I would like to clarify here what I really think about my experience with Language Link as an Italian teacher, trying to put myself in the shoes of someone interested in collaborating with this school in the hope that my professional and personal experiences here in Moscow will help those who are considering coming to teach and live in Russia.
If you are seriously thinking of coming to work in Russia, you are most likely not an ordinary person and no doubt have an adventurous spirit, even if you’re not really aware of it.
My advice to you is if you are considering working in Russia as an Italian teacher (or English, French or German teacher), you should take the bull by the horns and send your curriculum vitae straightforward to Language Link. I want to make it clear that I am not trying to support Language Link's business; I am only trying to point you in the right direction.
Having been an Italian teacher for Language Link, I was given many opportunities none of which put me in any way in an uncomfortable situation.
Amongst the positive things the main one was the approach the whole school had with me. Since the very beginning I was surrounded by a kind and caring staff (and not only the teaching staff). The school had just recently moved to a brand new location in a very central area of the city. The Italian Department had very good teaching materials and a very professional Director of Studies and, almost always, my Russian students were both interesting and interested in studying Italian.
As an Italian teacher, I have to admit that the situation in the Italian Department was quite special and relaxed. We always had enough time to prepare for classes and there was a special aura that always surrounded Italian like the other lesser studied languages.
From the financial and contractual point of view, the situation was from the start exactly what I had expected: a wage according to my abilities and experience (enough to live with dignity in such an expensive city like Moscow) and a shared flat (I lived in two). Salaries were paid twice a month and always on time; you were entitled to medical insurance, paid holidays, reimbursed visa fee and a travel allowance (just like you can read on Language Link web site which literally reflects what it is like here).
If I had to find a weak point in the school, it might be with regard to flats. Not all flats contain the same facilities- nothing tremendous, though. My first place, for example, was neat and very central; the second (where I moved for personal reasons) did not have a washing machine and was further from the centre.
But back to what I said at the beginning: if you have already decided that you want to come and live here in Russia you do not obviously belong to those kind of people who are looking for a Jacuzzi or an ultraviolet tanning bed. Above all, coming to Russia is all about what the country has to offer. If you’re looking for a high salary and a luxury flat, then you’d better look at finding a different job and not teaching.
In conclusion: if you have the initiative, if you love the Russian language and culture and teaching and you have decided to come here, I strictly recommend that you try working for Language Link.
Cristiano Righi, Italian teacher
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tel: +7 (495) 730-63-99 (call centre Москва)
fax: +7 (495) 730-6428