TEFL Course in Tashkent Uzbekistan
Teach English in Uzbekistan: The Complete Guide for TEFL Teachers
Found in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is a landlocked country located to the north of Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan borders it to the West, Tajikistan to the east, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Around 33 million people live there, most of them natives, but you will find other cultures and people from many other countries.
It’s a strong agricultural community, and it also produces oil, gas and minerals. The economy is relatively stable and has a mix of market and planned economic diversity. The country has a president as their head of state but also a Prime Minister who heads up their government. It is a fascinating place to live with history in literature, music, architecture and many other areas. Whenever you start living in a new country, it’s always worth behaving like a tourist for a while. I’m visiting some of these stunning attractions. In Uzbekistan, this includes the Registan Square, the Mausoleum of Timor, the Tien Shan mountain range, the Amudarya River and the Kyzylkum desert.
In 1991, Uzbekistan became independent from the Soviet Union. Until that point, Russian was considered the second language; however, since then, English has taken over. The country is trying to develop close ties with the West. Therefore, they have more of an English influence, including English television programmes and other cultures from the UK and America, which makes English a popular language choice for anyone looking to expand their learning.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about starting a career as an English teacher in Uzbekistan. Learn where to find work, the cost of living, the culture and etiquette, and plenty more so you can decide whether it’s time to head on your next English teaching adventure abroad.
Private Language Schools
There are numerous job opportunities available for English teachers in private language schools across Uzbekistan. Typically, these positions involve instructing adults who want to gain English-speaking skills and often are less interested in written English. However, there may be occasions when you also work with younger students after school hours. Many English teachers like these positions because language schools usually operate on weekends and in the evenings, giving them time off in the day to explore.
Private Bilingual and International Schools
The highest-paid jobs are found at private bilingual and international schools, but teachers will need to meet specific qualification requirements. To apply, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree, have prior teaching experience, possess a TEFL qualification, and, in some instances, hold a teaching license from your home country. These esteemed institutions often provide additional benefits to teachers, such as health insurance or subsidised living costs.
If you’ve secured a job but are concerned that you do not have enough hours and will not earn enough in a month, exploring private tutoring is an option. Many language schools will be open to you taking on tutoring as a secondary source of income, but be sure to check as others consider it a conflict of interest, and you will lose your employment. Establishing your reputation in the area will take time, and you might encounter competition from other English teachers in Uzbekistan with a similar idea.
Another option is to teach English online, provided you have a reliable internet connection. In this case, you can teach people from anywhere in the world. Just be sure that if you are tutoring privately in person or online, you find out the tax rules for self-employed people and adhere to them. It is also worth checking whether your visa and work permit allows you to be self-employed.
If you are considering teaching English in Uzbekistan, you will need to meet the requirements. Generally, teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, which doesn’t have to be specifically in English. You might find the odd position where a teacher can find work with just experience or perhaps a teaching certification, but it is one of the countries that prefer degree applicants. Of course, you do need to have a recognised and accredited TEFL qualification, and English either needs to be your native language or you should have a certificate to confirm that you are proficient enough to teach other people.
Visa Requirements for English Teachers in Uzbekistan
Anyone looking to teach English in Uzbekistan will require a visa and a work permit. You can apply for this at the Uzbekistan embassy in your country, and often, employers will help get this set up for new employees. It is also vital that you take out health insurance as this forms part of the health system in the country. Be sure to check the benefits you are offered with any job, as sometimes it is included in your remuneration package.
Main Locations for Teaching English in Uzbekistan
There are lots of opportunities for English teachers in Uzbekistan, and in most cases, the cities tend to be the most popular option. This means you will have less commuting and be in urban areas rather than rural. The capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent, and it is also the largest urban city. Here, you will find language centres and international schools that are all on the lookout for English teachers. It’s an interesting area full of cultural history with a diverse population. There is plenty to do when you are not at work.
If you are looking to immerse yourself totally in local history, Samarkand has the crown as the historic centre. You will find plenty of cultural attractions and the ancient Silk Road monuments. It is a tourist area that attracts many people every year, and it is slightly more rural than the capital, which some people find preferable.
Bakara is another alternative, and it is found in the west of Uzbekistan. Again, it has a good collection of schools and language centres that are happy to work with English teachers. In terms of size, it is smaller than the other cities and seems to have a much more laid-back approach to life. The area is steeped in history, and there are some gorgeous landmarks and stunning architecture. There are plenty of other areas in Uzbekistan where you will find work as an English teacher, but it does boil down to personal preference and doing a little bit of research to decide what might suit you best.
