The ten months I spent in Russia was the best experience I have ever had.
After completing a CELTA course in London which was run by Language Link I was whisked off to Moscow on 7th September 2001.
When I arrived at the airport I was greeted by a lot of Russian taxi drivers and a lovely young man who took me to my abode. This was a flat near the centre of Moscow which I shared with a colleague of mine. I stayed there for about a week and subsequently moved into a flat of my own. It was clean, safe, warm (very), quite far out of the centre (what wasn't?) but very near the metro station.
For the first week I spent most of my time in the office. I acquainted myself with other members of staff and the text books I was to use in my lessons. I was taken under the wings of Lucy, Julia and Sarah who had opted to take their CELTA course in Moscow.
At the beginning of my second week I was introduced to my new students. Altogether I had seven classes, ranging from level 3 to level 8 and ages 10 to 40+. I was working in a school which was situated between my flat and the main office. The staff and security at the school were very pleasant towards me I think, mostly out of interest rather than them being nice people. I couldn't have asked for nicer students. They were interested in learning which, for a new teacher is a God send.
Academically I received as much support as I needed. Various workshops were run throughout the week on different subjects. eg teaching children and exam technique. If any help was needed with lesson planning you were always able to go to the DOS who was very approachable and inspiring. I also had an administrator for my area of Moscow who, not only helped me organize my lessons but also introduced me to some of the social sides of Russian culture.
Away from teaching I managed to maintain a healthy social life with people from all over the world. Moscow, in my opinion has the best night life in the world. You couldn't ask for more than cheap drinks, all night clubs and bars and good music. It is also a great way to find Russian friends be it male or female. I found all the locals and non-locals to be very friendly. I also experienced Russian swimming pools, aerobic classes and one thing that is a must when visiting Russia is the banya.
Overall Language Link provides an excellent opportunity to work abroad. It gives you the stability of knowing that there are people there when you need them, but the freedom you require to live independently.
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