Obninsk, referred to as the First Russian Science City, is located in Kaluga region approximately 65 miles (100 km) to the South-West of Moscow on the picturesque bank of the Protva River. Obninsk is a clean, safe and peaceful city with excellent opportunities for both living and leisure. Obninsk is an enclave surrounded by beautiful forests and is one of the greenest cities in Russia. Yet, despite this rural context, Obninsk is able to offer it residents and many visitors a diverse range of cultural, educational, industrial, and recreational opportunities.
History and Population
Historically, Obninsk was first founded as a secret city where the world’s first nuclear power plant was commissioned. Today, no longer a closed city, Obninsk is one of the largest scientific centers involved in the comprehensive study of nuclear power utilization. For its many scientific achievements, the residents are duly proud. Yet despite the city’s global recognition by the scientific community, Obninsk has been able to hold onto its small town values and charm while offering big city opportunities.
Population: The Population of Obninsk is around 106,000.
The climate of Obninsk is characterized by distinct seasons: warm summer (20˚ - 25˚Ñ) and quite cold winter with steady snow cover (-10˚ – 25˚Ñ). As such a climate favors the growth of natural flora, the city is surrounded by picturesque forests and fields.
Getting to and Arriving in Obninsk
Getting to Obninsk from Moscow is easy. The proximity of major highways, railroads and Moscow International airports makes for easy access to Obninsk by train, bus and taxi. Moscow International Vnukovo airport is 44 miles (70 km) away, Moscow International Sheremetyevo airport is 82 miles (130 km) away and Moscow International Domodedovo airport is 63 miles (100 km) away from Obninsk. The journey from the airport to the city by bus, electric train or taxi takes 1 - 1.5 hours. There are railway and bus stations in Obninsk that enable direct trips to and from Moscow by any kind of transport.
On arrival in Obninsk, you will be met by representatives of the school who will escort you to your apartment. The following day you will be taken an excursion round the city.
Each teacher will be housed in an individual apartment. Your hosts will pay for local telephone calls and electricity consumption up to 100 kW.
Telephone and Internet
Prices for long-distance telephone calls vary. There are, however, ways of lowering the price of long-distance calls using IP-telephony. At Language Link, there is a computer connected to the Internet which teachers will have access to for their personal use. All the key mobile providers are present in Obninsk: MTS, Beeline and Megaphone. Charges cost from 1.5 cents to 3 cents per minute. The quality of the connection is high.
After arrival in Obninsk, teachers will be supplied with the school administrator’s mobile number which they can use for any questions that they may have. Other numbers which may, though hopefully not, prove useful are fire (01), police (02) and ambulance (03).
The electrical standard in Russia is 220 V/50 Hz and requires two-pin plugs. If you are bringing electronic equipment with you, it is advisable that you purchase any needed adapters prior to your arrival in Obninsk. The power supply is reliable and cases of power outages are very rare. The streets of Obninsk are generally well-lit.
Tap water in Obninsk is very clean and complies with sanitary and health regulations. The majority of people drink tap water. For those who are particularly health conscious, filters as well as bottled drinking water are available. Should you desire, you can order water delivery to your apartment. The price for bottled water is $3 for 10 liters. Hot water is turned off once a year in May so as to drain and clean the pipes of the city’s central hot water heating system.
Laundries and Dry-cleaners
Washing machines are not provided in the teachers’ apartments. There are, however, self-service laundries or service laundries where your clothes can be washed.
Traveling round the city
Obninsk is a very compact city making it very easy to travel around town. The majority of public places are situated within walking distance. The transport infrastructure of the city is well-developed. Buses and mini-buses that travel round the city go every 3-5 minutes; the fare is 6-10 rubles. You can use a taxi that can be called from any phone to the place you need; the fare is 40 rubles to any point in the city. The waiting period is 2-5 min.
Food and Drink
There are many different types of cafes in Obninsk, each expressing its own individuality. There are cafes and restaurants with European, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Caucasian and even Mexican cuisine. Prices in Obninsk are more than affordable – a lunch for one person with beverages costs approximately 250 rubles.
There are many different types of shops in Obninsk. There are large supermarkets in every micro-district, and you can always find a shop within walking distance where you can buy the necessities. There are several markets where fresh fruit and vegetables are sold and a meat market where you can choose fresh meat and poultry.
Shops selling clothes and footwear are numerous. There are also several large electronics and appliances stores.
A teacher’s appearance should reflect their role as a professional educator. That is how your students will perceive you. Though there is no strict dress code, it should be remembered that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Proper clothes will help you to make this very important first impression.
To feel comfortable in the Obninsk climate, you’ll need warm clothes and footwear, both of which you can buy in Russia at affordable prices. The school administrator will help you to choose quality and reasonably-priced clothes.
The level of healthcare in Obninsk is relatively high. There is a medical and research center, as well as private and state clinics. Drugstores can be found everywhere. If you need any special medication, it is better to bring it with you as it may prove difficult to find a pharmacy with the necessary license to sell your particular medication in Russia. Medical care will be provided to the teachers on the basis of a medical insurance policy. Dental and optical services are at the charge of the teacher, but they are much more affordable than in Europe or America.
The people of Obninsk are friendly and polite. They prefer to spend their leisure time in cafes, at the cinema or theatre and in other similar places of entertainment. Another favourite pastime is simply enjoying walks in the forest and enjoying the abundant nature. You are likely to meet many new people in Obninsk and will likely find enjoyment spending your free time in a similar way.
Going to your new friends’ homes, you’ll be surprised by the abundance of food and drink on the table. Feeding guests well is a Russian tradition. Be careful with alcoholic beverages – it is best not to drink much, as this could have a negative effect on your health as well as your image. Though Russia may be famous for its vodka, Russians tend to think that a well-mannered person will not allow him or herself to drink to excess.
Language Link in Obninsk
An English language school is a necessary addition to both secondary and higher education in Obninsk. The young people of Obninsk work in Moscow or large Obninsk-based companies featuring innovative management. English is the vehicle which will enable them to get good job and salaries.
The school is situated in the city center, in the Eurica Science and Technology Center for Young People. All the necessary conditions for the teacher to work in comfortable surroundings have been created within the school: light, spacious classrooms; the necessary teaching equipment; a library and computers.
Living in Obninsk offers teachers a number of wonderful opportunities for spending their leisure time. Obninsk is a fairly new city characterized by an absence of historic monuments. The city itself is conveniently located just one hour from the Moscow metropolitan area and twenty minutes from Borovsk, an old Russian town located on the Golden Ring whose history dates back 1000 year.
In Obninsk you can go out to cafes and clubs, eat in restaurants, go bowling or simply go for a stroll in one of the city parks. Over the weekend, you’ll be able to go to Moscow to visit theatres, museums and entertainment centers. A trip to Borovsk can provide a serene respite for the soul. There are old monasteries and churches, a picturesque river, a pine forest and clean air.
Obninsk is a city which loves its sport. The city’s residents enjoy participating in sports both in and out-of-doors. There are numerous gyms and sports halls. Though football is a national pastime, other popular outdoor activities include hockey, skiing and snowboarding in the winter time. The local hills are very suitable for engaging in these types of sport. You’ll find that the local climate and abundance of nature will enable you to enjoy spending a relaxing and invigorating time in the countryside.
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