Of all the places to teach English, how about Russia? Yes, Russia! What an experience that would be and the stories you could tell your grandchildren. While Russia may not be on everyone’s top five list, there have been and continue to be plenty of English teaching jobs there since the economy was opened up in the 1990’s. Unfortunately, quite a few Westerners were swindled out of their pay by shady schools in the 1990’s.
However, as English has become the world’s global language, conditions to teach in Russia have improved greatly in recent years. When I speak of teaching in Russia, I’m referring for the most part to Moscow where thousands of students and professionals are more than eager to improve their English skills in the hopes of securing a good job in the future.
Salaries for ESL teachers in Russia
While there are plenty of jobs for teaching English in Russia due to a low supply of native speakers, the pay can vary. Unlike parts of Asia where a school may pay an unqualified teacher up to $3,000 a month merely because he has a degree and speaks English, Russians do not abide by this philosophy. You may be hired in Russia to teach English with no qualifications, but expect to be treated and paid like an inexperienced teacher as well.
However, if you are fairly competent, educated and have some teaching experienced coupled with a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA, it is possible to make between $1,000 to $2,000 per month at a private language school. It may be possible to make more at a Russian university, but you need at least a master’s degree in TEFL, TESOL, Linguistics or a related subject along with teaching experience. There are also opportunities to find private lessons as many business professionals need to acquire English skills. Expect to make $10 to $20 per hour.
Cost of living in Russia
The cost of living in Moscow is comparable to Western Europe and the more expensive parts of the United States. However, Russians also do not abide by copyright laws, so certain knockoff items can be dirt cheap. It really depends on the way you live. A loaf a bread, gallon of gas or vegetables are relatively cheap but expect to do damage to your wallet at a nice restaurant or nightclub.
While the cost of living is significantly lower in the small towns and villages, teaching jobs are harder to come by. Keep in mind that teaching abroad in places like Russia is more about the adventure than the money.
Obtaining a working visa to teach English in Russia
The best way to teach in Russia may be to apply for a job directly from your country. After a successful Skype interview or two, the company will then send you the necessary documents to finalize a work visa. Once you have the visa in hand, jump on a flight to Moscow.
It is possible to fly into Russia on a tourist visa and change it to a work visa, but this can also be dicey as it is in many countries. You may want to check out the larger language schools, such as BKC International and Language Link.
If you have additional information, please feel free to comment about teaching English in Russia.