Aigerim, 25, Choreographer, Toulouse, France
“My Kazakh education is always a plus for me. It very much helps me at work as well as is useful in the job search.”
Koshpendiler: Hi, Aigerim, tell us about yourself please.
Aigerim: Hi, I’m Aigerim, I’m 25 years old. I am a dancer by occupation and by devotion. I dance in both modern and classical styles. I have been working as a choreographer for three years already.
Koshpendiler: What are your hobbies and interests?
Aigerim: I love art in all forms: theatre, opera, museums, music, and poetry. I also love to travel and have an interest in psychology.
Koshpendiler: Where in Kazakhstan are you from?
Aigerim: I am originally from Almaty – the city with the most beautiful mountains.
Koshpendiler: Where do you live now?
Aigerim: Now I live in Toulouse, France – a city of red bricks or la ville rose.
Koshpendiler: How long have you been gone?
Aigerim: I left Kazakhstan so long ago that I no longer count. But to be precise, at the end of 2008.
Koshpendiler: Wow! Why did you choose this town / country?
Aigerim: I was inspired by the performance of a French dance company. This is how I discovered the contemporary dance for myself. About a half year before graduating from the choreographic school in Almaty, I began to actively search for dance schools in France, because for me, France is one of the countries in which the contemporary choreography is very well developed. The French embassy in Kazakhstan helped me a lot, and they advised me to move to Toulouse, about which I knew practically nothing.
Koshpendiler: What do you like most in your new country/city of residence?
Aigerim: It’s important to note that I moved away at the age of 19, at an age when you begin to start building your network, “sortie”. It is not like I did not have friends in Kazakhstan, but it’s different here. Yes, I missed certain things in Almaty, but I began to slowly get used to the lifestyle in France. I like my independence because I wasliving alone for the first time and it was new to me. Before this, I never even traveled without family anywhere. I like the people, their culture, and history here. Of course, not everything is perfect, but I can say that I became more mature here. Every time I go back to Toulouse I feel like I’m going home. It is the warmest city for me. Most of all I like it here, because here is where I found my Love.
Koshpendiler: What is it like to work in France?
Aigerim: My Kazakh education is has always been a plus for me. It helps me very much at work and is also useful in the job search.”
My Ballet School diploma from Almaty is equivalent to a secondary higher education in France. In France, I was encouraged to get a degree in modern and classical dance. My education in France took about four years in total, and included preparatory courses for admission into the academy.
So, I have 4 years of experience working as choreographer in various dance schools in Toulouse. I really love my job and I am very pleased when my students win prizes or take part in important events. What’s a little awkward in my profession is that I do not have a direct employer, but rather many different employers. I have four contracts now, two of which are due to expire this summer, and the other two are CDI contract type, which do not expire, and this is great for my career of course.
Such contracts are not easy to get, as the company makes a request through the entire region, considering all the candidates for just one place. For foreigners like me, it is necessary to provide an additional huge folder of documents. But if you try, and try, and try, the desired outcome will come true! Just keep going!
It is the fourth year for me going through the various interviews. At first it was strange, but then I got used to it. The key is to be yourself and not hesitate to talk about your successes and achievements. I always say that I am a foreigner, talkabout my education in Kazakhstan, and how I manage to “to mix” our Kazakh dance teaching method with the French one.
French are often surprised by how much love and responsibility we Kazakhs put into our work and how quickly we can get it done :).
Koshpendiler: Where do you usually spend your free time?
Aigerim: I like to spend more of my free time with my family. So far we meet two times a year. I also try to travel as much as possible to the sea or oceanside, especially now that I got my driving license and car. In Almaty, I liked to spend time in the mountains. But going to the mountains here is different, I like it more in Almaty :). In the evenings I go to bars, restaurants, cinema, well, quite ordinary places. I love spending time with my friends – Kazakhs (in Toulouse, we have a whole community of Kazakh women). Of course, traveling is the best way to spend your time. Together with my husband we always try to get somewhere for a weekend. But sometimes I like to just lie with a cat on the sofa in front of the TV :).
Koshpendiler: How and for what purpose can others contact you in France?
Aigerim: Sometimes I get questions about moving to or studying in France. Sometimes Kazakhs who live in France just contact me to get in touch. I know a lot of people online that I have never seen in real life. I happened to meet one girl in Paris with whom we corresponded frequently and that iscool! It turned out we were neighbours living across the street! Two Kazakhs!
There are many different groups online, where Kazakhs exchange experiences and ask questions. This I find very useful. This is how we support each other. And the other main reason to meet up is to of course to set the traditional Kazakh dastarkhan!
The best way to contact me is via email.