You can be forgiven for knowing little about Azerbaijan, despite this exotic land having a vast ancient history, at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was first established in 1918 and was soon after incorporated into the Soviet Union; it wasn’t until 1991 when Azerbaijan gained its independence. A predominantly Muslim nation with heavy influences from both the east and west, Azerbaijan is now a fascinating country which bears both the scars and riches of a number of passing ancient empires, with a bright population expressing lots of post-Soviet enthusiasm as the country continues to invest in modernization, much helped by its oil rich land.
The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku, a lively cosmopolitan city on the Caspian coast, which is a perfect example of a boomtown. Expect to see a horizon being taken over by modern tower blocks and shiny new skyscrapers, while down below the latest sports cars pass suited office workers, and young hipsters head to trendy new bars and restaurants, all set around the city’s ancient buildings and monuments. Out in to the country you’ll find a contrasting picture of traditional communities and age-old villages, much of which are still heavily set around the farming industry, with a backdrop of the epic Caucasus mountains. For peace and tranquillity, Southern Azerbaijan is dotted with quaint coastal towns and villages, while for those seeking adventure, Northern Azerbaijan is where you’ll find rugged mountain cultures.
Teaching English in Azerbaijan
This is a country undergoing dramatic, positive change. Demand for English teachers in Azerbaijan is huge, especially for those able to teach business English, as English begins to take over Russian as the language of international trade, industry and technology. Here and now is the perfect time and place for teachers both new and veteran to experience a country full of excitement and enthusiasm to learn the English language.
This is still a country with a poor (but improving) infrastructure, so don’t head here to make your fortune, but inexperienced teachers with a 120 hour TEFL course to their name can still expect to earn around 1000 to 1500 $US, while those with a degree and some experience will be able to find teaching jobs in Baku’s International schools and universities paying anything from 3000 $US and upwards. Despite being a Muslim country the capital tends to work to a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working week, with most schools complying to this. The cost of living can be high, especially in the capital, but you should be able to find a comfortable apartment and lifestyle on wages of 1500 $USD per month (those earning less than this will need to come with significant savings or be willing to lie without certain luxurious and comforts).
Despite the great opportunities and high demand for TEFL teachers in Azerbaijan, there is still plenty of red tape which can be off-putting. Foreigners wishing to work in Azerbaijan require a letter of invitation from a company or contact in the country in order to enter, whilst those looking to stay for more than 30 days need to register with local police within the first 3 days of entering the nation. This makes all the more reason to use a reputable agency or school to secure work and get help with all the paperwork and immigration rules.
Neft Dashlar is both the first and largest town to be built on stilts. Situated on the Caspian Sea, the town was built over the late 1940′s and early 1950′s.
Azerbaijani’s love their tea, it’s by far the most popular drink here. Tea in Azerbaijan is traditionally served in pear shaped glasses, with sugar often replaced by jam as a sweetener.
The breathtaking Burning Mountain of Absheron is ablaze all year round, due to natural gas which seeps through the ground.
Famous Azerbaijani’s include former world chess champion Garry Kasparov who was born in the capital, Baku, and Teymur Rajabov, the youngest chess Grand Master, aged 14-years-old.
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