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Re: LTC - Language Training Center Astana KAZAKHSTAN - Warning Review - Unethical and Illegal
Disclosure: James Monroe isn't my real name, but I'm an American currently working for LTC. Even though this isn't going to be a bad review, I don't like using my real name on the internet.
To be honest I'm surprised by this intensely negative review for LTC. It really isn't all that bad and the money, students, and co-workers are great! Want to work in a drama-free environment teaching students who are (usually) motivated, and always get paid the amount of money stated on your contract without any shady business? Then come to LTC. Also the apartments they've provided me have all been really nice. I'm writing this in my apartment looking at an amazing view of Astana. I feel really lucky to be here. That's been my experience working at LTC. Also, the boss is not a "sociopath." I see him on a semi-daily basis and he's always interested in my well-being. Really, he's one of the more genuine bosses I've had - especially for an English school!
A few more points I would like to cover that the original poster brought up, because he touched upon some important issues English teachers have to consider:
- The passport. When you're in a foreign country, your passport is you freedom. No passport = no freedom. When I came to LTC the boss asked if I wanted to keep my passport safe at the school. I said "no-thanks" and he said "OK". And that was that. I've given my passport and migration card to him a two times for medical insurance and government papers but he's always given them back ASAP.
- I've been working at LTC since 2017 and I've only seen one administrator leave, and that was so she could be with her family in another city. That's it. No other administrators or local teachers have left or been fired.
- That said, I have seen two foreign teachers leave but I think that was more because of Astana's harsh winter. It's understandable. The cold is real here! If you don't like the cold, I strongly recommend not coming to Astana!
- I haven't seen anything illegal happen at LTC. If the poster was talking about the presentations/advertisements at the schools, this wasn't not illegal at all. Basically you go to a public school and interact with the children in English for a couple minutes. I kind of like it because you can see where your students are coming from and get a glimpse into Kazakh/post-Soviet culture you'll never get otherwise. I've done this a few times, and when I did, we always spoke with the administration, principal, security guard, and teachers (in that order) before doing anything inside the school. Also, don't be scared if you're going to eat or have tea at the school. The food in the Kazakh schools is cheap and often very good because they actually care about what they're children eat!
- Lastly I would like to point out this quote from the original poster: "International Women’s Day: all staff – even those having a rostered-day-off – were expected to attend a bizarre ceremony in which male members of staff regaled female members of staff with speeches. The Employer gave a touching piece about how he wished all the female members of staff to “have many babies”. Attendance was compulsory – those who were late were chased up by the Employer"
-Yes! This kind of thing happens. Because this is Kazakhstan. This is not America or Europe. This is half-way across the world. This is a completely different culture. Here, there are different holidays and practices, and if you don't participate it can be really rude because it's basically like saying you don't care about your coworkers. And to wish women "have many babies" in this context is like a compliment. What's "bizarre" for you is not bizarre for the people here. Chill out and have a little tolerance.