While Kazakhstan might not be a destination that immediately springs to mind when you’re planning your next TEFL adventure, there are loads of reasons why you should consider moving there. The TEFL industry is growing, with plenty of opportunities for teachers experienced in IELTS and exam preparation, as well as a growing number of positions for teachers of young learners. Kazak students are enthusiastic, motivated, and lively, something which many teachers would consider plus points when considering where to go and who to teach. If you have the right credentials, there are plenty of decent positions in this country that don’t receive too many applicants, making your chances of success greater than in more sought-after TEFL locations. Wages aren’t high, but neither is the cost of living, making the country a break-even location where you might even be able to save a bit of money if you take on private students in your free time.

Beyond the classroom, Kazakhstan is a wonder to behold. Expats love exploring the bazaars in bustling cities, as well as the good selection of bars and restaurants that are on offer. Skiing, skating, hiking, and running are popular pastimes. The world’s ninth largest country is one of the last great travel unknowns with a diverse range of landscapes from mountains, deserts, and endless steppes to explore. Couple this with the Kazakh’s unrivalled hospitality to foreigners and the friendly locals that make it easy to find friends in Kazakhstan, and you have a unique travel and working experience that in many ways is unmatched elsewhere on the global TEFL map.

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Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Almaty, Astana, Kyzlorda
  • Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 200,000 to 260,000 tenge (£360 – £470 / $465 – $600) per month.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
  • Prerequisite university degree: Most positions require a BA degree
  • Term times: August to May
  • Currency: Tenge (KZT)
  • Language: Kazakh
  • Teaching programmes: IELTS and Exam Preparation, Private Language Schools, International Schools, Universities, Freelance, Volunteering
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Many positions ask for a minimum of one year of teaching experience

Teaching TEFL in Kazakhstan is primarily all about IELTS and other exam preparation, but there is also a growing market for teaching young learners, as well as English for academic purposes, Business English, and other professional niches. While Kazakhstan isn’t a particularly popular TEFL destination, expats who work there report that many schools offer a good level of professionalism and are happy to accommodate new ideas rather than trying the same old thing. If you’re fed up of being told what to do and getting stuck in jobs with archaic methodology, in Kazakhstan you’ll find a much more open policy on progressive practices and adopting new teaching methods.

Kazak students are enthusiastic, talkative, lively, and happy to study aspects of the language that some students groan about, such as grammar. Getting the students to work hard in class isn’t a problem, but any sort of self-study or homework can be an issue for these students, so utilize classroom time instead. The professional barriers that, in other countries, sometimes prohibit teachers from socialising with their students, don’t exist in Kazakhstan, so expect to be invited places by your adult students. CEFR levels vary, but students in their late teens/young adulthood are unlikely to be at a beginner level, and there are certainly opportunities to teach higher level students. If you get into voluntary teaching in Kazakhstan, expect the level of your students to be much lower.

Requirements for teaching English in Kazakhstan

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Cambodia £650 - £950
($800 - $1,200)
No September No No Yes Under 65
China £1,200 - £1,600
($1,500 - $2,000)
Yes September No Yes Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country Under 55
Hong Kong £1,600 - £2,800
($2,000 - $3,500)
Yes August No Not usually Yes Under 60
Indonesia £700 - £1,100
($850 - $1,350)
Yes July No Not usually No Under 60
Japan £1,600 - £2,200
($2,000 - $2,700)
Yes April No Sometimes Yes Under 65
Malaysia £900 - £1,850
($1,100 - $2,300)
Yes January Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 60
Myanmar £1,000 - £1,800
($1,250 - $2,200)
Yes June Preferred Sometimes No None
South Korea £1,300 - £2,000
($1,600 - $2,500)
Yes March No Yes No Under 60
Thailand £800 - £1,050
($1,000 - $1,300)
Yes May No Sometimes Yes None
Vietnam £950 - £1,300
($1,200 - $1,500)
Yes August No No Yes Under 60

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Living Costs

The second cheapest country in Asia, and also the second cheapest country in the world, Kazakhstan doesn’t offer high wages to TEFL teachers but it’s not hard to get by.

Most TEFL jobs come with flight reimbursement and free accommodation and bills, as well as other perks such as covering the visa costs, free language lessons, and more. As such, don’t just look at the salary when considering your quality of life in this country.

Contracts last up to a year so remember to take a good range of clothes as temperatures soar in the summer and plummet to well below freezing during winter months! If you enjoy sports like skating and skiing in your free time, remember to factor in costs of appropriate equipment if you’d like to indulge in these hobbies on a regular basis.

  • Accommodation: £287 – £395 / $374 – $516
  • Utilities: £33 / $43
  • Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £9 / $12
  • Monthly transport pass: £11 / $14
  • Basic dinner out for two: £13 / $17
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £1.57 / $2.05
  • A beer in a pub: £1.43 / $1.87
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.58 / $0.76
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.77 / $1

(living costs sourced from Expatistan)

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