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Moving to Uzbekistan

Expats moving to Uzbekistan will find that, thanks to the Uzbek government’s efforts, the country's GDP is steadily increasing year by year.

The expat population of Uzbekistan may be fairly small but it is gradually expanding. The main drivers of the Uzbek economy are gas, oil and gold and most expats work as senior management professionals in one of these industries.

The official language of the country is Uzbek, although Russian is also spoken by some. Very few Uzbek people speak fluent English, so a basic knowledge of Uzbek or Russian is recommended. Those planning on living in Uzbekistan for an extended period should consider enrolling in a local language course to make the transition smoother.

The rate of crime in Uzbekistan is generally quite low, and violent crime is rare. However, street crime is on the rise in big cities, especially in the capital, Tashkent. Expats should exercise caution late at night and on public transport, where most pickpocketing incidents occur.

Healthcare in Uzbekistan isn't on par with standards in Western Europe or North America and there's a serious shortage of doctors and medical facilities. While the Uzbek government is trying to reform the medical system, it's best for expats to seek treatment in private hospitals. Many expats travel abroad for more complex medical procedures.

Expat families relocating to Uzbekistan with children should keep in mind that there are only a handful of international schools in the country.

While most Uzbeks are Muslim, Uzbekistan is a very tolerant nation, so expats shouldn’t have any difficulties practising their religion freely here. Regardless, expats should always demonstrate respect for local etiquette and should dress modestly.

Essential Info for Uzbekistan

Population: About 32 million

Capital city: Tashkent 

Neighbouring countries: Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the east, Tajikistan to the southeast, Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the southwest.

Geography: As a result of its geographic position, Uzbekistan is an extremely dry country and is primarily comprised of desert terrain with some mountainous areas.

Political system: Authoritarian presidential republic

Major religions: Islam

Main languages: Uzbek and Russian

Money: The local currency is the Uzbekistani som (UZS). Uzbekistan is still very much a cash-based society, so bank cards are not commonly used. ATMs are scarce, and those that are available malfunction often.

Tipping: It isn't common or expected to tip in Uzbekistan. Some upmarket restaurants may add a 10 percent service fee to the bill.

Time: GMT+5 

Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz. Plugs with two rounded pins are used throughout the country.

Internet domain: .uz

International dialing code: +998

Emergency contacts: 101 (fire), 102 (police), 103 (ambulance)

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road in Uzbekistan. In Tashkent, local public transport consists of taxis, buses, trolleybuses, trams and trains.

Public Holidays in Uzbekistan

 

2020

2021

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Defenders of the Motherland Day

14 January

14 January

International Womens Day

8 March

8 March

Nowruz

21 March

21 March

Remembrance Day

9 May

9 May

Eid al-Fitr

23-26 May

13-14 May

Eid al-Adha

30-31 July

19-20 July

Independence Day

1 September

1 September

Teacher's Day

1 October

1 October

Constitution Day

8 December

8 December

*Islamic holidays are subject to change based on sightings of the moon.

The number of public holiday days allocated for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may vary.

Education and Schools in Uzbekistan

Education and schooling in Uzbekistan has been going through continuous reform since 1991 when the country became independent. The local curriculum has been criticised as being too focused on rote learning but there has been movement towards subjects with a practical orientation.

There are a few international schools in Uzbekistan, most often located in the capital city, Tashkent. International schools are usually the best option for expat families as they typically lessen the disruption of the move, especially if children are able to attend a school that allows teaches their home curriculum in their first language. 


Public schools in Uzbekistan

When it comes to public schooling in Uzbekistan, the most immediate obstacle is the language barrier. Of the country's close to 11,000 public schools, the vast majority (almost 9,000) teach in Uzbek. The second most common language of instruction is Russian, used as the main language at fewer than 1,000 public schools across Uzbekistan. There are no public schools that teach in English.

Public schooling in Uzbekistan is therefore only recommended for those whose children already have proficiency in Uzbek or who are young enough to still pick up the language easily. Furthermore, local schools are often difficult to adjust to in terms of culture. For this reason, only families staying in Uzbekistan for the long term tend to consider this an option.


Private and international schools in Uzbekistan

Prior to 2017, there was little to no private school presence in Uzbekistan. However, as part of the reform of the education system, the government has recently begun to offer incentives to those establishing private schools. This has resulted in many new private schools opening in Uzbekistan. 

Private schools choose their own language of instruction. There are a number of international schools in Tashkent geared towards expats from certain countries. In the case of international schools, teaching is in the language of the school's country of origin, which is often English.

International school fees are usually pricey, so if expat parents are relocating to Uzbekistan for work purposes it's worthwhile trying to negotiate the inclusion of education expenses in the relocation package.

International Schools in Uzbekistan

Expat families will have a relatively small selection of international schools to choose from in Uzbekistan. These tend to be located in the capital city, Tashkent. The most commonly taught curriculum throughout these schools is that of the UK, although there are schools offering alternatives such as the French or American system.

International schools can often ease the transition of moving to a new country, as children will be around those who have had similar experiences. In addition, international schools are the only schools in Uzbekistan with English as their main teaching language.

Below is a list of international schools in Uzbekistan.


International schools in Uzbekistan

The British School of Tashkent

The British School of Tashkent (BST) is the city's only international school to offer a joint British-Uzbek curriculum. The school's student body of 600 is diverse, being made up of more than 30 nationalities. Currently, BST caters for students from Early Years to Year 12, with Year 13 and A-Levels being added in the future. With a typical student-teacher ratio of 11:1, students are sure to receive the individual attention they need to thrive. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE, A-Levels and Uzbek
Ages: 2 to 18

CIS International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Secondary (including IGCSE), A-Levels and Uzbek
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.cisedu.com

Ecole Française de Tachkent

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 2 to 18
Website: www.ecole-francaise-tachkent.com

Tashkent International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 2 to 18
Website: www.tashschool.org

Expat Experiences in Uzbekistan

When considering a move to a new city, there is nothing more useful than hearing real-life stories and experiences from other expats who have lived there. We'd love to hear about your expat experiences. Please contact us if you live or have lived in Uzbekistan and would like to share your story.

Rachael is an ESL teacher. After living in two other countries, she decided it was time for a new challenge. This brought her to a new life in Uzbekistan. With friendly locals and a rise in demand for English teachers, she believes this is a country expats should keep an eye on. Read more about her life as an expat.

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