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Almaty with small children?


I could really do with some advice. There is a chance that I will be moving from Moscow to Almaty and there are a few questions that I hope can be answered here. There doesnt seem to be much info on the web, so I really need a heads up on how life will be with a young baby and a 3 year old. If we come it will be with benefits such as housing (not great but something), schooling and good insurance but other than that we will be on our own. SO here goes:

1) I cant drive, is it normal practice to hire a driver in Almaty? If so how much should it cost?

2) Internet. Obviously there is a service, but how good is it?

3) Pre-schools - what options are there outwith the international schools?

4) Is it possible to live in a house out of the town centre, but not so far that we will be isolated or withdrawn from Almaty life?

5) Pollution. How bad is it? Can anyone compare with Moscow?

6) Household help. Is it easy to find a cleaner/nanny? How much does this cost?

7) Realistically, how good a life can my children have here?

8) How expensive is it to fly to the UK from Almaty?

That's it really. FYI, I'm British and have lived in Moscow for 4 years. I have some enough Russian to get by and my husband is fluent, but I intend to do an intensive course when I arrive (amongst other things, which is why I need help with the children).

Thanks for your time. I really hope that someone can make the time to respond to my questions


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