Archive for December 21, 2010

Expats’ Impressions Living in Kazakhstan (Part IV)

The last three days I’ve been putting up survey results of what I found out from friends and acquaintances concerning their living in Kazakhstan.  The good and the bad really, this is normal life in this world full of wars and rumors of wars.  Problems abound everywhere but for expats living in Kazakhstan, you have to be somewhat seasoned to even consider coming to this huge Central Asian country of Kazakhstan.  Many expats I know have lived in other places and have survived. Thus, it is very uncommon or rare for someone to show up in Astana, Kazakhstan without having successfully navigated another culture besides their own.

An American recently visiting Astana for a week said that I was “brave” to be here in Astana.  Kazakhstan is a peace-loving country. I guess I don’t feel brave because I know so many other people who are doing the exact same thing as me, my husband and I actually enjoy the challenges.  We are in this bumpy ride together which helps.  Since we met in Almaty, Kazakhstan back in 1993, this country feels like home to us…almost.

A few other comments and answers to my queries on Web Survey Master:

Q#8 Kazakh people are known for their generosity, peacefulness and hospitality. T or F

85% true and 15% other

1)I find this true in many Kazakhs, but not all. I think this is a true statement for many cultures and socities around the world. If Kazakhstan could improve in one major way it would be hospitality.

2) I love the Kazakh culture and the people…….it’s home now

3) There are all sorts of people in each country; some are generous, peaceful and hospitable and some might not be.

4) The Kazakh people I have met are all very friendly. I think there is a long history of Kazakhs being friendly and welcoming, and I was especially impressed when I read about the Kazakhs who helped the victims of Stalin’s gulag survive when they were thrown out of the trains from Russia inadequately clothed and without food.

5) The guide books say they are and perhaps they once all were but now some new elite not so

6) Although it can sometimes be hard to make deeper friendships (partly due to the language barrier). At first, most Kazakhs are not that open, but fortunately there are always exceptions to the rule

9. Kazakh people are known for their hypersensitivity and holding grudges. T or F

7% true

37% false

56% 0ther (most didn’t know about this at all so may be more false than true and not to be considered a Kazakh trait)

1) A good person’s anger dries off like a silk scarf.

2) I think Uighers are more this way.

3) People from relatively newly established countries tend to be more sensitive on the issues related to both – their history and their national identity/pride

4) Some seem to have too much pride inside but will not display it, specially to strangers; but show it among relatives.

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