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Zviad Mchedlishvili, 32, from Pavlodar


I lived in Kazakhstan for 18 years. I was born in Pavlodar. I graduated from school and moved to Georgia to study. I was always keen on the idea to move there. Having left Kazakhstan, I realized what nostalgia and homesickness really are. I always compare the country, cities, streets, courtyards. Seeing the Kazakhs in the street I seem to get a charge and want all the passers-by to know who these people are. Arriving in Kazakhstan, breathing in the air and feeling the odor of the wormwood, steppe and fresh frost, I feel great.

Initially it was quite difficult to get adjusted. I lived at my relatives’, then lived on my own for a while. Studying in Tbilisi I used to go to Kazakhstan on holidays, as my family was living there at that time.

Now I’m a journalist. I deal with various media projects such as documentary filming for media is developed in Georgia. Any ideas can be easily realized here.

Georgian climate, architecture, and cuisine are different from Kazakhstani

I came to Georgia before the Rose Revolution which changed a lot. In 2002-2003 there had been many problems not peculiar to Kazakhstan at that moment – power interruptions, crime, the lack of street lighting, central heating, public transport, etc. If the situation hadn’t changed, I’d have come back, but the country was lucky to have the things altered. Soon Georgia became the leader in terms of positive changes. I don’t regret of moving at all.


Georgia and Kazakhstan are different countries. Today my Georgian friends don’t believe that the temperature in Pavlodar goes below 40°C in winter. Russian isn’t wide-spread here and people don’t speak it mostly. The youth speak English as the second language. Besides, the level and quality of life in Georgia and Kazakhstan differ a lot. Some matters are better in Kazakhstan, some matters are not. For example, the Georgians face unemployment and problems of lower pension, yet state services such as houses of justice, community centers are more developed here. Georgians can receive documents, register IP, and launch startups at home or by visiting one institution only. Georgian passport enables you travel in Europe without visas. Local shops have more quality European products than in Kazakhstan. By the way, European products are much cheaper than Russian ones. Unfortunately, there’s almost no horse meat, shuzhuk or kazy, except for a few restaurants, as locals don’t eat it. Anyway, nostalgic Kazakhstanis can find Kazakhstani flour products and juices here. As for prices, the difference is not big, some segment is more expensive, some is cheaper. Utilities are more expensive here, as Georgia imports the fuel. Hot water supply and heating systems use gas.

In spite of being closely connected with Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures, Georgians aren’t so European as Kazakhs in some terms. A Kazakh’s day starts earlier, Kazakhstanis are more punctual and more responsible. Drivers in Kazakhstan are more “European” than in Georgia. The Georgians, being Caucasians, are unhurried, kind, and think that they never owe anything to anyone.

A Kazakh has vacation twice a year, while a Georgian has it daily after the workhours

Kazakhstanis tend to hurry home after work, whereas Georgians prefer meeting with friends, even though they have to get up and go to work the next morning. To spend free time on sleeping when you’re full of energy isn’t usual for Georgia. Georgians are more emotional and quick-tempered, yet fervor can swiftly disappear.

You feel free living in Georgia. That is the thing that marks it apart from other post-Soviet countries. It attracts many people as there’s no censorship or pressure. You can do whatever you like and say whatever you think. There’re many expats having original ideas not realized in their countries. Locals are quite fussy and non-responsible, though many feel themselves at ease here. Foreigners are warmly treated.

People who come to Georgia are attracted by hospitality, freedom and opportunities.

Aliya Dzhimran, 33, from Uralsk


I've been living in Tbilisi for a year and a half. Being a freelancer, I didn’t face any difficulties for I can live wherever I want. I used to work in Almaty, Astana, in Kiev, in the west. I arrived in Tbilisi in 2015 for the first time. It was the annual "Tbilisi Open Air" festival with Boris Grebenshchikov and Zemfira performing. I’d had no expectations, yet there was a misconception that the country had a warlike atmosphere. Anyway, we were pleasantly surprised.

