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Teaching in Mongolia and the 'stans

 
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1335
Location: Zibo, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Teaching in Mongolia and the 'stans Reply with quote

Okay, it's a really simple question. Why would anyone want to teach in Mongolia (perhaps the most extreme weather on the planet - a definite turn-off for me) or any of the 'stans (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan)? What's the draw?

This thread is an opportunity for people to share the positives about these places that are a bit off the beaten path.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every person is different. I have tried, without success, to land a good paying job in Mongolia. The weather is actually a turn on for me. I used to live in the Arctic and liked it.......... In my mind, it would be something of a winter paradise, where I could drink beer in the cold (couldn't drink at my arctic post.... but I always wanted to).

And before you explain how terrible the weather is... go back and read the part I wrote about having lived in the Arctic (as in far north of the Arctic Circle).

The world is made up of all kind of people. If I could land a good paying job there I'd jump on it. That's a big if though........

Edited to add: Not sure about the Stans. I'd work in most of them though if the price were right.... all except Afghanistan or Pakistan anyway. Don't think you could pay me to go to either of those (well let me rephrase... no one would pay me enough to go to either of those).
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1335
Location: Zibo, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fladude wrote:
Every person is different. I have tried, without success, to land a good paying job in Mongolia.
I guess "good paying" might be subjective.

Quote:
The weather is actually a turn on for me. I used to live in the Arctic and liked it.......... In my mind, it would be something of a winter paradise, where I could drink beer in the cold (couldn't drink at my arctic post.... but I always wanted to).

And before you explain how terrible the weather is... go back and read the part I wrote about having lived in the Arctic (as in far north of the Arctic Circle).
Yes, I read what you wrote. It doesn't make you any less strange. Twisted Evil

Quote:
The world is made up of all kind of people. If I could land a good paying job there I'd jump on it. That's a big if though........
I don't know if this constitutes "good paying," but: http://www.eslemployment.com/mongolia-full-time-esl-job-starting-immediately-on-december-ulaanbaatar-mongolia-32889934.htm

Quote:
Edited to add: Not sure about the Stans. I'd work in most of them though if the price were right.... all except Afghanistan or Pakistan anyway. Don't think you could pay me to go to either of those (well let me rephrase... no one would pay me enough to go to either of those).
Or maybe even if they could pay you enough, you still wouldn't go?
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not at my age.... if I were 22 I'd probably jump on this. But at 40..... I'd have to pass.

I'd probably do it for 2.2 k a month and an apartment.... 3k would be better though... I think 800 is too low to get by on without making major sacrifices. Wouldn't be buying much beer with that. So figure 25-30,000 a year and an apartment... yeah I'd go for that.


Imagine cold beer... -20..... standing outside on some crazy bar patio in Mongolia overlooking the Steppes.... would be amazing.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to add.... that I sure as heck wouldn't work in Pakistan or Afghanistan for 25k a year.... or in any of the Stans for that matter. A typical Stan... I'd be interested in the 40-50k range per annum. But Pakistan or Afghanistan......... I don't think anyone would pay me what it would take to get me there. I actually WOULD go for enough money but I can't see anyone offering me 200k a year + a free apartment and health care to go teach.

I knew an international teacher that got a job in Pakistan for 75k. Nice... but I still wouldn't take it. Money doesn't do you much good if you are dead or kidnapped and held in a cave someplace... waiting for someone to chop off body parts to send to the embassy. I'm sure he just lives on some compound and never leaves.... No Thanks.

Now Kazakhstan... I met an international teacher who worked there for around 40-45k and he said savings were good. He said the country was actually kind of cool (you can drink, date women and hang out and you don't get kidnapped). I'd probably go for that. I have no idea if ESL would pay there though.
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Steinmann



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 254
Location: In the frozen north

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fladude wrote:
Imagine cold beer... -20..... standing outside on some crazy bar patio in Mongolia overlooking the Steppes.... would be amazing.


How about -20 drinking cold bootleg beer overlooking the Chukchi Sea?

Certainly just as much fun!
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steinmann wrote:
fladude wrote:
Imagine cold beer... -20..... standing outside on some crazy bar patio in Mongolia overlooking the Steppes.... would be amazing.


How about -20 drinking cold bootleg beer overlooking the Chukchi Sea?

Certainly just as much fun!


Until you go to jail and are charged with a felony. Not to mention that the beer would cost you $20 bucks and you would have to buy it from a student.
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wesharris



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mongolia has some nice pubs now.
Well UB does anyhow.
To make the money, you have to
put in the time finding a school here.
I found one through a friend and
I'm currently QUITE happy.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I was once interested in Mongolia, though not any longer. I am however interested in Kazakhstan and to a lesser extent Uzbekistan, and I could see myself considering Mongolia and any of the other ex-Soviet Stans if the price were right.

Mongolia I'd consider for the unusual language and culture (bragging rights, basically). However the low pay, harsh weather (I do like the cold, but not that cold), infamous ugliness of UB, and comments I saw about conditions in many if not most of the schools there, and difficulty many people seem have getting exit visas mean I'd only agree to it if I were referred by someone I know, and if the compensation were better than schools there currently seem to offer.

The Post-Soviet 'Stans I'd only consider after mastering Turkish. None of them except Turkmenistan have a language that is mutually intelligible with Turkish but most of them have a language that is fairly closely related, and thus easier to pick up.

