Khassiyat is a teacher, philology of English and French languages. She has been working as a deputy director in the Academy of Languages in Shymkent. In search of some challenges, she passed entry exams to be an English teacher in Nazarbayev Intelectual School (NIS). After a while, she has been working there for five years as a deputy director in external relations. Meanwhile got a master degree in Educational Leadership at Nazarbayev University.
Currently, Khassiyat is gaining international experience for improving her teaching experience and working at one of the Singaporean schools in Jakarta. She was always interested in Singapore as a country and was always thinking why this country’s education and economics are among the best ones.
You are currently working in Indonesia, could you please tell us how did you end up being in Jakarta, what’s the work culture difference?
Working as a recruiter of international teachers for 5 years, I know what I was looking for. So to find a job wasn’t a big deal for me. Finalizing the options, I got three. I had a School in Cyprus and Abu-Dhabi, but Indonesian option appeared to be more suitable. The educational system and climate were more appealing.
In Kazakhstan, we still have this Soviet culture influence and more of authoritarian leadership. What I like here is that teachers have leadership duties. They might be responsible for some projects. They may propose them, lead them and realize by themselves. And deans and principals in their turn just support and guide them. While in Kazakhstan, unfortunately, teachers are afraid to take initiatives. They just take ready-to-go projects and follow certain instructions. There is no creative approach and initiation.
Plus, I really like that for teachers with family the school provides support and some good conditions. School reminds to not spend too much time at work, go home in time and spend weekends with family. However, in Kazakhstan, I experienced that quite often I had to put my personal life and family in second place and be fully at work. For that I really love that here I can have a real work-life balance. Here people really Live and Work.
How your family reacted to the idea of moving abroad?
First of all, my immediate family was a bit skeptic about this, but after a while and now I think they are quite positive about this decision. We saw and experienced many things here and we feel that our mindset is much wider now. But my family, like parents and relatives, were in total shock. They were trying to change our mind, saying that it would be hard to live in a foreign country. I don’t know why but they were thinking that working in a different country means hard and for little money. Or working in some constructions work illegally. Many don’t realize that there are plenty of opportunities out there. That you can officially work somewhere in favorable conditions, develop yourself and travel. A lot of people don’t know about that. I guess it happened to me because I, myself, was closely working with expats.
What challenges did you face?
First, the food is different here. Since we are with children, we were trying to adapt to the local cuisine for quite a long time. Managing to find something close to our dishes and to find out how appropriate or harmful would it be for us. But now, we could say we are already getting used to it.
Climate. We worried it about, but the good thing is quite mild here. It’s not so much of a hot weather as in Shymkent. We haven’t experienced rainy season yet. There are some earthquakes in other parts, but fortunately not in Jakarta.
I guess challenges were mostly about the trip itself since Indonesia is quite far from Kazakhstan. Now we are planning to go back for winter holidays to Kazakhstan. Long flights with small children are quite an experience.
Differences in culture (Kazakh and Indonesian)
What I found amazing is that since we have some Arabic roots in our history, the language appealed is not absolutely unknown. Some words I can understand. So in terms of language, it’s not that much of a barrier. And the majority of people can understand or even talk in English made our life much easier. Even in places like shop or street market, you can somehow find people who know some English. Compare to Kazakhstan, in Shymkent, it’s quite rare to find someone who understands English on Samal or Aina bazaar.
People are very kind here. They adore children. My children are not passed by without some way of affection: people can gently squeeze their cheeks, hug, kiss or say “Hi” to them. In terms of culture, I can not say much since most of the time I spent in school and our school is a secular one. So I feel that I’m more in China rather in Indonesia.
Work life balance. How do you manage to work and at the same time having a family and raising kids?
I guess since we are not having any other plans we had at home country, the work-life balance is going pretty well here. I have enough time to simply have rest, see the sightseeing, travel and to spend more time with family. Before, just to go out somewhere, feed the fish in the park or just swim in the swimming pool was a rare case. Maybe just a few times during the whole summer holidays. The rest of the time both of us were busy at work. But here it’s another case. First, the work finishes quite early for me, like 4 pm and the whole evening we can just walk, play or go out eating somewhere. It’s very nice to be with the family here. We already explored some of the parks and beaches.
In raising kids I have a big support from my husband, who is at home now and takes care of the youngest. There are not much of household tasks here and two of my older kids are already helping me with that. We do everything together with the whole family. We cook and clean after ourselves together.
Learning points and advice for our readers
What I can say about work?! Well, work is everywhere work, in Kazakhstan or Indonesia. You should take it easy. There won’t be a time when there is no work or there’s less of it. That’s the idea of work. To keep us occupied and to grow. You mustn’t work with all full head in it. You should know when it’s enough. Planning would make that easy: today you do one list of things, tomorrow do another. We should be realists. Our guiltiness is that we are perfectionists. It comes from Soviet times like we must do five-year plans. Under terrible pressure, blood on the floor, we must accomplish it. But how realistic is that or is it really needful, we don’t give a thought about that. We should consciously think about work, don’t be in hurry and enjoy the process.
In family-related things, I can not say I’m a role-model. Coming here made me realize how many precious moments and family years I missed. And all for work. Being even in maternity leave, I was leaving my two months baby to go to work. I regret that. I should have spent that right time with my kids and spend it with my family. Work is endless and there’s no time when there’s enough money. Once you earn more, you need more. We should try to live for today. To make something good for kids today and have an enjoyable time with them.