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    SVEZHY VETER Travel Agency
    426008 Izhevsk Karla Marxa 288a
    mail: 426033 Izhevsk 2040 Russia
    tel: +7 (3412) 450037, 613080
    +7 909 064 69 95

      Contact us

    Volunteers Section

    Volunteers History (2000-2011)      Currently Volunteering      School Photo Gallery

    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

    Johan De Maertelaere

    Volunteered: April 15 - July 15, 2003

    Michael James Nugent

    Volunteered: June 13 - August 15, 2003

    Eric Tant

    In June of 2004, I decided to go and teach in Izhevsk, Russia through the Svezhy Veter Travel Agency at School Number 27. Izhevsk, a town comparable to Baltimore in size, is located just west of the Ural Mountains and is about 18 to 19 hours by train from Moscow. Yekaterinburg is approximately 8-10 hours and Kazan? is about 7 hours by train. Upon arrival, I began teaching in the school and quickly got to know some of the students very well.

    The classes, usually 3-4 hours on weekday evenings, were comprised of students of all ages. Indeed, with the students from the English Club I had the opportunity to take a bike trip into rural Udmurtia (the republic which Izhevsk claims as capital), to travel by train to the Tatar city of Kazan?, and to visit the Kama river for a wonderful swimming and hiking trip.

    My hosts were two young people in their twenties, and they helped me adjust to the new surroundings and a new language environment. With that said, I would emphasize the importance of having some Russian background before traveling to Izhevsk. The location is remote, given its distance from Moscow, and therefore the need for English lessons is greater than it would be in the capital. Therefore, trying to negotiate things with locals would be very taxing without some Russian. More than many other countries, Russians do try and help you and will adjust their speaking to your ability in their language. Young people, of college age, are the ones likely to have the most English background. Also, be prepared to fend for yourself regarding meals, as your host family or roommates may be very busy with work and other responsibilities.

    When going about town, be careful of what you are charged at stores and in pubs, as foreigners make easy targets for a scam. Avoid taking cabs with strangers (a good way to lose a wallet) and travel in groups if out late (especially coming from a pub). There are plenty of banks and ATMs available and within reach of the centre, but credit cards are less useful and more prone to fraud.

    All in All, Izhevsk is a good place to experience life in Inner Russia, removed from Moscow and the big city. People were very interested to see foreigners in the town, sometimes cautious with the volunteers and sometimes talkative. Summer is very hot, with very short nights (only 4-5 hours of darkness) and long days.

    If you travel to Russia in spring or summer, be sure to stock up on bottled water and other essentials in one of the many supermarkets. Internet cafes are prevalent throughout the town, for about 35 rubles (a little over a dollar) per hour. Telephone connections will be very challenging, however, as many buildings still don?t have international dialing. Phone cards, such as Locus Link, can be easily obtained from any kiosk on the street. To call out, check with your hosts regarding the connection. If one is not available, you can ask the agency for short calls home.

    If you come to Izhevsk and Russia in general with a good amount of patience, a sense of adventure and the willingness to try something new, then you will have a great time.

    Volunteered: June 11 - July 31, 2004
    Return visit: February 1st - March 16, 2005

    Andrew Bedford

    Volunteered: February -May, 2005

    Emily Klokkevold

    Volunteered: 31.07.2006 - 06.09.2006

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