Work and Travel in Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan is characterised by a vast wasteland bordering Russia that used to form part of the old Silk Road. As one of the biggest countries in the world, and one of the most sparsely populated, this is a land most travellers have yet to fully understand. Learn about this traditional culture by thrusting yourself into this strange land.

Instead of reading traditional travel guides for Kazakhstan read this one. You’re about to learn about all the volunteering opportunities in Kazakhstan, but be warned because work and travel here is not for the faint hearted.

1. Helping Addicts in Astana

Like many countries in Central Asia, Kazakhstan suffers from a high incidence of drug and alcohol addiction. There are few avenues for securing government help. As you work and travel in Kazakhstan come to Astana and join a charity drive to distribute supplies that can help the down and out.

It’s about building relationships and even if you don’t speak the same language, this type of work in Kazakhstan is highly rewarding.

2. Teach English in Kazakhstan

As you travel in Kazakhstan you’ll quickly realise that a lot of young people speak at least a basic level of English. There’s a strong desire amongst the younger population to learn English so they can go to the West and immerse themselves in Western culture.

A lot of foreigners who work and travel in Kazakhstan teach English to young people. You can find work by virtue of being a native English speaker, but you should bear in mind that it’s much easier if you have an internationally recognised TEFL qualification.

3. Working with the Homeless in Almaty

Almaty is the former capital of the country and houses a lot of history. Most travellers in the country swing by here at some point. Charities are present here to help the homeless, of which there are many. Kazakhstan is a developing country and many people are unable to find paying work. With no safety net available, they end up on the streets begging for food and money.

Join one of these charities and play your part in handing out food packages and helping members of staff to build connections with these people. You could just change someone’s life.


Kazakhstan is the most open of all the countries in Central Asia. There are visa exemptions to Kazakhstan for the majority of developed countries. And expats also report that securing long-term work visas is simple and doesn’t come with the same level of bureaucracy as neighbouring countries.

If you want to work and travel in Kazakhstan, the chances are you’ll be entitled to a 30-day visa. For many volunteers, they will need to spend the time extending their visa for an additional 30 days. These restrictions apply to citizens of the UK, the European Union (EU), North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.

South Africans must apply for a visa in advance at the nearest Kazakh embassy. Russian citizens, on the other hand, can enter the country for 90 days without a visa.



Spring is not the ideal time to visit Kazakhstan. The truth is springtime only lasts from April until May. The rest of the traditional spring season is overtaken by winter, due to Arctic winds that can send temperatures plummeting to -50C in many areas of the country.

There are no specific backpacker skills needed in spring. Most of the country is on hold as they wait for the hotter months to come. It’s not even a recommended backpacking time in Kazakhstan.


After May Kazakhstan begins to bloom as the temperatures rise rapidly and the burgeoning tourism industry starts to come out of hibernation. This is an excellent time for outdoor projects, such as getting involved in youth camps or summer camps dedicated to English immersion.

It’s also when many of the homeless charities put out calls for volunteers. If you want to work with real people in the country, summer is the time to work and travel in Kazakhstan.


The autumn season in Kazakhstan is when the rural areas are a hive of activity. It is harvest time before the long winter and many families are busy harvesting crops and getting the animals into their barns before the frost and snow arrives. This is the perfect time for a homestay as you travel in Kazakhstan.

There are a lot of organisations open to providing homestays, where you’ll stay with a real family and help them out with various household tasks. All you need is a good work ethic and you may even pick up some parts of the Kazak language at the same time.


Winter isn’t an easy time to find volunteering opportunities in Kazakhstan. Much of the country shuts down and it’s extremely difficult to find work outdoors at this time of year.

Not a lot of people who travel in Kazakhstan know that the country has a booming winter sports industry. You’ll find it easy to get work volunteering in the various ski resorts around the country. Some of the most well-known ski resorts include: Ridder, Talgar, and Akbulak.


There’s no denying that this is not an easy place to work and travel in. You need to deal with a big language barrier and a way of life that’s so different from the developed world. Expect a lot of culture shock when you first enter the country.

Central Asian culture is alive and well, so expect a warm welcome. As you work and travel in Kazakhstan you’ll discover that most people simply want to know what a foreigner is doing in the country. They’re more curious than anything else about visitors as so few of their own people leave the country.

But don’t make the mistake of assuming this is a backwards country. It still has a large expat population through the oil and gas industries that brings aspects of Western culture into specific areas of the country.

Are you ready to take on Kazakhstan?

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on Jan 22 2018 by Yara

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