Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It's (nearly) official. Pending the successful completion of our CELTA certification course with Teaching House on August 16, Patrick and I will be English Foreign Language Teachers in Russia! I am so relieved to have jobs lined up. The entire job search was far less stressful and far shorter than I had envisioned it would be. We applied jointly to a total of nineteen companies in Russia, had four interviews each, received two job offers (with two more likely on the way), and accepted one all within three weeks.

Our placement is Stavropol, a regional capital in the North Caucasus. You won't find information on this city in your Lonely Planet guidebook, and its Wikipedia page is pretty skimpy. There is some information on the city's official website and here. Anyway, here are some of the basics.

  • Population: 400,000
  • Founded in 1777 as a fortress
  • Industry: Machinery, food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials
  • Climate: Short, cold winters and hot summers; little precipitation
I expect many of my relatives to ask, "Is it safe there?" Well, I expect it's about as safe as any American city. I do, however, anticipate some ethnic tension. Politically speaking, Stavropol Krai, the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Ingushetia, the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, and the Chechen Republic constitute the North Caucasian Federal District. About 30% of the district's population is ethnically Russian and most ethnic Russians live in Stavropol Krai. People who are ethnically North Caucasian are not well liked by ethnic Russians. Rather than go into the history of that here, I'll direct you to a few articles.

Frontline between Stavropol and the North Caucasus
Hijab ban

One thing that I really like about Stavropol is how green it is. If you look on Google Maps, you can see how many trees there are. From what I've been able to find, Stavropol has lovely parks, lots of trees, and beautiful flower gardens. There also appear to be lots of small houses. Another draw is that Patrick and I will be able to visit Georgia after our nine-month contract is up. Going through Abkhazia is risky and the Sochi-Batumi ferry is only for CIS citizens, so we'll go Sochi-Trabzon-Batumi.

I've yet to set foot in Russia, but I'm intrigued by Stavropol and excited to arrive in September.