Douglas Neal Jones
Joplin, Missouri, USA
In 1996-97 I spent a year teaching English in Ukraine. I also taught English in Japan, so I have some experience both with living in the former Soviet Union and teaching English to non-native speakers. And having spent five months in Izhevsk teaching with the Svezhy Veter program, I recommend it highly. The staff at Svezhy Veter will always do what it takes to help you with any problems you may have. You are definitely not alone. As for School No. 27, the professionalism and dedication of its teachers impressed me. We foreigners work for room and board and in reality the Russian teachers earn about the same, yet they sacrifice so much for their students and are genuinely interested in their success. And the students are more motivated than any I have encountered in the USA or Japan.
I am a Slavophile so I probably would have felt right at home in Izhevsk anyway, but the city is perfect for anyone wanting to get Russia under his skin. It has been said before but Moscow and St. Petersburg are unlike the rest of the country. It was actually a little disappointing to see how westernized they are. By living in Izhevsk you will learn how the other Russians live. You will also have the opportunity to meet some great friends and have some good experiences. So go ahead!
If you have other questions, please feel free to email me.
Volunteered: April 1 - September 10, 2002