Culture and Life in Uzbekistan
If you are moving to Uzbekistan with your family, you should be aware that international schools are fee-paying and are only found in Tashkent. It is possible for your child to go to public school, and like most places, this is free education, but it will be taught in Uzbek or Russian, which could be prohibitive. As mentioned, it’s vital that you have health insurance, and you may find the healthcare system lacking when compared with other places in Western Europe or North America. There are not as many medical facilities and doctors as they need. Expats are always advised to use private hospitals for treatment. Many ex-pats will go home if complex treatment is required.
Summers can reach 36°, which is quite hot, and conversely, during winter can plummet to just above freezing. It’s important that you dress for the weather and have good heating inside the home during the winter months. In the summer, you should resist the urge to strip off, as modest dress is seen as acceptable.
Classroom & work culture
No matter where you work, you will be expected to demonstrate professionalism. There is a large emphasis on respecting the hierarchy of your institution and being punctual for work. A full-time contract would be around 40 hours per week, but often, English teachers in Uzbekistan have to make do with part-time hours. Business dress is generally quite relaxed; however, the best tip is always to see what your colleagues are wearing and base your wardrobe choices on that. People in Uzbekistan are generally quite friendly and welcoming to outsiders, so don’t be surprised if you are invited for a drink after work or to someone’s house for a meal. Remember to be polite and don’t be surprised if they are very direct in their communications. Education is seen as essential, and you can always expect respect from your students, as teachers are held in high regard.
Culture & etiquette tips
When meeting someone for the first time, you should offer a handshake and ensure that you smile and make eye contact. It is considered respectful to use someone’s title and surname until you are invited to call them by their first name. If you are invited out to a colleague’s home, be sure to accept; they will likely be generous, and you should express your gratitude to them. When you arrive at their home, it is customary to bring a small gift such as fruit or a cake. When seated at the table, do not begin eating until your host invites you to by saying Bon Appetit or something similar. Never take more food than you can comfortably eat, as it is seen as wasteful and impolite to leave food on your plate.
It’s important to show respect for any cultural and religious traditions. This includes removing your shoes if you are going into a mosque or even someone’s home, remaining modestly dressed at all times, and avoiding any public displays of affection, as this is seen as disrespectful behaviour.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Samarkand, Tashkent, Bukhara, Nukus, Qarshi, Navoi and Andijan.
- The average salary for TEFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of $700-$800 per month.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions.
- Prerequisite university degree: Required for most positions.
- Term times: September–June
- Currency: Som (soum, sum)
- Language: Uzbeki, Turkish and others
- Teaching programmes: Voluntary, Language Schools, Business English, and International Schools
- Age restrictions: None
- Previous teaching experience: If you have a degree and TEFL certification, experience is not vital.
Living costs in Uzbekistan are considered lower than in other places within Europe. When it comes to accommodation, you will find two distinct styles: new builds and old Soviet-style apartments. These older properties tend to offer a more affordable solution, but they do come with maintenance requirements. No matter where you choose to live, the best advice is always to live like a local. There are farmers’ markets offering a range of fresh produce, and these will be cheaper than supermarkets. Eating out is not as expensive as you might think, so the occasional treat is well within budget. The public transport system is incredibly comprehensive and also really affordable. Accommodation costs for renting are generally lower than in a lot of places, and overall, you will find that your salary gives you plenty of money to live on and even save a little.
- Accommodation: $300–$400
- Utilities: $50-$100
- Basic groceries for one person per month: $100 to $150
- Transportation: $10 to $20 per month for a monthly pass for public transportation.
- Restaurant meal for one person: $10 to $20.
- Movie ticket: $5 to $10.
To find the cost-of-living figures, we use Numbeo.com, the world’s largest cost-of-living comparison website.
How much can I earn as an English teacher in Uzbekistan?
Living and working as an English teacher in Uzbekistan means you should be earning in the region of $700-$800 per month.
Is Uzbekistan expensive to live in?
The cost of living in Uzbekistan is generally considered to be lower than some of the other countries in Western Europe. It is certainly cheaper than living in the United States, but remember that everything is relative, and because you do not need as much money to live on, salaries are not as high.
Can I teach English in Uzbekistan without a degree?
Generally, you need a degree to teach English in Uzbekistan. It does not have to be an English degree. You will also need a TEFL certification that is accredited and recognised worldwide.