Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Anyone been to Bishkek?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Russia & C.I.S.
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
naughtybynature



Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Georgia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Anyone been to Bishkek? Reply with quote

I was wondering whether anyone has spent a significant amount of time there?

I've just completed a year in Georgia and enjoyed it so am looking at exploring Central Asia now. I have a CELTA and am considering a few locations one of which is Bishkek.

I am not a Russian speaker but would be going there to learn Russian in addition to teaching. Is it a good place to learn?

Is there much of an expat crowd in Bishkek? Are there many English speaking Kyrgyz in the capital? I was fortunate enough in Tbilisi to have an English speaking Georgian crowd which helped make my experience memorable so would be looking for more of the same.

If you have been then did you enjoy yourself?

I am currently choosing between Kyrgyzstan, Thailand and South Korea so any answers to the above will be very much appreciated.

Thanks



Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
White ice



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

can you recommend a company in Georgia to work for?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
naughtybynature



Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Georgia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TLG is the one almost everyone applies form The contracts can be as little as 3 months depending on when you apply.They pay for your flights and sort out your accommodation for a small fee (100 gel) with a host family.

They pay 500 gel overall which is enough to live on there. They pay 500 gel regardless of where you are placed so if you lived in a remote village as I did for my first term then day to day living can be nothing at times. Its travelling on the weekends which is where your money will go if you decide to do that.

They also provide you a corporate phone which allows you to call any other TLG employee free of charge which was a godsend.

The job role itself is one of co-teacher and your experience can vary depending on the teacherss you have to work with. A lot here is luck of the draw regarding host family and co-teachers.

Private work is easy to come by too. My friend lived in Vakhe which is one of the posh parts of Tbilisi and found a lot of private work.

There is an IH and there are colleges around that take teachers. I would recommend TLG as there are obvious benefits. If you want additional work then ask around. Its not tough to find.

Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
White ice



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information! Very useful.

I am intrigued by this TLG program and attracted by the fact it is government run and that you work in a typical Georgian school and not a Language School that just wants to make money.

Do you pay the host family 100 gel per month or is that a one off payment?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

White ice wrote:
Thanks for the information! Very useful.

I am intrigued by this TLG program and attracted by the fact it is government run and that you work in a typical Georgian school and not a Language School that just wants to make money.

Do you pay the host family 100 gel per month or is that a one off payment?


Be ware that due to Parliment recently changing over to a different political alliance, the future of TLG is currently unknown. I'll give you this one bit of advice: people who are due a round trip winter vacation flight have currently been told that their flights are currently on hold until the future of TLG is established under the incoming Parliment.

You pay the 100 Lari each month.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lancer



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:32 am    Post subject: Life in Bishkek Reply with quote

I spent a year in Bishkek a few years back and loved it. I have gone back there 4 more times since for holiday visits. Lots of foreigners there working for NGOs or contractors from US military base at Manas Airport. But local Kyrgyz and Russians are more fun to hang out with. Great place to learn Russian as well. Central Asia, like Siberia, claims to have a purer dialect of Russian than European Russia... a result of Soviets forcibly sending all the intelectuals there in the last century. Classes are less expensive here as well.

Bishkek center has a good cosmopolitan feel to it. Lots of Turkish supermarkets and shops. Nice parks and fountains and such. Some good places to go bowling or do salsa dancing or eat Chinese or Turkish food if you get tired of local cuisine (although I never did since Central Asian food is awesome!). Pretty good pubs and night life (both expat and local).

But cost of flat in city center is usually pretty high ($400 - $500 a month). Living in suburbs is much cheaper ($150 - $250), but riding the little microbuses is uncomfortable and annoying (and unhealthy when crushed in there with people coughing on you). Also there are frequent blackouts in the suburbs. And as always be careful at night in Bishkek. Lots of muggings of foreigners by drunken gangs. Go in groups and spend the $2 on a taxi instead of walking home drunk at 3am and you will be fine.

I love Bishkek and can't wait to go back to visit again. I always meet other foreigners there who left and keep coming back. Go for a visit if you can, you can just show up at the airport and get a tourist visa on the spot. Good luck.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
NateTheGreat



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Lancer
What school did you work for?
What are the better schools in the area?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lancer



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:25 am    Post subject: schools in Bishkek Reply with quote

I haven't been in Bishkek in a couple years, so not sure if everything is the same. But the first time I worked in Bishkek (2006-07), I was an Asst Professor of Academic English at American University of Central Asia, which was a great job. Nice, motivated students and professional colleagues. Pay was good by local standards (would have been better if I had PhD), but in the end, what little I saved up went to my return ticket home. But great experience overall. Never had a job where I was so appreciated as I was there.

When I returned to Bishkek in 2010, I went as English Language Fellow (organized by Georgetown Uni, but under the direction of the US Embassy in Bishkek). I was doing teacher training/observation then. But my base office was at a school called Lingua, which is across the street from the Hyatt hotel in Bishkek. I think they are the best. They don't advertise much in English, but all their teachers are top professionals in their field. In fact, my colleagues there worked grants by US State Dept to do EFL teacher training all over Kyrgyzstan... so that kind of lets you know how good a school they are. As for pay, I am not sure. I had a fellowship, so I was just a volunteer instructor at that time. But I think they were at least competative, and for sure they were honest and did not cheat their teachers at all (rare in that part of the world). Great students. Lots of fun. Decent schedule and lots of resources in their library.

