Archive for December 19, 2010

Expats’ Impressions of Living in Kazakhstan (Part II)

An online questionnaire sent to about 50 of my expat friends this past month yielded some good responses about their impressions of Kazakhstan.  From 27 responses, I found out what is the most common question asked of them by Kazakhs, are the following:

59% Where are you from?

22% Why are you here?

4% Do you have children?

14% other comments (of those the follow up question was usually “Do you like it here?” OR “Which is better the U.S. or Kazakhstan?” How does one answer THAT question? You see, most of my friends are obviously American)

But first the results of these people when queried “Why are you here in Kazakhstan?” 38% said place of employment, 11% exotic place to live and seek adventure 5% spouse is Kazakh 3% know Russian, 5% interest in this part of Central Asia, 32% spouse has job in KZ. Another question asked was “What is the most onerous thing about living in Kazakhstan?”

In yesterday’s blog I put the extra comments for Question #6.  I asked in a matrix format the following eight questions about what *I* thought was troublesome about living in Kazakhstan:

1. disparity of income in cities of KZ compared to the rural areas

30% very true

37% somewhat true

33% neutral

2. old Soviet era methods of doing things

33% very true

41% somewhat true

26% neutral

3. politics in this new “democracy” with residual nepotism

37% very true

33% somewhat true

30% neutral

4. traffic gridlock and cars getting too close to pedestrians

19% very true

22% somewhat true

52% neutral

7% not true at all

5. air pollution or cold weather or both

15% very true

30% somewhat true

30% neutral

26% not true at all

6. police and their wand wave for trumped up fines to drivers

26% very true

26% somewhat true

41% neutral

7% not true at all

7. laws that are too complex to understand about visas and work permits

30% very true

15% somewhat true

52% neutral

4% absolutely false

8. feeling cheated or feeling like you are not wanted in Kazakhstan

7% very true

7% somewhat true

44% neutral

15% not true at all

26% absolutely false

The last question is somewhat surprising in its being so emphatic about being 41% FALSE!!!  The feeling *I* have is that I am definitely needed as an expat with my expertise of teaching English and infoliteracy to Kazakh student but I am not wanted simultaneously.  Very difficult tightrope to walk, challenging conundrum to be in.

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