Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth-largest country, offers a unique blend of cultures from its rich history as a crossroad between Asia and Europe.

Stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains on its eastern border with China and Russia, it boasts a diverse landscape that includes steppes, taigas, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts.

The country experiences a continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers, a factor to consider before moving.

The lure of Kazakhstan for expatriates has often been its economic prospects, bolstered by its abundant natural resources and growing industries.

In the major urban centres such as Almaty and Nur-Sultan, expatriates can find more amenities and international schools, which contrasts with the more traditional and rural lifestyle in other parts of the country.

While many may find living in such an environment daunting due to potential cultural and language barriers, the lower cost of living can be a significant advantage.

Living in Kazakhstan – Key Takeaways

  • Kazakhstan offers a rich cultural tapestry and varied geography, from mountains to deserts.
  • Economic opportunities in urban centres appeal to expatriates despite potential cultural challenges.
  • Differences in amenities and lifestyle should be expected between urban and rural areas.

地理和气候 Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s vast territory showcases many landscapes, from sweeping steppes to towering mountains. Its location in Central Asia subjects it to a harsh continental climate, with extreme temperatures varying widely between seasons.

Landscape and Nature

Kazakhstan is renowned for its varied landscapes, with vast 草原 covering a significant portion of the country. These expansive plains are occasionally interrupted by ranges such as the Altai and Tien Shan mountains, introducing a rugged contrast to the steppe’s wide horizons. The country’s diverse topography includes semi-deserts, deserts, and grassy plains, underscoring the nation’s natural wealth.

Continental Climate and Extreme Temperatures

Occupying a large swath of Central Asia, Kazakhstan’s 大陆性气候 engenders marked extreme temperatures. Winters can dip below freezing, while summers often bring scorching heat, particularly in the south. This landlocked nation experiences very little precipitation, making consecutive rainy days a rarity. Temperature variations between seasons are stark, reflecting the continental climate’s defining characteristics.

Culture and Society In Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s society is deeply rooted in its rich culture, underpinned by a strong tradition of 款待. Integrating into this society involves understanding the cultural nuances and overcoming language barriers.

Hospitality and Traditions

Kazakhstan’s culture places great importance on 款待, a hallmark of one’s honour. Guests in Kazakhstan are often treated with the utmost respect and are presented with a dastarkhan — a spread of various foods symbolising abundance.

传统的 practices include offering the guest the best portion of a meal and engaging in long conversations over tea. Visitors should expect to be welcomed warmly and partake in local customs, including tasting regional delicacies such as 贝什巴尔马克 或者 马奶酒.

Cultural Differences and Integration

One might encounter cultural differences upon arriving in Kazakhstan. For instance, a degree of formality is expected in dress and communication in business and formal environments.

Overcoming the language barrier can be challenging, as Kazakh and Russian are the most spoken languages; however, learning basic phrases is appreciated and seen as a sign of respect.

It’s also crucial to be 正念的 of various societal norms, such as removing shoes before entering a house or the importance of age hierarchy. Understanding and adapting to these cultural expectations are essential for anyone looking to integrate smoothly into Kazakhstan’s society.


Kazakhstan’s economy has demonstrated a stable growth trend, supported by a mix of exports and government stimulus measures. Economic projections indicate sustained critical vital developments in the oil sector, bolstering the country’s financial outlook.


Kazakhstan’s economy benefitted from a 5.1% growth in the first half of 2023, underpinned by robust export performance and significant fiscal stimulus efforts. The nation’s 国内生产总值(GDP) is forecast to expand by 4.5% in 2023 and maintain similar growth in the following years, partially due to new oil production facilities initiating operations.

Employment levels have remained relatively steady, with the unemployment rate hovering around 4.9%, which compares nobly against the Central Asian average. The country’s economic stability has been further supported by a diversified economy that ranges from hydrocarbon production to agriculture, manufacturing, and services.

Standard of Living

Kazakhstan’s 生活水平 has improved over the past decade, with measures such as the percentage of the population living on less than USD 6.85 (PPP) per day showing a decreasing trend.

Furthermore, the nation’s 生活成本 remains competitive compared to its regional counterparts, which, along with the improving economic indicators, suggests a positive impact on citizens’ quality of life.

For it, specific challenges and sustaining the standard of living will be contingent upon continuing economic reforms and diversification.

For more detailed insights, readers can explore the thorough economic analysis available through the World Bank’s Kazakhstan Overview 和 OECD financial overview of Kazakhstan.


Expatriates considering Kazakhstan a new home can expect a vibrant community with various leisure options. This section explores what expatriates usually experience regarding community bonding and entertainment and the advantages and disadvantages of settling in this Eurasian nation.

Community and Leisure

Expatriates in Kazakhstan typically find a welcoming atmosphere with opportunities to bond with locals and fellow expatriates. Significant cities like Almaty and Nur-Sultan are the hub of expat activities, offering a mix of cultural events, sports clubs, and social groups.

One can access numerous parks, museums, and leisure eateries featuring Kazakh and international cuisines. Outdoor enthusiasts can engage in activities like hiking in the scenic mountainous regions or skiing in well-known resorts such as Shymbulak.

