Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kazakhstan

December 21, 2020

Around the world, there are countries (like Kazakhstan) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.


Currently, we have 12 schools listed in Kazakhstan on International School Community.

9 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

Haileybury Almaty (31 Total Comments)
Haileybury Astana (57 Total Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan (110 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Almaty) (21 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Astana) (13 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“One can save unto $3000 per month with a fairly decent lifestyle…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“You can definitely save at least 1000 USD a month…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“Many staff are paying off a mortgage back in England on their second house…” – Haileybury AstanaA

School Campus

“In June 2017, Kazakhstan hosted EXPO 2017, the theme of which was “renewable energy”. This was a fantastic undertaking, and the legacy of the program is that many new buildings were constructed fairly close to the NISA campus. These buildings include a new mall called Silkway, which has a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences AND a cinema complex that features English-language movies fairly regularly…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“Large square building of three stories with ‘quad’ in the centre. Football pitch, swimming pool, assembly and dance halls, two libraries. To the south edge of town, in a still-developing area…” – Haileybury Astana

“It is a purpose-built campus, so it is inspiring to work in. The classrooms have Smart Board like boards which is nice. The fields are lovely and new and there is a wonderful view of the nearby mountains. I can also see the mountains from my classroom…” – Haileybury Almaty

Housing Information

“The school provides housing and they also pay for your utilities. Housing comes furnished…” – Miras International School (Astana)

“Housing allowance is 1200 USD. Teachers live all over the city. Finding an appropriate apartment can be a challenge though. Some teachers have the utilities included in their rent…” – Haileybury Almaty

“You can choose to live on or off-campus. There is a housing allowance if you live off-campus. You also get a monthly allowance to pay for utilities. All apartments come furnished…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

Pension Plan Details

“We get 10% extra in-lieu of a pension…” – Haileybury Almaty

“No retirement plan for teachers…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“There is no retirement plan…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

Are the Expectations High of Teaching Staff?

“Yes, most teachers have to do a compulsory 2 after school classes a week all year round, no pay. The workload can be heavy at times…” – Haileybury Almaty

“It depends upon many moving parts, but it is expected due to Covid that the class sizes will be increased and the expected hours will be near 30ish; but, it really depends upon department what that means for actual teaching…” – Haileybury Astana

“The expectations of the international teaching staff is very high, as they are seen as the experts in their fields, and are expected to share that knowledge. This means that much of the unit planning, detailed lesson planning, and teaching falls on the shoulders of the international teachers. This is in addition to a greater number of teaching contact hours than a local colleague…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

(These are just 5 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Kazakhstan, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Almaty, Kazakhstan (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

June 4, 2012

Traveling Around: Almaty, Kazakhstan

Can you relate?

• Seeing locations in a city that the Amazing Race teams did a challenge at.
• Noticing how amazing it would be to live next to a majestic range.
• Buying souvenirs that you normally wouldn’t buy because you are trying to make your current international apartment your “home”
• Being happy that the location that you are currently living in has much, much less pollution.
• Interrupting (in a respectful way) a important culture event that the locals were participating in.
• Talking with the local dried-fruit and nuts man at the green market in the center of town and buying some amazing dates from him.
• Meeting a lot of the expat international school teachers that live in the city and realizing how much fun they are having living abroad in a (very) foreign country.
• Laughing a bit as you walk through a mall and watching people skate around the indoor ice rink in the atrium.
• Passing by much of the produce at the local grocery stores because of its poor quality.
• Feeling grateful to have old work-friends in cool and unusual places around the world.
• Waiting for minutes, hours, and even days for the government to turn on the heat so you can take a hot shower.
• Eating at the main expat restaurant for some good-ole western food.
• Sitting in a cool section of a local restaurant and having some excellent, moreish local food.
• Checking out the very important opera house, but unfortunately not being able to buy a ticket to see a show.

Currently we have 10 international schools listed in Kazakstan on International School Community. They are:

• QSI Almaty International School (4 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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Highlighted Articles

Kazakhstan Attracts Teachers Looking for Career Development

May 2, 2012

Kazakhstan may not be the obvious destination for teachers wanting to work abroad. But the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network is offering experienced, English-speaking middle and secondary teachers a one-year contract that is proving very tempting for some.

