Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in central Asia bordering with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Uzbekistan has worked towards strengthening its economic relations with many western powers, and consequently has invested heavily in English language training. Recently there has been a major shift from Russian to English with all teachers and students having English lessons. It used to be that Russian was a second language but this status is being eroded by English as the leadership move for closer ties with the West with, for example, more English programs on television than before.
Teaching Requirements & Conditions
Native English speakers from one of the seven main English speaking countries are preferred. Applicants are required to hold a degree and a TEFL Certificate.
In many cases, older and more mature teachers are preferred.
Teaching contracts are for a minimum of 6 months to a year. The average monthly pay is about 1,500,000 UZS or $700 USD (€554, £445) and the working week is from Monday to Saturdays where you can be expected to teach 6 hours a day.
Shared accommodation is usually provided by the employer and so are other benefits such like flight tickets, visa expenses, doctor’s visits and medicals bills.
The everyday cost of living is quite cheap. Utilities (electricity, gas, hot and cold water) are about US$100 per month. Local food is inexpensive and so is transport.
An invitation letter will be issued by your employer who will then help you apply for all the documents required for your legal stay in Uzbekistan, like: work permit, entrance visa and work visa prolongation. Fees apply for most of these documents but the larger and richer schools will take care of them for you.
In many cases you will find that schools – especially smaller schools – are fairly simple in terms of resources.
Background to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is a major producer of energy and minerals, with uranium one of Uzbekistan’s largest exports to the United States. Its manufacturing industry has grown in recent years and now accounts for approximately one quarter of GDP, surpassing agriculture.
Uzbekistan retains much of the architecture and artifacts of the time when Central Asia was the center of Tamerlane’s empire founded in the 14th century by Timur, a Turkic Conqueror of much of Western and Central Asia. Many cities on modern Uzbekistan’s soil are located on what was once known as the Silk Road, a route used by merchants to transport silk from China to Europe. Cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent and Shakhrisabz are still evocative of oriental beauty and fascinating history.
However despite its natural resources, the wealth they produce it remains firmly in the hands of a small elite, leaving much of the country quite poor, and making it the most corrupt out of any former USSR state.
Tashkent is Uzbekistan’s capital and largest city. Named the “cultural capital of the Islamic world” by Moscow News, in 2007 the city has numerous historic mosques and significant Islamic sites.
Since Uzbekistan’s independence, the city has grown economically, culturally, and architecturally. New development has superseded or replaced icons and buildings from the Soviet era and Tashkent’s Business District is every bit as international as any world capital cities.