Case study South African in kazakhstan

South African Educator in Kazakhstan

Subject and level: International trainer consultant
Citizenship: South Africa

In what country are you teaching now and was it what you expected? 

I am based in Astana, capital city of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Prior to my application for this position all I knew was that Kazakhstan was somewhere in central Asia! The Edvectus YouTube videos on Kazakhstan were extremely helpful and this lead me on other YouTube videos on life in Astana – all of which showed an astonishingly modern city. I was not disappointed.  My work is so varied and changes daily – flexibility was a job requirement and certainly has proved necessary! Although my focus is in Astana, I am required to travel around this vast country (the size of western Europe) to speak to groups of teachers, principals and other educators – all of whom are eager to learn and are very appreciative of what I do. It is both satisfying and humbling.

Why did you decide to teach abroad? 

There were many reasons:  First, the advertisement was for working with teacher development in a country that was revising its education system – my primary interest and skill. Second, I have travelled widely and lived and worked in Southern Africa and North America – and I felt up to the challenge of working in, and contributing to,  a more remote part of the world.

How did Edvectus help you find your job? 

It was quite simple: I responded to an online advertisement in a Cape Town and within 24 hours had a telephonic interview with Diane. Within two days a Skype interview was arranged with Center of Excellence, the Kazakh employer. Having been well prepared by Diane on the type of questions to expect, the interview was more like a conversation  between two educators. Prior to my departure from Cape Town I receiuved a number of supportive emails from Edvectus concerning my contract and work visa.

Did you find the Learning Portal videos and documents helpful?

These were all exceptionally helpful in preparing me for Kazakhstan.

What advice do you have for teachers going abroad for the first time? 

Don’t have fixed ideas. Look for the positives in the new country and do not be too critical of the apparent negatives. In time most things make sense. Flexibility, tolerance of the unanticipated and an enthusiasm to try new things are essential for job satisfaction – and for your own mental health!  

Don’t expect everyone to understand English – the world is not anglo-centric! However, when you show the right attitude you will be amazed at how helpful people really want to be.

English literature (in hard-copy form) is almost non-existent in Kazakhstan. Know what newspapers you trust and subscribe to them. Also, a kindle is very helpful for reading over the weekends.