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Republic of Georgia
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Anthony Schierman



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 10:16 pm    Post subject: Republic of Georgia Reply with quote

I realize that Georgia is not Russia, however having been unable to find the "EFL Georgia" discussion site, I opted for the next closest match.

That said, I am wondering if anyone reading this has ever taught EFL in Tbilisi, or come into contact with anyone who has taught EFL in Tbilisi? Any and all first or secondhand information would be greatly appreciated ... you see, I'll be teaching there in the fall. Confused Surprised Shocked

Thanks, and best regards to all.

Anthony
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 5:43 am    Post subject: the 'other' Georgia Reply with quote

Dear Anthony:

You are most welcome to post your question here. Georgia, along with many other former Soviet Republics (whose names are too difficult for me to spell correctly) represent a very real future growth area in EFL, especially at a time when so many East European countries are scheduled to join the EU.

As countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech, Slovakia et al. join the EU, it will become increasingly difficult for non EU citizens to find legal EFL employment in those countries. Hence, interest in the former Soviet Republics, in my opinion, will grow dramatically in the coming decade.

I'm not sure if you will get many replies to your question, but I do hope you'll 'hang around' here on the Russia Forum and keep us all abreast of your coming adventures in Tbilisi.

We can all benefit from your experiences.

Good luck, Anthony Exclamation
keNt
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Sigma



Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a Canadian who is still looking to get a job in the Czech Republic, but I realize this probably won't happen. Thus, I am now looking further east.

If anyone finds info on teaching English in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkemistan or Tajikstan... please pass it along. Very Happy
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 5:11 am    Post subject: try tefl.com Reply with quote

Dear Sigma:

Lately, there seem to be more adverts for eastern Europe (including Russia) on www.tefl.com. It's a good idea to check that site on a regular basis. You can search job-offers by 'country', which makes it very convenient.

Good luck Exclamation
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1021
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 12:51 pm    Post subject: GEORGIA Reply with quote

I actually visited this country in 1994,against the advice of Russians,who considered it was still unsafe after the civil war a few years earlier.Tbilisi was a lovely city in Soviet times.but unfortunately the ecomomy and political situation there is still unstable,and although there are e.f.l. jobs advertised there with firms like I.H. occasionally and they pay around 400-500 u.s. per month in Tbilisi,many people,including Georgians who I know here in Cyprus and have regular contact with friends and relatives all tell me not to even think of going to live there as it is not a safe city for foreigners at present,except possibly for a quick tourist visit.Apart from the usual corruption which prevails in most of the former S.U.,there is abject poverty and petty crime is rife-foreigners are apparently prime targets.One possible exception which would be o.k. is to work on a foreign run complex in somewhere like Supsa on the Black Sea,where the oil-pipeline is under construction-not only are the pay and conditions good,but it is also safe!
Kirghizia is another former republic you might like to consider-but you will probably end up getting married there as the girls are gorgeous- and also nice in character and very available!
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sean_m_reed



Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 2
Location: Republic of Georgia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 11:07 am    Post subject: a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia Reply with quote

Anthony,

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching at a secondary school in Gori, Georgia. Life in Tbilisi greatly differs from life in any of the regions. What would you like to know about Tbilisi?
The English Teachers Association of Georgia (ETAG) has a large membership of motivated teachers with the main office on Chavchavadze Avenue. They like to be involved in any training that they can get their hands on. They have so much training that they are approaching the levels where they can train themselves. Still, a guest is a gift from God here and they like to hear opinions about English teaching from others. That doesn't necessarily mean they will follow reason, as they have their own agenda.
Students at the university level are eager to learn when they attend class. Girls are more attentive in class then boys and therefore study harder. Boys see no job prospects so are disinclined to study or do menial labor. Students English speaking ability is amazingly good.
British accents are more widely recognized. Students and teachers are more familiar with idiomatic expressions from British English, "Giorgi is keen on football." being one example.
Where will you be teaching? Perhaps with more specific information, I will be able to give you a more helpful description of what you are in for.
If you are looking for more, let me know.
Sean
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Anthony Schierman



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 12:52 pm    Post subject: Republic of Georgia Reply with quote

Sean --

Thanks for your response. Gori must be quite fascinating and not TOO far from Tbilisi if I'm reading the map correctly. I've been offered a job at IH Tbilisi: my correspondence with the director has been straightforward and positive and the contract conditions seem perfectly acceptable ($550/month plus accomodation for 24 hours/week of teaching). Anyway, some of my questions are: how useful is Russian language in Georgia (I studied it for a couple of years) vs. Georgian (which I'm assuming that most people use to communicate in regular situations)? I'm a bit daunted by the Georgian alphabet which, to me looks similar to what Tolkein used for elvish or dwarvish or whatever in Lord of The Rings! Also: what is the cheapest way to reach Tbilisi from New York City? I'm thinking a flight to Istanbul and then the ferry to Trabizon and then a bus across into Georgia. Anything you can tell me about your daily trial and tribulations would be quite welcome and I'm sure it would also make interesting reading. How many Peace Corps volunteers are there in Georgia at this point? How long have you been there and how much longer will you stay?

Anyway, thanks again and hope that all's going well.

Best Wishes,

Anthony

ps -- Kent, thanks for your initial reply! Hope that life in Samara continues to treat you well.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1021
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:00 am    Post subject: GEORGIA ETC. Reply with quote

Hi once again Anthony!
So I think you've been quite well informed by me and Kent,as well as the Peace Corps people,and still seem intent on going there!Of course it's a personal decision at the end of the day,but I really would suggest you consider it VERY carefully, mainly on the grounds that the country,especially Tbilisi is unfortunately not a safe place for foreigners,due to the serious problems they are still experiencing with poverty,crime etc.The government has very little effective control over things in much of the country,and for this reason,foreign embassies are faced with a major problem in providing assistance for their nationals when they get into any trouble.A British businessman was kidnapped recently and a large ransom demanded for his release-luckily,he managed to escape and flew home to Wales!I also knw quite a few Georgians here and they all warn me to keep away from the place-one of them was forced to sell a lovely appartment he had in Tbilisi last year for just 3.000 bucks after waiting since 1992 and he said some people are so desperate that there are girls selling themseves at the railroad station for just a couple of dollars-while others run private guest houses where they charge foreigners over 100 for one days meals and accomodation!
If you really want to experience the place without risk,then try my earler suggestion of somewhere like Supsa,where foreign firms have oil installations on the Black Sea-these are well guarded and the money is good too!
Hope this advice is useful and good luck!

M.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:25 am    Post subject: be careful out there! Reply with quote

Hello People:

If you read my posts on a regular basis, you know that I try to be objective and fair. I don't get too excited by the crime and poverty stuff anymore. It's the age we live in.

With regard to Georgia, however, Martin is right. There is due cause to be EXTRA careful.

Georgia is being used today as a 'safe haven' for all kinds of bad dudes, including Chechen terrorists and other rather unsavory characters with alleged links to Al Qaeda. Kidnapping for ransom (as well as for political motives) is a serious problem in Georgia, and one that you should be aware of.

The excerpt below is from yesterday's edition of the AP newswire:


U.N. Observers Abducted in Georgia

By MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI
The Associated Press
Thursday, June 5, 2003; 10:57 PM


TBILISI, Georgia - Eight gunmen abducted a group of U.N. military observers on Thursday from the Kodori Gorge, a hot spot contested by Georgian government forces and Abkhazian separatists, officials said.

The masked gunmen opened fire on a truck carrying members of a joint patrol of U.N. observers and Russian peacekeepers, said Daur Amichba, a spokesman for the Abkhazian defense ministry.

None of the patrol members was wounded or killed, but four were taken captive, Amichba said, citing a telephone call from the U.N. mission in the Abkhazian capital, Sukhumi.

The gunmen disarmed the Russians and ordered them to leave the area on foot, and took the rest of the patrol captive, Amzar Kvitsiani, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's representative in the Kodori region, told Georgian radio.

The Russian peacekeepers told Georgian officials the captives included three U.N. military observers and a translator. U.N. officials said they had no comment on the incident.