Kazakhstan I'd consider because if you get a good job it can pay better than Turkey, often as much as Azerbaijan, and it's an opportunity to learn Russian. Also, I assume than since like a third of the people there are ethnic Russians, you can get pork. Living in a Turkic country with bacon = huge plus. (That said, about half of jobs I see advertised there are crap, while maybe 2/3 of the remainder don't state compensation upfront, saying that candidates will be given compensation details, always a bad sign. I asked about this once on the CIS forums, and was told that the situation is far better (and far closer to the handful of good jobs I've seen) if you're looking around in person.)

Uzbekistan I'd consider for the archeological/cultural heritage (Taskent, Samarkand, Bokhara, Khiva and Kokand are just a few of the more famous) and the opportunity to learn the language, which is the second-most-spoken Turkic language. I don't know how much it pays though; if it pays Mongolian-level wages it's not worth it. Uzbekistan has the highest rate of hardship pay for US government employees of any country not in a War Zone, and while I don't expect TEFL wages to reflect that, I certainly wouldn't take much of a pay cut to work there.

I know some people go to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for the natural beauty and/or chance to make a difference in a very poor country. Personally I'm not willing to take a substantial pay cut for the scenery, but I'd happily take the job in either country if it paid Kazakh-level wages. I suppose that the fact that Tajik is mutually intelligible with Farsi might appeal to people who want to learn/already speak Persian. (It's only one of the ex-Soviet 'Stans that doesn't speak a Turkic language, though there is a substantial Tajik population in Uzbekistan).

As for Turkmenistan: the language is about as close to Turkish as Italian to Spanish, and it's an opportunity to live in under one of the strangest regimes in the world. Again, for me the deciding factor would be pay.

I wouldn't want to work in AfPak which aren't really connected to the post-Soviet states mentioned above, though I can see why people might.

People teach in Afghanistan for the money. That's the only reason you should teach there. Though it has some truly astounding natural and historic sights, you're not free to travel around the country, and barely free to go out on your own in the city. It is a war zone after all, and you couldn't pay me enough to work there. (I'm not saying I wouldn't work there for any amount of money, just that the extremely high reported salaries I've heard of some teachers getting there still isn't close to that amount.) Amazingly, at least one outfit in Afghanistan not only offers crap wages, but apparently gets teachers. I then run across rants from said teachers (who didn't go there for the money) about the aforementioned difficulties.

Pakistan is a South Asian country that has precious little in common with Afghanistan and nothing in common with the rest of the 'Stans. It's got some truly outstanding historic sights, and good food, but based on conversations I have with Pakistanis I meet society is about on par with the more liberal Gulf States, and slipping backwards. For that deal, you might as well work in the Gulf. Oh, and also Pakistanis I meet generally speak English very well (on average much better than Indians I meet), which is a working language of government, so I imagine opportunities are limited.

My 3.7 kuruş,
~Q
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Steinmann



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 254
Location: In the frozen north

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fladude wrote:
Steinmann wrote:
fladude wrote:
Imagine cold beer... -20..... standing outside on some crazy bar patio in Mongolia overlooking the Steppes.... would be amazing.


How about -20 drinking cold bootleg beer overlooking the Chukchi Sea?

Certainly just as much fun!


Until you go to jail and are charged with a felony. Not to mention that the beer would cost you $20 bucks and you would have to buy it from a student.


We just went damp here. Talk about a party.
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surendra



Joined: 09 Feb 2012
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My friend taught in Kyrgyzstan and Khazakstan. He really like it and will go back after time in Korea. He has grown to love post-soviet countries
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12382
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q is right. The States of what used to be Soviet Central Asia have little in common with Pakistan or Afghanistan.
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seyz



Joined: 17 Feb 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump. Maybe looking for something do in a kind of "gap year" while I apply (reapply) to PhD programs, and Central Asia has always been of great interest personally and academically. With an MA would it be possible to obtain a university position teaching English or something else making decent pay?
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londone7



Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Qaaolchoura sums it up good but the Stans are not uniform across. I've been to Pakistan and Uzbekistan and quite familiar with the others.

The Soviet Stans have a distinct culture. They were Russianized, speak a common Russian language as well as local languages, and are a mix of Soviet nationalities. There were Orthodox Churches in Uzbekistan and people from varied nationalities including Russian, German, Polish, Tatar, Kazakh, Mongol, Korean, so a real mish-mash.

Historically Uzbekistan has a lot of historical sites from the time of Timerlane and the subsequent kingdoms of Bukhara, Kokand, and Khiva (the reason for my visit). It was the heart of the Silk Road and great trading towns emerged where the cultures from India/China/Iran mixed and left some breathtaking architecture. These were the original people who built the Taj Mahal and moved into India when their empire collapsed.

Since getting the visa for the Soviet Stans is a pain once you're in you will have some great travel opportunities and see some breathtaking scenery
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monicateacher



Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:05 am    Post subject: Teaching in the "Stans" Reply with quote

I am a 67 year old woman with lots of experience and education. I lost my job in Oman a few months ago and have been teaching Tibetan refugees as a volunteer since then.
I'm having a really hard time trying to find work at my age, and someone suggested the "Stans" and said they don't have an age restriction there.
If anyone has any information on these countries I would appreciate it. Thanks.
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