In retrospect, would you move again to Azerbaijan?

Hi all,

If you had to look back on your expat experience in Azerbaijan, would you heartily say "let’s do it again"?

From the preparation stage to your actual everyday life in your new country, what did you enjoy the most?

Would you do certain things differently? Could you tell us why?

How would you describe the benefits of your expatriation in Azerbaijan so far?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. We look forward to hearing from you!


It is very doubtful if I would go back there. Anyway, I thought you might like to read this blog I published on another forum.

Back in November 2010 and just about a couple of weeks of arriving in Baku, Azerbaijan, I wrote my first blog, Men in Black and Women in Shades. I stated in that blog that I would write a much broader one after I had settled in. Well, I had settled in okay in Baku but the place still leaves me confused - bemused. Read on . . .

This isn’t a boast but I have either visited or worked in 35 different countries. My expat working life has taken me to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore, Libya, Abu Dhabi, Newfoundland (Canada), Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and back then, Azerbaijan. In all of these countries one could get a feel for a definite cultural / national ethnicity. Each has a unique identity. But try as a may, I just couldn't find that same uniqueness of identity in Azerbaijan.

In fact Azerbaijan is probably one of the lesser know countries in the world. When I told friends and relations I was going to Azerbaijan to work, each to a man or woman would say, “Where is that, Ian?” And you know something, it’s actually difficult to describe where it is. I could reply that it sits on the east coast of the Caspian Sea. I bet you that 95 out of every 100 people just don’t have a clue where the Caspian Sea is anyway!

So let’s dig a bit deeper. Azerbaijan is not in Europe yet it borders Turkey. It was once a Soviet State and it shares a border with Southern Russia. It has a border with Iran but it is not in the Middle East and also shares an Eastern border with Georgia - yes, I can hear you - where is Georgia? It regards itself as a European country but it is not - it definitely is in Asia!

So I suppose one could call it a Central Asian State but not Asian. See what I mean?

Here, the major language is Azeri, closely related to Turkish or Turkmen and when I flick through the various TV channels and I watch Turkish and Azeri programmes, the languages do sound alike. Of course Russian is widely spoken due to the ex-Soviet connection. Unfortunately, English is not widely spoken here and that just adds to the confusion of Azerbaijan. However, I did notice that in the oil industry, where I work, English is spoken widely. But to go to the local shops and supermarkets or get into a taxi, you find yourself having to use sign language!

It’s a Muslim country but you rarely see a mosque. The Azeris I know just don’t want to talk about their religion. I’ve learnt that it is no big deal. Like any oil-rich state like Azerbaijan, there is the rich and the poor. Where I stay, on the 8th floor of an apartment block, I looked down on what can only be described as hovels.

What about music? Well, again, confusion. Azeri music resembles what you’d hear in the Middle East - there is belly dancing and yet, again, if I watch Azeri music stations on TV, it’s all trance and hip-hop!!

For me Azerbaijan has an identity crisis - it has still to find itself. As for the Azeri people - I’ll leave that to those who have worked there.

I would move back to Baku in a minute if I could get an Engineering job there.
I loved the people, culture, and nightlife of that wonderful city.
So if anyone has got any contacts in any companies that requires a very talented and experienced Engineer with Commissioning, Mechanical, or Marine experience to name a few of my skills, that could speed my return to Baku please let me know.

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