A lot of people, especially Westerners, associate Russia as a backward, obscure and dangerous country. Certainly, in comparison with Europe, the US, and other Western countries Russia is still developing. Unfortunately, this fear becomes a major obstacle for people who are willing to travel and learn what it means to live in Russia. Let me help you to explore Russia without getting into much trouble.

If you want to travel to Russia on your own it is better to start thinking it through long before the actual departure. And I am not talking only about calling a travel agency. You have to first ask yourself the following questions: where you would like to go; for how long you would want to stay there; and what to do when you are there. You can conduct your own research on the Internet in order to find out which city or town in Russian is more suitable for you. What I would like to focus on is the last two questions.

When my husband decided to go to Russia he first compared the cost for going on a short trip and a long one. And that is what he discovered. The cheapest visa to Russia at that time cost about $300 and allowed to stay there maximum for a month. Moreover, you have to also consider the cost of accommodation, which more likely will be an overpriced hotel that will be offered by a travel agency or the one you will find on the Internet. It is not the best deal, especially if you want to stay in Moscow or Saint Petersburg. Even in smaller cities hotels are generally overpriced. Thus, when we stayed in one of the moderate hotels in Kazan it cost us $70 per night. It is a lot of money by Russian standards.

Then my husband took into consideration the idea of staying there for longer than a month, possibly for six month. This turned out to be in some ways cheaper and involved real experiences with people. As he found out (and it is totally true) a lot of Russian private schools and language institutions need native English speakers to teach English to people of all ages. The most known of them in my city were Windsor, Viva, and British-American Language Center. Interestingly that some of these schools offer help with visa and accommodation. Certainly, you should not expect a luxury apartment in the center of the city. But if you want to travel to Russia for the experiences this might be something to consider.  You will be able to teach people of different ages, learn about their lives, become friends with some of them, learn Russian, and discover real Russia for yourself.

Another important point in case you already decided to go and teach English is hiring a tutor. If you can afford it do not hesitate to do it. Believe me you will need it. When my husband started working for one of the language schools he came across with such issues as finding good grocery stores, good quality restaurants, repairmen, and many others. What helped him was that in the school he got acquainted with a lot of good people that knew enough the city and were able to consult him about anything he needed. To one of them he offered to be his personal tutor. At that time he paid the tutor 200 rubles per hour (about $7). Certainly, the price will be different depending on the city. However, do not let anyone fool you by agreeing to pay more than 500 rubles per hour (about $16). With the tutor my husband was able not only to study Russian, but also to find best deals for buying different things, find good restaurants, and arrange several maintenance works in his apartment.

Working in Russia was a very interesting and unforgettable experience for hi also because he met me. When you are not restricted to a certain traveling program arranged by your travel agency you can go and experience more places than just Kremlin, the Red Square, and Hermitage. No one can tell you where to go and what to do. You are your own master!