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Minsk
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject: Minsk Reply with quote

Hi there,

I'm looking for some info about Minsk and what it's like to live and teach there. Has anyone got first hand experience of the place? Would you recommend it? What problems did you face whilst over there or what problems have you heard of?

I'm currently in Poland, the land of the relatively free and relatively wealthy, so what would be most difficult to acclimatise to?

Cheers
Dan
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1025
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 3:10 pm    Post subject: Belarus Reply with quote

This is an exceptionally difficult place for a foreigner to live and work in and the regime there is notorious for quite a few reasons! Cole Davis on this site has first hand experience so you could try sending him a p.m. for more detailed info. Occasionally there are teaching positions advertised in Minsk by the franchise of International House but I cannot ever recall seeing any other jobs there.
Do you have a special reason for wanting to go there?Unless you do I would not really consider it.
Sorry not I cannot be more positive.
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. Yeh, I'm aware of the human rights situation and I can imagine its a world away from Southern Poland. I'll give Cole a Pm, thanks again
Dan
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jonniboy



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 696
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in Minsk the weekend just gone. It was better than I expected (a pessimist is never disappointed.) More modern, greener, cheaper and with a reasonable range of bars and restaurants. It was very Soviet. However, I was only there for a weekend and the world ice hockey championships was on, which makes it hard to get an accurate picture. The security situation seemed a bit over the top, but like I say, a big event was on. There is an International House there in the centre and other language centres were advertising for students. I remember the IH amount offered was insanely low, 400 euro a month or something like that. The lingua franca was clearly Russian, which I know enough of at survival level to get around. Even in the tourist sector, a lot of young people didn't speak English. I was in a couple of cafes where tourists who didn't speak Russian were struggling to communicate with waitresses who had no English. Good place if you want to improve your Russian, but you might struggle a bit if you go there without any.
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BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived, worked and married there and have been back.
I wouldn't say it's so extreme. The only thing about politics that will affect you directly is the steady devaluation of the currency.When I was there it went from 3000 Rouble to the dollar to 7000. Now it is 10,000 after 3 years of being away. Provided you don't try to get involved in gatherings and don't become too outspoken in class then you should be ok. Otherwise worst case would be your visa gets cancelled and you get sent home. They rarely imprison foreigners and when they do it's for 1-2 days followed by a free ticket out.

The wages were more than what was quoted there above and with IH Minsk you get an apartment provided too. It's a livable wage and you can go out a few times a week as well and do some travelling. I'm pretty sure it was more than the wage in Poland when I was there. Maybe things have changed since then so I don't know. Last time I met the director last year he seemed to tell me that they are expanding and business is booming so I'm not sure.

Main highlight of Belarus and Minsk is foreigners are generally rare (except for the hockey championship) and people are generally friendly. You'll be a bit more of a unique person being a native teacher there than you would be in many other cities in the region.
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jonniboy



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 696
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenE wrote:
The wages were more than what was quoted there above and with IH Minsk you get an apartment provided too. It's a livable wage and you can go out a few times a week as well and do some travelling.


They have an ad on the IH World site now, where the salary quoted is 800 US dollars a month GROSS, that's likely to end up about 400 euro a month after tax.
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Partizan



Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jonniboy wrote:
BenE wrote:
The wages were more than what was quoted there above and with IH Minsk you get an apartment provided too. It's a livable wage and you can go out a few times a week as well and do some travelling.


They have an ad on the IH World site now, where the salary quoted is 800 US dollars a month GROSS, that's likely to end up about 400 euro a month after tax.


Exactimundo. If you want to live on peanuts, knock yourself out.
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add some balance, I live on around that figure in a small town, where I get free accommodation, in Poland and it's definitely not peanuts to me. I would imagine it wouldn't be peanuts in Belarus either, not that I know much about the economy over there.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minsk. I was there a few years ago. Great fun to live in, but difficult to get a decent job. International House is your best bet, although not everybody likes working there. Streamline offers the chance to run discussion sessions, but they care not whether you get enough to live on. While you are busy living off your savings, many of the locals think you are Mr (or Mrs) Rich.
However, this was about 5 years ago, so things might have changed (just don't bet on it).
P.S. The salary at IH is probably ok for Belarus.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1025
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Minsk Reply with quote

The Belarussian capital is the 'Moscow' of the country in many ways and although the cost of living there is much less and salaries are also lower 400 euros is not a lot of money in Minsk. In other cities there it would be but then I have never seen any jobs advertised for foreign EFL teachers in Belarus apart from in the capital.
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Partizan



Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
Minsk. I was there a few years ago. Great fun to live in, but difficult to get a decent job. International House is your best bet, although not everybody likes working there. Streamline offers the chance to run discussion sessions, but they care not whether you get enough to live on. While you are busy living off your savings, many of the locals think you are Mr (or Mrs) Rich.
However, this was about 5 years ago, so things might have changed (just don't bet on it).
P.S. The salary at IH is probably ok for Belarus.


I managed to get a better package than IH were offering from another private school in Minsk by approaching the school myself. The offer was $1300 a month, 20 hours a week class time. Sunday and Monday off. Tues - Fri 4-9pm with 10 - 1pm on Saturdays. Visa and flights all sorted by the school. Pay increases after 3 months if performance is satisfactory.

I received my CELTA back in May. I haven't thought since then so this will be my first teaching gig. I have savings in the bank so I wont be depending entirely on my salary to survive. I find my own accommodation but I have friends in Minsk who will help me out.
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 211
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Partizan wrote:


I received my CELTA back in May. I haven't thought since then...

I try not to think too much either, but 3 months is rather a long time to go without thinking.
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Partizan



Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

teacher X wrote:
Partizan wrote:


I received my CELTA back in May. I haven't thought since then...

I try not to think too much either, but 3 months is rather a long time to go without thinking.


Sorry about that. It was late on a Sunday evening after a hectic weekend.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1025
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:36 pm    Post subject: A good salary offer..... Reply with quote

Especially if you have friends who will find you a flat to rent that does not eat-up too much of your earnings?But just do be careful in Belarus-it's a pariah state where people know that it's best to keep your mouth shut about anything that could be even remotely construed as criticism of the authorities.Also be careful about registration of your visa and foreign currency export when you leave the country as they often have spot checks and seem to enjoy confiscating any which they think is not satisfactorily accounted for!Get advice about this from your friends there as they seem to change the rules at random...
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Partizan



Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: A good salary offer..... Reply with quote

maruss wrote:
Especially if you have friends who will find you a flat to rent that does not eat-up too much of your earnings?But just do be careful in Belarus-it's a pariah state where people know that it's best to keep your mouth shut about anything that could be even remotely construed as criticism of the authorities.Also be careful about registration of your visa and foreign currency export when you leave the country as they often have spot checks and seem to enjoy confiscating any which they think is not satisfactorily accounted for!Get advice about this from your friends there as they seem to change the rules at random...


Thanks for the advice. Bloody hell, talk about going from the frying pan into the fire Shocked
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