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Canadians in Kazakhstan about an impression from Astana and Kazakhstanis


Canadians in Kazakhstan about an impression from Astana and Kazakhstanis

Anna Liani, 47 years old, hometown — Montreal, professional singer and songwriter


About the trip

I came to Kazakhstan to sing for Cirque du Soleil REFLEKT. REFLEKT is a unique dynamic acrobatic show created specifically for the EXPO-2017 in Astana. This show presented to the audience a futuristic world that combined the richness of the past, technology and modernity.

The REFLEKT show was inspired by the nomadic lifestyle of the Kazakhs — a mysterious story about the inexhaustible source of human energy on the way to a better future.

About culture similarities and differences

Canadians used to cold weather, as well as Kazakhs.

In my opinion, the worldview of Canadians does not coincide with the Kazakh worldview. Kazakhstan has more conservatism.

Canadians love eye contact, we love handshake and touch is a way to express our feelings. Kazakhs need time to feel comfortable and confident.

We love to party, and I think the Kazakhs are too! I had surprisingly fun moments at karaoke bars.

The Kazakh like music and art because they are sensitive to this energy.

About Kazakhstan

I got great pleasure from the trip to Borovoe Lake. I also managed to visit the wonderful city Almaty, but most of the time I spent in Astana.

I lived in Expo Astana apartments while I was in Astana. My working day held this way: sports, at 15:00 or 16:00 rehearsal or performance in the tent Cirque du Soleil.

In my free time, I visited cafes and restaurants. I liked the food, and it is delicious!

During my stay in Kazakhstan, I met many interesting people. People living in the steppes, hunters, and just the ordinary families. Once I met an old hunter with a hunting eagle. It was an unforgettable experience for me.

I love people in Kazakhstan. They are nice, but sometimes I felt they are not always happy that so many foreigners visit their homeland.

About plans

I would like to come again as a guest singer to Kazakhstan. I love the audience and people, and I love Kazakhstan.

Stephen Millar, hometown — Quebec, former Canadian ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan


About moving

I moved to Kazakhstan in September of 2009, when I started working as Ambassador of Canada. I spent the first year in Almaty and then moved to Astana because a new Canadian Embassy opened in August 2010.

The government of Canada invested in the construction of its own building for the Embassy in Astana as a symbol of the importance of Canada's relations with Kazakhstan. I lived in the Embassy room on the top floor in the city centre, watched the construction of the nearby Astana Opera.

About culture similarities and differences

Kazakhstan and Canada have a lot in common, especially between Kazakhstan and the provinces of Canada, which have almost the same geography and climate. Even President Nazarbayev mentioned that when he visited the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, he thought he was at home in the Kazakh steppe.

Canadians in relation to Kazakhstan impressed not only by the climate and geography but also by the fact that both countries have a history of multiculturalism and tolerance for linguistic, religious and cultural differences. Like Kazakhstan, Canada is a bilingual country, the official languages of which are English and French. Canada supports official multiculturalism as Kazakhstan at a time when many people in the world are against immigration. Canadians generally support immigration what reflected in the racial and linguistic diversity of the population.

About Kazakhstan

I spent more than three years in Astana and was amazed by the dynamics of the city and locals. The pace of growth and construction of new buildings in the city was impressive. I often had to travel for work, and whenever I returned to the city after a short stay abroad, I was surprised that during my absence new buildings were built.

Photography is my hobby, and I spent most of my free time walking around the city and photographing its beauty during four different seasons.

For me, a typical day of the week included a walk to Khan Shatyr complex, where I enjoyed one or two espressos at Gloria Jean's before returning to the office. On weekends I often met with friends and colleagues and talked over a cup in the city centre.

My duties at the Embassy combined communication with officials and representatives of private companies in Canada on Canada's bilateral relations with Kazakhstan, as well as interaction with local Kazakh public and private institutions to develop trade and investment with Canada. The promotion of the Canadian education sector was also an important part of the Embassy's mandate, so I especially liked the communication with Kazakh students. I represented the Embassy at various official events in Astana, like the celebration of Nauryz or Victory Day.

About plans

I retired from Canadian public service after my nomination to Kazakhstan and returned to my hometown Ottawa. I will always keep warm memories of Astana and hope to return to visit in the near future. I wonder what changes I will notice, because Astana is a city in motion, with a changing landscape.

Sebastian Savard, 40 years old, hometown — Roberval, professional musician


About the trip

I came to the world exhibition EXPO-2017 in Astana, performing as a musician in the show Cirque Du Soleil Call Reflekt.

About culture similarities and differences

We are all people and love to laugh, have fun and socialize to become a close person for each other. However, in many aspects, the people of Kazakhstan are different from us. This also applies to the worldview, tradition and way of life. After all, Kazakhstan is an Eastern country, and Canada is a Western one.

About Kazakhstan

I lived in the Expo residence, next to the Mega Silk Way. I spent five days a week in the Cirque Du Soleil Pavilion. I always dined at the Mega Silk Way before going to work. The show started at 20:00, and I had to be there at 18:30 to get ready for makeup for my show and make sure everything was okay.

Astana is impressive. My favourite place was the centre of the city, where located the presidential house. The huge line of parks and buildings in front of the presidential house is fantastic. I also managed to enjoy a walk along the promenade.

I met many good people in Kazakhstan. I made friends with several Kazakhs who looked like Mongols, but some looked like Russians. There is no place in the world where people look like Asians but speak Russian.

About plans

I would like to return to Kazakhstan and see my friends, whom I have met. Who knows, maybe I will be able to visit your country.

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