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Living in Tajikistan
A practical guide to the way of life in Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a beautiful, mountainous country slowly modernizing after its former Soviet status. The country’s remote location and economic struggles can make some aspects of life challenging for expats, but there are also many pluses to life in Tajikistan, such as the natural beauty of the area.
Life in Tajikistan
Healthcare in Tajikistan
Since the Soviet era, Tajikistan has struggled to maintain the quality of its health care system due to a lack of government funding and the movement of many health care professionals out of Tajikistan after 1991. As a result, health care standards have declined and medical equipment remains in short supply.
Outside of the country’s capital city, Dushanbe, medical facilities are either very basic or nonexistent. As such, expats are strongly advised to make sure that their health insurance also covers the cost of private medical treatment in Tajikistan as well as keep open the option for seeking medical treatments in other countries if necessary.
Education in Tajikistan
Public education in Tajikistan currently consists of primary and secondary education from year one to year eleven, and the government plans to add a twelfth year by 2016. Despite its poverty, the country has a high literacy rate due to an old system of free education from the Soviet era still being in place.
For expats and their kids, there are very few public schools that will cater to the needs of the international community. Expat families living in the capital city may be interested in enrolling their children in Dushanbe International School (DIS), a private international school for kindergarten, primary, and secondary school aged pupils established in 1997, attracting a community of families from over 23 different countries. The school has a wide range of subjects and extracurricular activities, and also offers students the option of gaining important UK qualifications including GCSEs and AS levels. Lessons are taught in English, Tajik, and Russian.
Transportation in Tajikistan
Dushanbe International Airport is Tajikistan’s main airport and one of the busiest within the former USSR. Tajikistan is a landlocked country so most transportation is by rail or road. Tajikistan’s rail system is limited to only 680 kilometers (420 miles) of track and is in some areas dangerous because of its age and lack of maintenance.
Due to the limited rail network, around 90% of transportation in Tajikistan is by car. In Tajikistan people drive on the right hand side of the road. International and foreign licenses are accepted, however, expats planning to stay in the country for more than three months need to apply for a ‘talon,’ a card for recording any traffic offences.
For their own safety, expats living in Tajikistan are not recommended to drive off the main roads because most roads outside of the main towns tend to be poorly maintained and dangerous, especially in mountainous areas. There, heavy snowfall in winter can cause severe hazards, disruptions and cancellations to all forms of transport.
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