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Teacher Internship Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Pay and Benefits

    8

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best for study abroad and with or without TEFL certificate

Language Link is the largest school in Russia and therefore has an excellent support system in place for teachers. Overall there is great support from the staff and they are helpful whenever you need it - be it academic or just help with general life abroad. The only downsides can be the Russian flats which tend to be old. However, I've never had a problem.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Pay and Benefits

    8

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Learning to teach in the heart of Russia

I had studied Russia and Russian language and culture in university, so my decision to move to Russia was an extension of my personal, professional, and academic interests. After reviewing several options, I decided that Language Link was the best. I had several classmates who also worked at Language Link, all of whom had given the program great reviews, so I signed up, passed the interview and bought my tickets! While it could have been daunting to jet across the world to the north of Eurasia, the LL staff provided all the information I needed to get there, picked me up at the airport, helped me hit the ground running. I also got a credit card in my name for financial ease as well as company health insurance.

The initial training program exceeded anything I had expected. It was hard (in a good way) and I really learned how to become a true English teacher - not just a native speaker who speaks to English as a Foreign Language students. The training program taught me more about my native language than my previous 23 years of speaking it had. And not only did I learn about English grammar and structures, I learned how to teach it - from methodology, to lesson planning, presentation techniques, etc. So, by the time I had finished the program, I really knew that I had become a genuine teacher. Moreover, when I felt that I needed assistance, the LL staff were right there at all times to provide ideas for lessons, help with planning, and give constructive feedback.

The LL school environment is great; it's the perfect mix of casual and professional. Not only are there English teachers, there are also Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Italian teachers. Truly an international school, which quickly become your "international family."

Because of this international environment, making friend was relatively easy. There is a sense that everyone is in it together, so friendships form quickly and become very strong - to this day, some of my best friends came from LL and I still keep in touch with all of them. Once a Language Linker, always a Language Linker.

My housing situation worked out really well. Though some people would have said my house wasn't very "up to date", I found it charming because it was cleaning a genuine Soviet flat right in the center of Moscow. All my neighbors were Russian grandmothers and students of the nearby university, and my roommates were a range of teachers from LL. In my four years working for LL, I lived with Americans, Brits, and Australians, which really added to the appeal of being there.

Moscow is not a city for the faint of heart. It is dirty, loud, fast-paced, does everything its own unique way, and is everything you'd expect from a rapidly changing megapolis with 17 million people. But for all its craziness, the city is incredible. The transportation was quick and efficient, and the LL staff were always there to help out when needed. There is also no short supply of parks to walk in, entertainment, museums, movies, concerts, bars, clubs, regional trains to tiny villages, culture and history. There is always something to do in Moscow. And the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Finally, being someone who wanted to achieve fluency in Russian, I was particularly interested in emersion. Language Link provided the highest quality Russian language lessons you can get in Moscow, and in Russia on the whole. The Russian department is absolutely incredible and can help you learn Russian, from beginner to advanced, advise you on cultural and historical sites to see, and being your sounding board for all the questions about the peculiarities of Russia that you are bound do discover over your time there.

So, the bottom line is: if you are interested in teaching English (yes, actually teaching), living abroad, experiencing Russia, and learning Russian, or any combination of goals you may have, Language Link is the best choice!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Pay and Benefits

    7

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Training and support for an inexperienced teacher

When I first felt the urge to live abroad I registered for an online TEFL certificate course. Later, while applying for jobs, I learned that this preparation was insufficient. I still had no practical experience with going up in front of learners or planning a lesson that could be put into practice. I applied to many schools in many countries and was sometimes invited for an interview or a follow-up task of preparring a lesson plan for a particular aim. My interviewers and I both realized that my online course hadn't given me the necessary knowledge and experience to handle actual classroom situations.
Then I found the Language Link internship program which offered practical training before a 9 month teaching contract. Recognizing that I needed it, I jumped at the chance for free training. Being able to plan lessons with real books and deliver them to real language learners allowed the knowledge to finally sink in and become something that I could actually use. The knowledge and experience of the trainers allowed them to put the teaching process into real terms that I was able to grasp.
Even after the training, academic support was never far away. My teaching location was a pleasant town in the Moscow suburbs. It had the advantages of a town with a lot of green space and little noise, but supermarkets, restaurants and other leisure facilities were at hand. Of course the big city was less than an hour away by train. I was also earning money as an intern. No, the salary wasn't eye-catchingly high. However, I had no financial responsibility for accomodation or taxes as the company paid for them on my behalf. The money I received was completely disposable and more than enough to keep myself fed and entertained. When my salary increased the next year, I found it quite easy to save money while still spending enough to enjoy myself.
My other option was to go to South Korea and teach in a kindergarten there. The details of that job were vague but it seemed as if they were just going to toss me in an uncomfortable situation and hope that I swam instead of sank. As I've continued with TESOL as a career, I'm so glad that I chose the additional training and support offered by Language Link. As I have become an academic manager and interviewed teaching candidates myself, I realize that I clearly made the better choice. The methodology used in Language Link allowed me to progress and develop professionally much better than other options an inexperienced teacher could find.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • The School/Placement

    9

Work-Study with Language Link

I want to write an honest review of my experience with Language Link, Russia. It's important to note that I'm still employed with LL, but this review will be honest, noting positives as well as negatives.

I participated in Language Link's Work-Study program in Moscow during the 2014-15 academic year. Though not technically part of the Teacher-Intern program, it was similar in many aspects such as training and job function; the biggest difference was that I only worked part-time as opposed to full-time, studying Russian part-time as well, hence work-study.

I don't intend on making a career out of teaching English. I didn't when I came to Russia and I still don't. I studied International Affairs and Russian in university, so I really just wanted to work and live in Russia. Language Link's Work-Study program afforded me a really convenient and (mostly) painless way to achieve my goals of living and working in Russia. Through teaching, I developed useful job skills like public speaking, giving presentations, and interacting meaningfully with people (in this case students) while also vastly improving my Russian language skills. Language Link's Russian as a Foreign Language department gave me excellent instruction and the English language academic support staff were really professional and helpful. The 4-week Initial Training Program was intense and occasionally strenuous, but ultimately it prepared me to perform my job. As a cherry on top, I got a Language Link EFL certificate at the end of my course (equivalent to CELTA / TEFL).

There are a few negatives, though, that should be pointed out. While the application process was straightforward, the Work-Study program fee was hefty (although reasonable for a 34-week course). Also, the salary for a first-year teacher is not easy to get by on. Possible, but not easy. Be sure to read your employment contract very carefully before signing it -- it dictates many important aspects of your experience. Finally, my accommodation was paid for by Language Link, which is great, but it was not the best -- it was a rather run-down Soviet-era apartment, and took a little getting used to. On the other hand, some of my friends had nice apartments that were further outside of the city; it's a dice roll as to how nice of an apartment you'll get. They aren't terrible, but they aren't amazing.

Ultimately, the Work-Study program is what you make of it. If you work hard as a teacher of English and a student of Russian, you can get a lot out of it. Do the bare minimum and you may not get your money's worth. I feel strongly that Language Link is an excellent stepping stone for almost any career path.