There are NIS schools in cities throughout Kazakhstan, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country led by the President of the Republic. The aim is to develop a new way of educating the future elite of Kazakhstan and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress.

Richard Evans is one of these teachers. He was a science teacher in the UK for 25 years and had been at the same school for 19 years. “Every vacation was spent traveling,” says Richard. “So combining a new job with living abroad seemed attractive.” He and his partner both accepted teaching posts with the Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Kokshetau last September and have not looked back. “It was the right job at the right time and we haven’t regretted the move,” he adds.

Richard is teaching the Kazakh curriculum in English to Grade 11 Biology and Grade 9 Chemistry students in collaboration with local teachers. This is one of the specific roles of the expatriate teachers; to mentor the local teachers, working alongside their Kazakh counterparts to support them with the teaching, planning and assessment and leading professional development sessions. Richard is also involved in curriculum design.

“The students have a positive work ethic here, allowing teachers to concentrate on teaching and to spend less time on class management,” says Richard. “Class numbers are small; for English, Mathematics and Physics the average size is 8 to 12 students. The work load is less than in the UK. We work hard and are in school from 8am to at least 5pm, but the demands of producing reams of paperwork that are rarely looked at are not as great. The pressure is less and experienced teachers are valued. The local teachers are very keen to develop their teaching skills and have been excellent, very supportive and friendly. We’ve made some very good friends.”

The new curriculum is being written in association with Cambridge University and is integrating skill development and progression. “These are exciting times with the change towards a new curriculum beginning in September this year; it’s exciting to be in a front row seat as the education undergoes a rapid development,” says Richard adding that this experience is proving  very good for his career development.

As for living in Kazakhstan, Richard and his partner say life is good. “Once you are accepted, the local community is very welcoming. Kazakhs love celebration and love to dance and there are regular concerts here of all types. The larger cities have thriving expat communities. There are many clothes and shoe shops, decent restaurants and bars, local live sport to watch such as ice hockey and football, and a number of pools and gyms. Our apartment is very comfortable and warm and within ten minutes’ walk of the school. Everywhere is very safe; there is little crime.”

As for the financial rewards, “many things are cheaper here and disposable income for a foreign teacher here is higher than in the UK. Income tax is 10%,” says Richard who is renewing his contract for a second year. “After 8 months here, we feel totally committed to supporting the hard working students in achieving their ambitions and helping them to get into the university of their choice. Kazakhstan is a fabulous country in which to live and work.”

There are currently many opportunities for experienced teachers interested in working at the Nazarbayev Intellectual School in the capital city of Astana and at other NIS schools in the cities of Semey, Kokshetau, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Taldykorgan and Uralsk starting in August 2012. Contracts are for one year with option to renew. If you are an English speaking, fully qualified, experienced teacher and would be interested in this unique opportunity, contact Amy Bardsley at TIC Recruitment at or visit

There are currently 10 international schools listed in Kazakhstan on International School Community.  The following have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

QSI Almaty International School (4 Comments)
Haileybury Almaty (31 Comments)
International School of Almaty (6 Comments)
Miras International School (Astana) (10 Comments)
QSI International School of Astana (6 Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual school of Astana (11 Comments)

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #9: Annette Harvey

January 24, 2012

Every 1-2 monthsInternational School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Annette Harvey:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am from Cheadle, Staffordshire in England.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A long term relationship had broken up and I felt I needed a change and wanted to be in a closer school community.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

PDO School Muscat: Fantastic colleagues, children and parents. A Beautiful, safe country. Swimming with turtles, umpiring the Omani hockey, even though I was a woman!Horizon School Dubai.Newton International School DohaShanghai Rego International School: great colleagues who have become friends. Again some wonderful, supportive parents and amazing children. Champagne brunches. My tailor who I miss greatly!

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I am currently working atHaileybury Almaty in Kazakhstan. Having a traditional Kazakh Band play to all the pupils on the last day of the autumn term. Listening to their amazing music on unusual (for me) instruments; watching them move model animals with their instruments and watching the snow fall outside, just beautiful.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

Location, salary, curriculum, benefits as I would never move to a school without medical insurance.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Hard work, but immensely rewarding.

Thanks Annette!  If you are a member ofInternational School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight,contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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