Language Link and a New Teachers Impression
When I arrived in Moscow, I was expecting exorbitant prices, high crime, and freezing winters. I was wrong on all three accounts. Most goods and services were inexpensive, crime was less than that of most midsized U.S. cities, and winter isn't that bad (Utah winters are just as cold), but the sun didn't visit too often. After the August financial crisis, many expats left the country, and I wondered if I would have to follow suit. However, because English was still high in demand, and Language Link was a well-managed firm, the teachers did not lose their jobs or even take a pay cut. After this, I never worried about job security.
The office atmosphere was very professional. Teaching materials were plentiful and of high quality, the staff was friendly and supportive, and the office supplies were available and reliable. This is not to say that teaching was a cakewalk. The sharpness and high motivation of the students required creative lesson preparation and solid knowledge of grammar. My four-week TEFL course served at a basis to begin teaching but the most valuable teaching education was experimenting with supplementary material, trying my own creations, and getting feedback from students and more experienced teachers.
Teaching was challenging and required energy, but the rewards were more than worth the effort. My most satisfying memories of my twelve months in Russia are of energetic classes having fun, speaking English as a result of my creation and instruction.
Russia took a lot of getting used to. It's economically unstable, the infrastructure is mediocre, businesses are hardly service friendly, and the presence of so many military can be intimidating at first. However, I found Russian people to be genuine, generous, and fun loving. I earned more than I needed to thoroughly enjoy my stay, and It was the best opportunity for personal and professional growth that I have ever experienced.