  • Key Entertainment Options:
    • Cultural festivals
    • Dining out
    • Outdoor activities like skiing and hiking

Expatriates should consider joining groups like InterNations, which organise events regularly, providing a platform to meet others and share experiences.



  • 生活成本: Expatriates often find the cost of living in Kazakhstan reasonable, especially compared to Western standards. Housing tends to be the most significant expense, but even then, it varies widely depending on location and quality.
  • 文化: Kazakhstan offers a unique blend of Eastern European and Central Asian cultures, allowing expatriates to experience a rich cultural tapestry.


  • Accommodation Quality: Housing quality can vary greatly, with some Soviet-era apartments being of lower standard, reflected in the rental prices.
  • Language Barrier: Without knowledge of Kazakh or Russian, expatriates may face communication challenges, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas.

It is advisable for potential expatriates to thoroughly research and reflect on the pros and cons of moving to Kazakhstan to make an informed decision regarding their relocation.

Residential Insights

When considering relocation to Kazakhstan, potential residents must examine the nuances of local housing options and the financial implications of living in this Central Asian nation.

Housing and Accommodation

In Kazakhstan, 住房 ranges from modern apartments in urban areas to more traditional abodes in rural regions. 阿斯塔纳, the capital city, boasts a variety of contemporary apartment complexes, many of which cater to the expatriate community.

同时, 阿拉木图, Kazakhstan’s largest city, offers a mix of Soviet-era buildings and newer developments. Rental prices vary by location and the level of amenities provided.

Individuals looking to  in Astana can expect to find a one-bedroom city centre apartment for around $300 to USD 500 per month. Larger family-sized accommodations will cost upwards of USD 600 per month. In Almaty, prices may be slightly lower, with one-bedroom apartments in the city centre fetching between $200 and USD 400.

Cost of Living and Groceries

这 生活成本 in Kazakhstan is generally lower than in many Western countries but can fluctuate based on lifestyle choices and location.

Groceries are affordable, with local markets offering fresh produce, meats, and dairy at competitive prices. Supermarkets in larger cities like Astana and Almaty provide a more comprehensive range of goods, including international products, which may be priced higher.

A typical monthly grocery bill for one person might range from $100 to USD 150, although this can increase if you opt for imported items or shop at high-end grocery stores.

It’s important to note that prices outside major urban areas can be significantly lower, making it even more economical for groceries and everyday living expenses.


In Kazakhstan, residents navigate between two healthcare sectors: public and private. Each offers distinct advantages and options for health insurance.

Public and Private Healthcare

这 public healthcare system is the National Health System of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The government funds it and offers free healthcare services to citizens.

The sector has undergone several reforms to improve service accessibility, equity, and efficiency. International residents can access these services, though 私人医疗保健 is often preferred for its higher service level and shorter waiting times.

Private healthcare in Kazakhstan is available through various facilities offering various services. These services are typically paid for either out-of-pocket or through private health insurance.

Many internationals in Kazakhstan choose private health insurance to ensure access to a broader array of healthcare services, often including facilities with English-speaking staff.


The country launched a mandatory health insurance system in 2020, with the Social Health Insurance Fund as the primary purchaser of publicly paid health services. Under this scheme, residents contribute to a fund entitled to health care services defined in the State-Guaranteed Benefits Package.

Additionally, individuals can opt for international health insurance plans that provide coverage within and beyond Kazakhstan, appealing to travellers and those seeking comprehensive healthcare options.

Education and Language

In Kazakhstan, education is characterised by a linguistic transition, with efforts to bolster the Kazakh language amidst the prevalent Russian language. The presence of international schools highlights the country’s adaptation to global education standards.

Language Proficiency

Kazakhstan exhibits a linguistic landscape where Russian has traditionally held sway in business and education. Despite this, there has been a significant shift towards the Kazakh language, reflecting national identity and governance.

English is increasingly important for international trade and as part of education reform, leading to a trilingual policy in the educational system.


These institutions cater to expatriate communities and locals seeking an international curriculum. Most international schools in Kazakhstan offer programmes in English and often follow recognised global curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the British educational system.

Children at these schools develop proficiency in multiple languages, aiding their readiness for higher education globally.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Kazakhstan boasts a developing transport sector pivotal for its economic growth, with significant investments in enhancing its infrastructure.

A strategic location bolsters its role in East-West trade, particularly with Chinese investment, providing public transportation and pedestrian facilities.

Public Transportation Nodes

Public transport in Kazakhstan offers a variety of options, including buses, taxis, and the metro system, predominantly in major cities like Almaty and Nur-Sultan. The bus network operates extensively across urban areas, providing cost-effective and accessible transport to residents and visitors.

In Almaty, the 地铁 service offers a reliable alternative, with expansions planned to increase connectivity. The country is also served by a network of flights connecting major domestic destinations and international locations, which is critical to bolstering cargo transport.

Driving and Walking

Driving in Kazakhstan can range from bustling city traffic to more relaxed rural driving conditions. With recent investments of nearly $35 billion, the country has seen the construction of new roads and improvement of existing highways, which enhances the driving experience. Motorists are advised to be cautious, especially in cities with heavy traffic.

For pedestrians, it is recommended to stick to well-lit and populated areas and be aware that pedestrian infrastructure like sidewalks may vary, with walking in rural areas often less catered to than in cities.