FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the weather really like in Moscow? How cold does it actually get?
Moscow has four proper seasons, but winter is definitely the longest and most prevalent. It can begin snowing as early as October, and continue until the end of April. The snow usually doesn’t melt until the end of March or beginning of April. Winter can get as cold as -25 degrees Celsius, but usually ranges somewhere from -10 to -15. Autumn is quite beautiful in Moscow, as is spring. Both seasons can be a bit rainy and windy, so even when it isn’t winter, Moscow can seem quite chilly! Summer, although it may seem like it’s late to arrive, is always beautiful in Moscow. The weather is warm but not hot, and the sun stays up past 9 PM!
What kinds of clothes do I need to pack with me when coming to Moscow?
Obviously, it’s important to bring clothes designed to withstand a cold winter. A long puffy coat, warm socks, and boots are a must. Remember that you will be walking a lot, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes. Also, at Russian schools and kindergartens you will need to take off your outside shoes and put on shoes you can wear inside, so it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight pair of extra shoes, solely for this purpose. Our dress code is business casual, so while you don’t need to bring along suits, make sure to pack professional clothes you will be comfortable wearing in schools!
How much Russian should I know before arriving?
While it isn’t necessary to be fluent in Russian, or even to speak it well while living here, knowing how to read is absolutely vital. Almost nothing is written in the Latin alphabet here, so if you want to tell someone what street you are on, and you want to avoid buying sour yogurt instead of milk, it is really, really important to take a few hours to figure out the alphabet! Having some basic knowledge about numbers, food words, and directional vocabulary will also make your first few weeks in Moscow significantly more comfortable. Upon being offered a position, you will be sent our Moscow guide, which has some helpful language in it to get you started. Once you have arrived, we offer Russian lessons in the office! During training, we try to teach you the basic vocabulary you will need to get around!
Is it safe to live in Moscow?
Moscow is a big city. Like any large city in the world, it isn’t a totally pristine place, bereft of corruption and crime. At the same time, as long as you are composed and careful, it can actually be safer than other European cities of similar size. If you are black-out drunk and wandering the streets at 3 AM, there’s a chance you may be taken advantage of. The Moscow of the 1990’s may have been a dark and formidable place, but in the last two decades, Moscow has become significantly safer, cleaner, and less corrupt. Putin has even created a special English speaking police force in Moscow, to help tourists and ex-pats!
What can I expect to be provided in the apartment? What will I need to provide?
Your apartment will have basic furnishings, a washing machine, a refrigerator, a stove, and basic storage facilities. The kitchen will have most of the utensils and appliances you will need, but if you want something specific (a pizza cutter or coffee pot, for example) you will need to purchase these things on your own. You will also need to provide your own pillows, sheets, and towels. Upon arriving in Moscow, someone from management can help you find a store to buy these things.
What foods are difficult to find in Moscow?
It is very difficult to find gluten-free products in Moscow that are not naturally gluten free. It’s also difficult to find processed meats that are not pork (turkey slices, for example). While some organic products are available, they are not nearly as popular in Russia as in America. Peanut butter and hot sauce exist, but can sometimes be difficult to find.
How much does it cost to go out in Moscow?
Moscow can be both expensive and cheap. It’s important to look at prices and decide if the place you are going is affordable for you or not. A cup of coffee usually costs between 100-150 rubles. Beers can range from 100-300 rubles, depending on what you are drinking. Cocktails are usually around 250 rubles, but can sometimes be found for cheaper. A main course in a restaurant will be between 250-400 rubles, depending on what you want, and how hungry you are!
Do I need to be worried about the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine while working in Moscow?
Currently, the political situation has not affected day to day life in Moscow. Russia has been under travel advisory in most Western countries since 2014, however, none of our teachers have experienced any problems while living in Moscow. The latest partial mobilization which was announced last year does not affect foreigners working in the country. We recommend that all teachers avoid political rallies, movements, and gatherings. It is important to remember that as long as you do not go looking for trouble, you will not find it.
What type of teaching contracts does Simply English offer?
There are two types of contracts you could possibly work on while at Simply English. The first type of contract is the standard contract which is 25 hours in the classroom. This is a full-time position from Monday to Friday. If you take planning and commuting into account, it is a forty-hour week. The full-day contract which is forty hour week physically at a school or kindergarten (with meal breaks of course!). No contract is really better than the other, but you can expect to commute a bit more while on the standard contract. You will be placed on either contract depending on your suitability and what is available. Most roles are on the Standard 25 Hours Contract.
Are there work opportunities available if I want to renew my contract and stay in Russia throughout the summer?
We are always glad to hear it when a teacher wants to renew their contract. If you do want to make extra income during Summer, we have our partnered camp and other summer camps who need teachers. We are partnered with a children’s camp which has a Sochi base during the summer. Summer work is absolutely optional, but it is available if you would like to make the extra income and experience Russia in the warmer months.