Georgians, climate, and the environment are astonishing

Tbilisi is a warm, interesting and suitable city for me. Here I can easily realize myself. My friends helped me find the accommodation. I had no work problems as the only thing I need for work is the Internet. The first thing I paid attention to is the need to communicate. Wherever you go you talk with people more than in Kazakhstan. That’s some kind of emotional exchange. I'm used to it now, but initially it was a bit strange.

Six months later I started guiding the "Vintage Tbilisi" walking tour. I showed the charming dilapidation of houses, architecture, real history of the city. The old part of Tbilisi attracts by the atmosphere of creativity. Coming to the country and seeing the touristy places, you have no time to feel the real city, since the most valuable things are hidden in the courtyards and in the back streets. Tourists need someone to guide them to such places. Now I’m transferring the tour into online so that tourists could use it on their devices. I’m planning to live in Tbilisi as my family is here.


Both Georgians and Kazakhs are hospitable and open. Kazakhstanis like coming here. I like Georgian food. There’s a restaurant that has revived about 400 recipes from Princess Barbare Jorjadze’s cookbook. Georgian cuisine is spicy and rich, it suits vegetarians in spite of the belief to have too much meat. It’s diverse, I’m constantly discovering new dishes. There’re many mouthwatering meals, each region has special recipes. Georgia is the homeland of wine and cheese.

Georgian is the main language. Many from the CIS countries move to Tbilisi. There’s a diaspora of Kazakhstanis that support and treat each other like real relatives.

I feel myself at home here. I love the architecture, legends and history

The ones who are in need of creative feed should come to Tbilisi. Time flows quite differently, there’s no tension and stress. City is permeated with relax and harmonious chaos.

Gulnara Natradze, 57, from Astana and Karatau


My family and I used to live in Karatau. I graduated from the university in Almaty, then started an art school in Karatau, and headed it for ten years. In 2001 we moved to Georgia as we’d spent holidays and had always been dreaming of staying there. Initially it was difficult, so neighbors and friends helped us a lot. We earned as we could. Different language, mentality and religion were quite difficult to get used to, anyway we adjusted.

Initially I made costumes for theaters, then started to co-work with famous designers. Spending time with creative people was really fascinating. Later I was invited to make costumes for “Midioda matarebeli” and "Jaqo’s dispossessed" movies. I was missing Kazakhstan at that moment. Later I started teaching pupils drawing and opened an art studio in the center of Tbilisi. Each student has an album on Facebook with their paintings stored, as parents are happy to see the results their children achieve at the studio. We’re going to have a joint exhibition with Russian colleagues.

I’ve learned Tbilisi, its old houses, beautiful streets. Sometimes I share interesting places with other people and conduct small excursions. I used to be amazed by people’s unwillingness to hurry anywhere.


Residents of big cities are used to waking up early and going on business, whereas life in Tbilisi begins later.

It was hard to get used to a great many holy holidays here. Shops or banks are closed on such holidays, which is quite inconvenient sometimes.

I don’t understand the reason Georgians walk in shoes at home. Kazakhstanis like Georgia for the lack of big traffic jams. The distance between cities is small, you can easily get to the sea. Resorts to go skiing or visiting waterfall are not so far as well.

I like that Georgian families often go to the countryside on weekends.

Both Georgians and Kazakhstanis are hospitable and kind

There’re many inexpensive creative studios for kids. Prices for rental housing and apartments are the same in both countries. We seem to have a similar mentality with the Georgians, as we have common roots so the Kazakhs feel themselves comfortable in Georgia. Families are patriarchal like in Kazakhstan. However, the Kazakhs tend to show off more.

I love Tbilisi for its beautiful old streets and creative atmosphere. I feel comfortable here. There’re many breathtaking and interesting places. Tbilisi attracts people with interesting cuisine, unusual culture and some kind of communication simplicity.

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