If you like teaching kids in a regular school environment and earning a decent wage, I would suggest looking up Silk Road school or one of the other Turkish/Foreign owned schools in Bishkek. I think they pay better than universities (but with lots more workload).

Good luck.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
shaykh1985



Joined: 03 Mar 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I notice that the 'London School' are often hiring...

They offer $650-$800 a month with free accommodation provided...if that enough to get by?...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lancer



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, London School is always advertising jobs. I don't know much about them. But you can live off of $650-$800 in Bishkek even without free accomodation if you are careful with your money. But if you don't have to worry about rent, then $650 is pretty good. With $800 you should probably save some money as well. "High" speed internet, eating out at foreign restaurants, and partying take most of your money. Eat Central Asian food instead of sushi and pizza every night and you will be ok. Shop in bazaars whenever you can as well to save money (also to have a good cultural experience). Most families get by on less than $300 a month, but of course as a foreigner, you pay more than they do for most stuff.

Also, I would ask about the free accomdation. Are you living with a local family or sharing with other teachers? Also ask where the flat is located. And about utilities (are they included? what are the average costs?) And which bus or microbus route you need to take and how long it takes to get to the school. Furnished, 2 room apartments in the center rent for about $400 to $600 a month. But those in the outskirts of the city rent for half that amount. That is probably where London School has accomdations for you. Not necessarily a bad location, just takes more time to get to work and back. Most of those Soviet style apartment buildings in the burbs also have sporadic blackouts and problems with the heating and hot water... make sure your apartment has its own water heater.

Also expect those apartments to not be renovated (rusty pipes and stains and pealing wallpaper everywhere). And make sure there are good locks on the doors. As a foreigner in an apartment constantly used by a language school to house incoming teachers, you will stand out and your neighbors may be curious where this year's new foreign teachers hide their pots of gold.

So, the London school deal is good if you like the apartment, but not so good if you need to live alone somewhere else closer to the center.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
shaykh1985



Joined: 03 Mar 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply...sounds like a cool place...and if I look into it I will definitely check the accommodation situation...having lived with power cuts and no hot water before I certainly don't want that happening again...

The Russian courses especially seem very appealing...

Did you get to travel much outside of Bishkek?...would you say its a hospitable place?...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jonniboy



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 684
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to be honest but having been to Bishkek twice, it really wouldn't be for me. The city is not that big and is very Soviet, much more so than cities in Russia, the Baltic states and Kazakhstan that I've been to. The entertainment possibilities when I was there didn't seem that great and as a foreigner you will stick out far more. Good in some ways, as you will be a curio, but that also makes you a target for any thieves or other lowlifes who want to pick on you. Also the local economy (this is secondhand info) is apparently not that great, you'll be fleeced for higher prices and will not make that much.

A couple of my colleagues have worked for London school and recommend it if you do want to work there.

Plus points, the peope are very friendly there and will welcome you, just be careful on nights out.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
shaykh1985



Joined: 03 Mar 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jonniboy wrote:
Have to be honest but having been to Bishkek twice, it really wouldn't be for me. The city is not that big and is very Soviet, much more so than cities in Russia, the Baltic states and Kazakhstan that I've been to. The entertainment possibilities when I was there didn't seem that great and as a foreigner you will stick out far more. Good in some ways, as you will be a curio, but that also makes you a target for any thieves or other lowlifes who want to pick on you. Also the local economy (this is secondhand info) is apparently not that great, you'll be fleeced for higher prices and will not make that much.

A couple of my colleagues have worked for London school and recommend it if you do want to work there.

Plus points, the peope are very friendly there and will welcome you, just be careful on nights out.


Out of interest in what sense is it 'very Soviet'?...I did a year in Georgia and I'm wondering how Bishkek would say compare to Tbilisi?...

Safety wasn't much of an issue there for the most part when I was there...is safety a real concern or just something to be wary of...

Friendly is good...part of what I loved about Georgia...

If I do choose Bishkek I'll definitely look at London School...the opportunity to get discount Russian is a very good deal overall it seems...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lancer



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Jonniboy. Bishkek is much smaller than Almaty and has far fewer entertainment options. Definately very Soviet-like still (which really just means too poor to change right now). At least they got the fountains downtown working. For about a decade they were broken and the entire atmosphere was depressing. But the plus side to being smaller is that the expat community is pretty intimate (you meet the same folks everywhere you go... could be good, could be bad). Also, you can get around everywhere pretty quickly and get to know the city well. Bishkek always had a reputation of being one of the more dangerous cities in the ex-USSR. My Kazakh friends wouldn't even cross the border from Almaty to come visit me there because they were afraid. But I never had anything bad happen to me because I used the same caution I would use if I was walking around New York or London at night. But some other teachers I knew did get assaulted or mugged or their pockets picked. It happens. Alcohol is usually a main factor with either the victim or the perps being drunk... or both. Alcoholism is a really big problem there... as in all of Central Asia. Just use caution and always call for a taxi when leaving a club or bar and don't go use the gypsy cabs that are always outside the places where foreigners congregate.

