LIVING IN MOSCOW
LIVING IN MOSCOW IS A GREAT EXPERIENCE
The largest city in Europe, and one of the largest in the world, Moscow can seem overwhelming at first. English is not spoken as often in Moscow as it is in other European cities, and the general street atmosphere ranges from aloof to reserved (city residents aren’t out to get you- they just prefer to keep their emotions to themselves). At the same time, Moscow offers a surprisingly cosmopolitan mix of theaters, museums, art galleries, fun restaurants and bars, and (when the weather is warm) large, beautiful parks.
Many people say that Moscow is a city of contrasts. It’s also a place of surprises. You never know what you are going to see next- a businessmen with perfect English buying flowers for his wife on one corner, and a grandmother chugging a bottle of vodka on the other.
Simply English teachers get a unique opportunity to understand Moscow from a personal perspective- their job requires them to travel throughout the city, and interact with Russian people in their homes, offices, and schools. This is the best way to understand the complex layout of the city, as well as to access Russian culture without its “game face” on!
THE MOSCOW METRO
Because our teachers work in different schools and kindergartens, as well as with private clients, they need to travel around the city quite a bit. The Moscow Metro is both a daily necessity, and an impressive testament to the grandeur of the Russian spirit. It was Stalin’s glory, and remains an unparalleled achievement in urban public art.
While expansive, the metro is quite easy to use, and maps are posted in both Russian and English throughout the stations. Most signs in the metro, however, are written only in Russian. A familiarity with the Russian alphabet is therefore essential for easy navigation of the metro. Luckily, the alphabet isn’t difficult to learn!
Simply English provides all its employees with an unlimited metro pass, which can also be used on buses, trolley-buses, and trams throughout the city.
Because Moscow is such a large city, and has so much to offer, it is teeming with people, all of whom want a nice place to live. This demand drives up housing prices quite a bit, with a typical three bedroom apartment costing roughly 65,000 rubles a month.
To offset the high cost of accommodation in Moscow, Simply English provides housing assistance for its teachers. While not free, and not in the center of the city, our apartments are comfortable and never more than 15 minutes’ walk from a metro station. Teachers live in groups of three, and each pay 12,000 rubles a month for rent. Our apartments aren’t luxurious, but they are normal, comfortable places to live, with all the basic amenities you would expect to find.
If you are interested in seeing a typical Simply English apartment, check out our apartment video!
HAVING FUN IN MOSCOW
Simply English wants our employees to have a good time, and participate in a fun, social environment while living in Moscow. Each year, we organize three social events to help acquaint our teachers with each other and with the city.
In addition to this, there are lots of fun things to do in Moscow, depending on your tastes. The Tretyakov and Pushkin art museums are some of the best in the world. There are also many fascinating history and science museums to visit. If museums aren’t your thing, Moscow is famous for its theatre and ballet. Some theatres offer free translation services for foreigners! Shopping can be expensive in Moscow, but there are lots of malls with normal stores like Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and Pull&Bear. There are many skating rinks, snowboarding and sledding facilities, and other forms of outdoor recreation to enjoy in Moscow. In spring, it’s great to head to a park for an afternoon of beer and shashlik (a kind of barbeque) in the sun. While in Moscow, visiting Gorky Park is a must, as is, of course, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Kremlin.
There are also lots of fun bars and cafes, from the Siberia themed Kamchatka to quiet, hidden retreats like Kvartira 44. Despite what the news may have you believe, American themed bars and restaurants are very popular in Moscow, so if you are in the mood for a burger or some American pancakes, you can always head to Porky’s (a Simply English favorite) or Beverly Hills’ Diner.
Interesting Places Outside of Moscow:
There are many interesting ancient cities just outside of Moscow, which are great for day or weekend retreats. The most famous is probably Suzdal, which is sort of like a Russian Colonial Williamsburg. Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Rostov, Kolomna, and Sergiyev Posad are also only a few hours away by train. Visiting these cities gives you a better appreciation of Russia’s past, and offers a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of Moscow, as well as some fresh air!
It’s also quite easy to visit St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Volgograd from Moscow, either by short domestic flight, or overnight train. These larger cities offer a lot of interesting sites, monuments, and museums, as well as showcase the diversity of Russian culture!