If you are recently arrived in the lovely city of Almaty, welcome! If you are yet to arrive, we can’t wait for you to see this beautiful part of the world! The Almaty International Women’s Club is an international group, with many members who know just what its like to come from abroad and make a home in a very different place.
As part of our welcome to new arrivals, we asked our members what their tips would be and this is what they wanted to share:
Things to Bring
- Spices and spice mixes (taco seasoning, chili seasoning, vanilla paste etc)
- Vegemite or whatever other comfort food your home country does that you just know you won’t be able to get anywhere else.
- Prescription and over the counter medications for you and your family/dog etc, common meds like paracetamol are easy enough to get but they may not be the brand you like, or in the form/shape you are used to, its also worth having a copy of any important medical records.
- Cosmetics and toiletries (if you have a favourite moisturiser do bring spares!), including sunscreen (it’s QUITE expensive here).
- Coffee capsules and pain killers with caffeine, if that’s what you need!
- English board games and books (childrens and adults)
- Children’s clothes – there are plenty of children’s clothing shops here, including H&M Kids, but prices are a little higher than in other countries.
Do once you’re here
- Learn Russian or at least start learning the characters and sounds of the Cyrillic alphabet, and if you can make a start before you arrive you’ll be more prepared than most! If you are super motivated you might even learn a few words of Kazakh.
- Join expat support groups such as FB groups (Expats in Kazakhstan, Almaty Expats, Expats in Almaty) and the AIWC.
- Investigate all the supermarket options (non exhaustive list of supermarkets):
- Metro has a great range of expat friendly items and is great if you are a beef eater (Kaz Beef is the brand you must look out for)
- Colibri and Galmart also have a great range
- Magnum is more limited but you can still buy wine, beer and spirits (spirits not till after midday though)
- Instagram – Insta is HUGE here so everyone has a presence on this platform, follow any business you are interested in (including AIWC – we’re on both Instagram and Facebook).
- Kaspi is a bank account and widespread here; its very useful if you’re going to use Yandex or shop at any of the markets; it has a great in-app shop with good deals, see if you can learn all the features (though it’s only in Russian so you may want to get a Russian speaking friend to help!).
- Translation apps such as Google Translate or Yandex Translate – many of us use Google Translate with its handy real time camera function, but some members have found Yandex’s translation app to be more accurate.
- Whatsapp is a messaging app which everyone uses – particularly useful if you want to communicate with a business and there is a language barrier!
- 2Gis is SUPERIOR to Google Maps here in Kazakhstan.
- Yandex is the Uber of Kazakhstan… but way cheaper than you’re probably used to.
Keep in mind
Everything seems to take longer to achieve here, and supermarkets do not always stock what you were hoping them to stock, so do manage your expectations, and join a network such as the AIWC and use it – ask your network everything and anything, there’s always someone who has been there or done that and can help you!
If you want to find out more about joining our club, please check out the membership page. If you want to sign up here and now follow this link:
Welcome and enjoy!