Also, Bishkek is a much, much cheaper city to live in compared to Almaty or Astana. Sure there are better shopping malls and clubs in Kazakhstan, but I couldn't afford anything in them. In the end, Almaty and Bishkek are close enough you can live in one and visit the other if you are curious how the other half lives. I lived in Karaganda, KZ back in 1998 when the capital moved to Astana and the country was still poor. Earned $140 a month (plus free flat) back then and did ok. Had a great experience and really loved it there despite the poverty. Went back there two years ago and was shocked at how developed the place was. Foreigners no longer stand out and it looks more modern now. Also, my formerly poor ex-students are all now rich and love to tell you how much their clothes, watches and cars cost. Very different, new-rich atmosphere from before. But I can't really recommend one country over another,... I mean they both have really genuine, nice people and are good places to learn Russian. In Kyrgyzstan folks invite to their apartment for a home-cooked meal, in Kazakhstan you are treated to expensive an meal at a restaurant. Both are genuine gestures of hospitality that cost your hosts a lot of money.

The biggest advantage to Bishkek is cost of living. But pay is also lower. You just got to work out what you want to do and know why your are there.

As for other places to visit in Kyrgyzstan, the hotspot there is Issyk-kyl lake. You will be asked by every Krygyz you meet if you have been there yet. It's a beautiful alpine lake with lots of cabins and resorts along its beaches. Fun place to go in the summer. The water is still freezing cold, but lots of partying going on along the beaches. Good food and fun. Nice mountains to hike in as well. If you are planning a visit to Krygyzstan, pretty much all the expats agree the best travel/tourism company to use is KyrgyzConcept. They can find you temp apartments or hotels to live in and arrange tours around Issyk-kyl by hiking or horseback. Not expensive either. You can even arrange to stay in a yurt in the mountains. If you look at the Kyrgyz Concept website you will see some of the other places you can visit in Krygzstan.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Lancer



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Jonniboy. Bishkek is much smaller than Almaty and has far fewer entertainment options. Definately very Soviet-like still (which really just means too poor to change right now). At least they got the fountains downtown working. For about a decade they were broken and the entire atmosphere was depressing. But the plus side to being smaller is that the expat community is pretty intimate (you meet the same folks everywhere you go... could be good, could be bad). Also, you can get around everywhere pretty quickly and get to know the city well. Bishkek always had a reputation of being one of the more dangerous cities in the ex-USSR. My Kazakh friends wouldn't even cross the border from Almaty to come visit me there because they were afraid. But I never had anything bad happen to me because I used the same caution I would use if I was walking around New York or London at night. But some other teachers I knew did get assaulted or mugged or their pockets picked. It happens. Alcohol is usually a main factor with either the victim or the perps being drunk... or both. Alcoholism is a really big problem there... as in all of Central Asia. Just use caution and always call for a taxi when leaving a club or bar and don't go use the gypsy cabs that are always outside the places where foreigners congregate.

Also, Bishkek is a much, much cheaper city to live in compared to Almaty or Astana. Sure there are better shopping malls and clubs in Kazakhstan, but I couldn't afford anything in them. In the end, Almaty and Bishkek are close enough you can live in one and visit the other if you are curious how the other half lives. I lived in Karaganda, KZ back in 1998 when the capital moved to Astana and the country was still poor. Earned $140 a month (plus free flat) back then and did ok. Had a great experience and really loved it there despite the poverty. Went back there two years ago and was shocked at how developed the place was. Foreigners no longer stand out and it looks more modern now. Also, my formerly poor ex-students are all now rich and love to tell you how much their clothes, watches and cars cost. Very different, new-rich atmosphere from before. But I can't really recommend one country over another,... I mean they both have really genuine, nice people and are good places to learn Russian. In Kyrgyzstan folks invite to their apartment for a home-cooked meal, in Kazakhstan you are treated to expensive an meal at a restaurant. Both are genuine gestures of hospitality that cost your hosts a lot of money.

The biggest advantage to Bishkek is cost of living. But pay is also lower. You just got to work out what you want to do and know why your are there.

As for other places to visit in Kyrgyzstan, the hotspot there is Issyk-kyl lake. You will be asked by every Krygyz you meet if you have been there yet. It's a beautiful alpine lake with lots of cabins and resorts along its beaches. Fun place to go in the summer. The water is still freezing cold, but lots of partying going on along the beaches. Good food and fun. Nice mountains to hike in as well. If you are planning a visit to Krygyzstan, pretty much all the expats agree the best travel/tourism company to use is KyrgyzConcept. They can find you temp apartments or hotels to live in and arrange tours around Issyk-kyl by hiking or horseback. Not expensive either. You can even arrange to stay in a yurt in the mountains. If you look at the Kyrgyz Concept website you will see some of the other places you can visit in Krygzstan.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Russia & C.I.S. All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC