About Russia and English as a Second Language?
June 27, 2005 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Questions about learning Russian and SIT-TESOL/CELTA certification...

So I'm really interested in teaching English in Russia. Moscow, specifically. I'm just as interested in speaking and reading Russian, so this question is really two.

One, are there any schools or certifications (specifically CELTA or TESOL/SIT-TESOL) schools in Moscow that you might recommend? Have more general thoughts on this? I think going to school in Moscow (and then teaching there later) would be smart because I'd be able to look for a job/make connections there, and then come back. Am I wrong? Would I save substantial money/time going somewhere else?

Two, I'm very interested in getting a textbook and some audio compact discs or software to learn Russian, but I'd rather not waste my money. Find any particular book helpful?

Details about me: 23, male, single, degree in Sculpture, currently working as a 3D modeler in North Dakota. Ready to move on- I want to experience more of the world before Grad School. Would like to be in Russia early next year, and stay for a year. Possibly forever. Help or advice of any kind (especially Russia-related stuff I'm missing in the question) would be greatly appreciated.
posted by fake to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of interesting suggestions in other regions of Russia, not only in Moscow. I'm living in Togliatti city & I was educated in gymnasium # 38 in Togliatti city & our teachers were really interested in foreigners. There are a lot of courses of English language & I hope they will interest you also.
My name is Julia. I'm from Russia & now I'm in America for practice my language....... the same situation like you........may be.......
posted by hortense at 11:03 PM on June 27, 2005

The above comment is from one of my lovely russian housemates, who are here working in Ca. for the summer, struggling to comprehend "American" . She is sure you will
find a position, possibly helping teachers in language schools.
posted by hortense at 11:40 PM on June 27, 2005

You'll need:

--A reasonable Dictionary.

--A book on verbs (the 201/501 series is okay, Daum/Schenk's legenardy book is better). Don't get bogged down; hammer the common verbs and verbs of motion.

--Best well-rounded "serious" book I've seen is "Modern Russian 1" and "Modern Russian 2" by Dawson, Bidwell & Humesky. Tapes are available. Probably not cheap.

Try to find a local tutor; a native who can help you through the rough spots.

Oh, read pravda.ru and the appropriate UseNet groups. I didn't have those wonderful options when I was a student. I envy students today for the wealth of information available.
posted by RavinDave at 2:40 AM on June 28, 2005

I taught English with the Peace Corps in Lithuania from 95-97. As an American, I was surprised by how much the Brits had a monopoly on teaching English. My students had studied British English for years, and the official texts (from Soviet times) all used British English--though there are minor differences students will expect you to know them.

So, I'd suggest hooking up with a course that has more of a British focus than an American English focus. Cambridge has a site that will help you find a Center in Moscow. Your instinct is right, a local school could help with placement. And a certificate associated with Cambridge will command a bit more money.

So far as language learning goes, your needs should inform your approach. If you're planning on living in Moscow, you'll want to get comfortable speaking and hearing the language. I took a course (in Lithuanian) at a local community college before I left which gave me a good jump start. Consider contacting the Slavic Languages department at a nearby university and ask if they know someone who might help you with Russian. Make sure you make the plan for what you want to learn--which will include basics like counting, talking about yourself, making plans, describing a medical condition, how to get your haircut etc. Of course, there's no substitute for the immersive experience you'll find yourself in once you're there. I also am sure that you could find schools that would teach you Russian--again, you want something that's communicative to start--you can add in the formal stuff later once you've learned how to survive. I know Vilnius University offered summer courses to foreigners--and there're got to be a greater demand for Russian, so they must do something similar in Moscow. --they could also be worth checking out. All of these answers will come easier once you're on the ground and talking with people like yourself who decided to spend time abroad. You'll be in good company.

One last bonus, get a copy of Keep Talking. -- a compendium of communicative language activities and was one of my favorite teachnig resources.

Good luck!
posted by teddyb109 at 4:58 AM on June 28, 2005

Hortense/Julia- thank you! It's good to get a vote of confidence. :) I'm interested in Moscow because of a long conversation with a friend from there- I'd like to be in a big city, and one with fewer Americans than St. Petersburg - do you have any recommendations other than Togliatti?

Thanks for the recommendations, RavinDave. I'll check out your suggestions - I hadn't thought of Pravda.ru at all... or usenet. Great call.

Teddyb- thanks for the link, excellent... and I think you're dead on about learning the language. Thanks!

If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd be grateful.
posted by fake at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2005

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