can occur year round. Language centers also hire year round.
Many schools will require that you have previous ESL teaching experience, a Bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certification or equivalent, or some combination of these requirements. Because it can vary, you should check on a case-by-case basis with the organizations you are looking to work with.
Salary & Cost of Living:
A one bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $330 a month, while a 3 bedroom is closer to $650. Utilities and cable are a hefty $160 per month, but a monthly transportation card is only $6. Food will total about $100 each month. Some programs will provide you with housing, in which case you can expect your expenses to be considerably less.
Classroom & Work Culture:
- Student/Teacher Relations: Since gaining independence, the schooling system has been evolving into a student-centered type of teaching (as opposed to more of a lecture/ teacher-is-the-expert mentality). As such, the classroom is still changing from a highly disciplined environment to one in which the student has more power and freedom.
- Dress Code: Western clothing is generally accepted in Kyrgyzstan, but modesty in dress is still an important factor, particularly when around the religious communities.
- Greetings: Some people shake right hands and place their left hand over their hearts or leaning into each other while shaking hands.