Where we work / Uzbekistan
Once a major hub on the ancient Silk Road, Uzbekistan is rich in history and brimming with hospitality.
Located in Central Asia, this sunny, warm country welcomes our teachers with open arms. Surrounded by Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan, this double-landlocked, youthful country is a melting pot for many diverse people groups, including many former Soviet populations. You’ll experience a friendly, hosting culture through sharing of coffee/tea, sweets, and snacks, as well as humorous and heart-felt conversation.
ELIC recently experienced an open door to serve both educators and students at the university and high school levels in the capital city of Tashkent. After hosting online and in-person teaching programs, long-term and summer program placements are available. These teachers will develop programs in local K-12 schools, community centers, and universities. Join new and veteran teachers as we pioneer exciting opportunities in beautiful Uzbekistan!
Describe the weekly work schedule and hours for the role.
In most cases, you’ll be on campus Monday-Friday teaching three 45-minute classes per day with a maximum of 16 hours per week. There are weekly faculty meetings as well as some office hours each week to give you the opportunity to spend more time with students. The school offers a shared office space, providing opportunities to interact with other colleagues. On occasion, you may be asked to replace some of your teaching hours with extracurricular activities like organizing English corners.
How will the teacher engage non-ELIC faculty & teachers at this school?
You will become fast friends and share staff meetings, office spaces, and have plenty of opportunities to get to know one another outside the classroom setting. Uzbek culture is a hosting culture, so be prepared to invite people for tea, coffee, sweets, and for people to show up unannounced.
What is the student demographic?
For K–12 private schools, you will most likely be teaching middle-school level. Students come from affluent families and have often had cross-cultural experiences—sometimes in an English-speaking country. They will be somewhere between bilingual and trilingual depending on their English level, but they will know Russian and Uzbek. You will find them energetic, curious, and easily excitable.
What will my first week look like? How will you help me get my life overseas started?
When teachers arrive in Tashkent, they will settle into their apartments, clean, and rearrange furniture (most apartments are furnished). Within the first few days, they will have their internet set up, get a local SIM card, learn the transportation system, and spend a bit of time learning some survival-level language skills. We will spend a week or two getting a feel for where we live, understanding how to shop, how to order, etc. Then, we will introduce you to the school. You will meet with HR, get a campus ID card, see your offices, get to know the other teachers, and get your teaching schedule. Your team leader, along with a local, will you get what you need.
What does ongoing professional/personal development look like?
For personal development, our goal is to provide a team setting where everyone is growing and helping each other. We try to create an environment where people thrive—with good emotional intelligence, healthy boundaries, opportunities for exercise, getting out in the community, and exploring—whatever it takes to create healthy rhythms in all aspects of your life. The team works together and each individual creates their own personal growth plans. It’s not that we create them to be accountable, but so we can encourage each other to grow. Every city team will have a teaching specialist to help encourage good professional growth. For professional development, we work with your institution to identify what their professional development goals are and how we can come alongside and develop that. We also encourage our teachers to be observed once per semester and receive feedback. New teachers are paired with mentor teachers who guide them through the first semester. Teams meet regularly to talk about academic endeavors and at least once per semester, the teaching specialist will host a professional development seminar.
What is it like to raise a family overseas?
Uzbekistan is a family-loving society, and there are a number of foreigners with children that we engage with often. It is very common that your teaching colleagues will be married with children. If you have children, you will fit right in and see how much the Uzbeks value and enjoy children, making them a part of everything they do. The challenge for some older children is that things they’re used to in North America are not as readily available in Uzbekistan (food, types of play places they’re accustomed to, etc.). However, you will find that there are mini-malls with play places, trampoline parks, ice skating opportunities, and many parks. You will find that outdoor activities are quite common such as hiking and camping. There are also international private schools that are well run and established where you can be introduced to other foreign families.
What are some things I might do to contribute to my team if my spouse is teaching, but I’m not?
There are many opportunities to make connections with spouses who are not in a teaching position. The greatest opportunity is for hospitality. Hospitality is highly valued in Uzbek culture. People go out for meals, tea, play games, shop, etc. Co-laboring spouses will find that they are able to make deep roots in society because they will make friends with both Uzbek and foreign spouses. They will have opportunities to engage with other teammates and with other homeschooling teachers (if that is their choice), and others in the community. You will also find that you have access to language learning, helping out with English corners, and interacting with students and faculty.
What kind of housing will I have? How far away are housing options from the school and other teammates?
The majority of the available housing comes fully furnished. Most living spaces have one or two bedrooms, a living space, a kitchen, and a bathroom. At times, the rooms are quite large and vast. They are set up so you can entertain people. Our goal is to ensure you are within walking distance of your school. We place our teachers in safe areas so they can walk freely during the day and in the evenings. We make sure that housing is secure with proper locks and security protocols. Our goal is to ensure that people are located as close to each other as possible—within walking distance because having the team more central and together is important.
What are some surprising things I might learn after the first 60 days?
Within two days, you can easily get around the city, use mobile phones, navigate apps to order food, and get around. They will be surprised to find how helpful Uzbek people are to get them orientated and situated. Within the first week, you will also be amazed at how easy it is to bargain at the bazaar and find great shopping places. You will be surprised at how independent you feel within the first few weeks. You might be surprised that some of your rhythms won’t work because when people want to get together, they’ll really want to spend a lot of time with you.
What is the team structure like? How often are formal meetings, and what do they entail?
Every team has a team leader and they have a formal meeting at least once per week. Team meetings are often full of fun activities, shared meals, and opportunities for discussion around deeper things. Faculty and academic meetings are not added to these meetings, they are separate so they can stay focused and efficient. The positive thing about team structure is that you get to speak about what team looks like. For some, they like to have clear start and end times, and for others, they prefer to be fluid. Team is an important part of our success in any country. Team is a safe space, it is a fun space, and it’s a serious space. It’s something that you will find you look forward to and enjoy!