Language Link’s Volunteer Programme is the ideal way to acquire valuable international work-experience and get a taste of life in Russia. Our International Language Centre in Moscow has a limited number of vacancies each semester for volunteers in the fields of Education and IT. The programme is extremely flexible – entry is possible from September to June (adhering to the Russian academic calendar), and you can determine how many hours per week you wish to commit to, and how long you want to stay (breaks for independent travel are easily arranged). Depending on your interests, talents and experience, you may volunteer as a teaching assistant and/or a number of other areas.
As a volunteer Teaching Assistant, you will be assigned to one of our foreign language departments to help teach English, French, Spanish, Italian or German as a foreign language under the supervision of a qualified teacher. Following an initial period of basic training, you will begin assisting in the classroom, where your responsibilities may include leading discussions, acting as a conversation partner and helping the students overcome their language learning difficulties or lack of confidence on a one-to-one basis. You may be asked to assist in lessons taught by Russian EFL teachers to improve students' pronunciation and understanding of the language as spoken by a native-speaker. There may also be the chance to help in lessons with children or young learners.
Photo: Volunteer Constantine Apostolopoulos (centre) with a group of students and their teacher at the end of a conversational course at LL Moscow.
Translator / Proof-reader
Provided you have a high enough level of Russian (at least intermediate), you may apply to volunteer in Language Link's Translation Department as a translator and proof-reader. The majority of work involves translating corporate documents, catalogues, brochures and website texts from Russian into your native language under the supervision and guidance of senior translators. You will also have the task of proof-reading documents in your native language (i.e. carrying out stylistic corrections of translated material prior to its return to clients), and correcting websites from a linguistic point of view.
Photo: Volunteer Charlotte working on translations in Moscow’s Translation Bureau.
The Volunteer Programme includes a choice of accommodation (shared apartment or home-stay), plus visa support and registration, so the usually daunting task of travel to this fascinating but rather bureaucratic country is greatly simplified. We will advise and support you as you adapt to the unique Russian culture. Every volunteer will receive 4 academic hours of free Russian lessons. For beginners in Russian these lessons will be targeted to give the Volunteer the vocabulary and phrases they will need to get by in Russia. For the more experienced Russian speaker, the lessons will be aimed at activating their Russian language ability. If you then wish to continue studying Russian, you will be offered the opportunity to sign up to classes at a reduced rate. Every volunteer will also be given a health and safety briefing from the International Programmes Coordinator. This will be quite informal, and any concerns and questions that the volunteer may have will be addressed.
Language Link’s central school in Moscow is situated fairly near the city centre, within five minutes’ walk of the metro stations Новослободская (Novoslobodskaya) and Менделеевская (Mendeleevskaya). The classrooms are located on the second floor of a large office building. You will be provided with a map upon arrival. The Central School is the place where you will find facilities for Moscow-based teachers (including a video library, teaching resources library, photocopiers, computers and a teacher preparation room). Here you can also visit the Teacher Trainers and Directors of Studies if you need academic support.
Language Link also has a number of branch schools; you will most likely teach in one of these. They are located in many different areas of the city, and you should be prepared to spend some time travelling to where you will teach. Each of these branch schools is managed by a Russian Administrative Director (AD), who will act as your primary contact for issues regarding your teaching groups.
The Lomonosov School is just one of the schools where you can volunteer as a teaching assistant Below is a testimonial from Anthony-George D'Andrea (pictured below) who volunteered at the Lomonosov school in Spring 2010.
"My name is Anthony-George D'Andrea. I am 23 years old and I am from Toronto, Canada. I am studying to be a teacher at the University of Toronto. It is a one year program that requires the students to do, among other things, an internship involving some aspects of teaching. As students we were allowed to choose our own internship and could do it anywhere in the world if we liked.
I came across an opportunity to volunteer with Language Link in Russia and decided to apply for the position. In Toronto I live in a predominately Russian neighbourhood. Therefore, I was often exposed to their language and glimpses of their culture. I wanted to learn more about where my neighbours came from and as a result I decided to come to Moscow.
Moscow is a wonderful city in which there is always something to do. The city has a great amount of history and as a former student of history I could not help but fall in love with the old architecture, churches, and other incredible buildings. The people here in Russia have been very kind to me and have always been willing to help. It is unfortunate that I am only here for such a short time.
At Lomonosov school I have been treated just as well. It has been a pleasure to work with the staff and students here. The small classrooms and overall cozy atmosphere in the school provides a great sense of community and a warm environment in which everyone feels welcome. The field trip last Friday in which staff and students went into a nearby forest in order to work together and complete various tasks that were set up for them at different stations is evidence of the great community that Lomonosov school houses.
The students are bright and appear to have a great desire to learn, something which can not always be said about children at such an age. Of course there are great teachers at Lomonosov to help the students quench that desire to learn. Although I have only worked with English teachers at the school, it is evident from their teaching techniques that their number one priority is to ensure that students have the tools to learn and succeed. Students are provided with an environment that allows them to feel safe and comfortable and not afraid to ask questions and take risks, something which is so important in education.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Lomonosov school and am grateful for the experience they have provided me. I am sure that this experience will be one that I look back on fondly as I move forward with my own teaching career."