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Scots in Kazakhstan on how to fall in love with Shymkent pilaf and protect own culture


Scots in Kazakhstan on how to fall in love with Shymkent pilaf and protect own culture

Phil Dust, 47 years old, hometown — Brighton, a biology teacher


About moving

I came to Kazakhstan in August 2018 and chose Almaty because of the pleasant climate, perfect winter which the UK doesn't have and of course because of the mountains.

About Kazakhstan

I came with my wife and seven-year-old son. We live in the Zhetisu-2 area, and locals already know us. They are friendly and welcoming.

On weekends, my family and I try getting outside of the city. Our favourite place — Shymbulak. We also love the sweet bustle of the Green Bazaar. My son loves Mega Mall. He usually has fun in the children's area, and we enjoy a steak at Crudo.

About culture similarities and differences

I'm not a full-blooded Scotsman, but my maternal great-grandfather came to Burnley in the 1900s to work as a lawyer in wool factories. Our attachment to Scotland is very strong. It's an incredibly beautiful place.

Scots as Kazakhs fiercely protect their culture and like the Kazakhs, they protect it friendly and benevolent, unlike the British. The harsh winter also is common in our culture.

Sterling is my favourite Scottish city, and we visited it often. As a big fan of Rugby, I can say that the best stadium in the UK — Murrayfield is located in Scotland. Nothing impresses as much as a lone piper on the roof of the stadium before the six Nations Cup match.

About plans

I plan to live in Kazakhstan. At least until my son finishes elementary school. He is studying at Galaxy International School, so we will live here for at least five years.

Ross Belfor, 62 years old, hometown — Edinburgh, retiree


About the trip

I visited Kazakhstan in November 2018. I came to Almaty and managed to visit Shymkent.

I know about Kazakhstan long ago, since the Nevada-Semey movement. Then I was interested in this country. I included Kazakhstan in my retirement list, where I noted the places I want to visit on the retirement.

About Kazakhstan

I knew that in ancient times the Kazakhs were nomads and your people have well-developed poetry. Most of all I liked the Kazakh ornaments. I even bought myself a felt cap, which depicts traditional Kazakh ornaments — my main souvenir from the trip.

Almaty is a soulful city, which is a mixture of business and resort centre. Mountains are an amazing eyeful, the most important attraction of the city. I do not know skiing and snowboarding but still climbed the Shymbulak. Another favourite place was the Medeu rink and everything around is amazing.

I fell in love with enterprising and warm Shymkent people. In Shymkent, I eat the most delicious pilaf. In Scotland, I was introduced to this dish by a friend from Uzbekistan but Shymkent pilaf throws in the shade everything. I fell in love with this food and am trying to learn how to cook it at home.

About culture similarities and differences

Scots love the traditions as well as the Kazakhs. We are ready to stand up for ourselves and our history, but we always do it delicately.

Scots are spoiled for their popularity in the world. Everyone knows Scotland, plaid skirt and the sound of bagpipes. Kazakhstan is lucky as its culture still can surprise the world, give the Western world a fresh look at the usual things.

I noticed that the Kazakh mentality different from traditional Asian. This is a middle between the Western and Eastern mentality.

About plans

I plan to finish travelling from my list and enjoy life with my family in peace.

Jack Gordon, 30 years old, hometown — Edinburgh, manager

Jack Gordon.jpg

About the trip

I visited Kazakhstan in autumn 2018. It was a working trip, and my company made an arrangement for the raw materials supply for production.

About Kazakhstan

I was for three days in Astana and during this time managed to visit many restaurants and bars. The most favourite was the Irish bar, O'Hara.

The city made an interesting impression, especially surprised by the proximity of the left and right banks, their contrast. The left bank is a symbol of development, freedom of thought and incredible architecture, the right bank is the history of the country with post-Soviet buildings, the private sector and completely different infrastructure. This contrast is spark interest to the city and helps to get acquainted with it.

About culture similarities and differences

Kazakhstanis are business people and know how to negotiate. They are decisive and modest at the same time. The ambitions of the Western world and the etiquette of the Eastern give a productive mix in business.

The locals are friendly and polite. Optimism is the main feature of Kazakhstan, which I managed to notice. It's amazing in such a harsh climate.

There are many differences in our cultures from traditional clothing and music to food and housing. But our main similarity is patriotism, a sense of humour and respect for history and culture.

About plans

In the future, I want to visit Almaty because I have heard a lot about this city.

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