In Berlin, the German Defense Ministry said two German soldiers were among those abducted and it had no information about any demands. A Danish Army spokesman in Copenhagen, U.B. Nielsen, said one of the kidnapped peacekeepers was Danish.

Abkhazia, a province in Georgia's northwest, has had de facto independence since 1993, when two years of fighting with Georgian troops ended, but is not recognized by Georgia or by foreign governments. The separatists want full independence, and U.N.-sponsored peace talks have stalled.

Georgian and Abkhazian officials had been expected to sign an agreement on the return of ethnic Georgian refugees to the breakaway region later Thursday, the Interfax news agency quoted Kvitsiani as saying.

"It looks like somebody really does not want peace in the conflict area," he was quoted as saying.

Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in Abkhazia since 1994. Although the Georgian government accuses them of siding with separatists, it has extended their mandate, fearing a new round of violence in case of their withdrawal.

Half of the Kodori Gorge is controlled by the separatists and half by the Georgian government, making it a flashpoint of tension. Four U.N. military observers were killed in the gorge when their helicopter was shot down in 2001. The attack was blamed on Chechen rebels.
_________________________________________

Anthony: Keep in mind that these UN people were in a 'hot spot' when they were abducted ... and not just walking down a city street. Let's hope that Sean pops back in here with his first-hand views of safety issues on the ground in Georgia.

As for Samara: It's fine and I'm fine too. Cool Thanks for asking!

Warm wishes,
kEnt
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Anthony Schierman



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:39 pm    Post subject: Alarmist Georgia Reply with quote

Well, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the "dangers" of life in the former Soviet Union ... I've spent some time in Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan and I can't imagine that Georgia is any more dangerous then these places. I guess kidnapping is a pretty big part of the culture in the Caucasus, from gangsters kidnapping women they are in love with to seperatist groups kidnapping UN folks to Chechen fighters kidnapping rich businessmen. Hey it all goes back to Jason kidnapping Medea from Colchis on the Georgian coast and cutting her brother up into little picecs ... and I would have liked to be around for that one, so why not give it a try now? Anyone who's travelled around some of the world's more "dangerous places" will know that people are generally good and well intentioned and I'm willing to take my chances with that. Perhaps the people who kidnap me in Georgia will be able to pay me more to teach them English then the school I'll be taking that job with. I'll be sure to let you know what rates the kidnappers pay for English lessons.

But thanks for the warnings I guess. Kent, that was an interesting article you found, let's see how it turns out!

Regards,

Anthony

PS -- Hoping that Sean will add some "on the ground tidbits" from Gori!
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:46 am    Post subject: Atlanta or Tbilisi? Reply with quote

Dear Anthony:

I agree; there's danger everywhere. Having been around the block a time or 2 myself, I can say here and now that the most dangerous and threatening city I've ever lived in ... was Atlanta Georgia. I wonder how Tbilisi Georgia will stack up? Razz

The important thing to remember in ANY big city is to keep a low profile, and TRUST the advice and recommendations of the 'locals', who know the score. If they tell you to stay away from a certain part of town, you stay away. Simple.

In Manila (where I lived for 2 years) following this simple advice kept me safe and happy. I never had a single problem during those 2 years, btw, despite Manila's reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in Asia.

Anyway ... just for fun, here's the latest from Interfax on Georgia's new hostage drama:

08.06.2003 11:49:00
UN observers' kidnappers demand ransom
TBILISI. June 8 (Interfax) - The people who have recently kidnapped a group of UN military observes in the Kodori Gorge contacted the UN office in Sukhumi last night and demanded a $2 million ransom for the hostages' release, the Georgian Rustavi-2 television reported on Sunday.
____________________

Anthony: I think we're all in the wrong business with this EFL thing. Kidnapping-for-ransom is the way to go! Very Happy

Regards,
kENt
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:07 pm    Post subject: I luv a happy ending! Reply with quote

Greetings Anthony:

I luv a happy ending. Very Happy

10.06.2003 14:37:01
**UN hostages released in Kodori Gorge
TBILISI. June 10 (Interfax) - Three UN mission observers and their interpreter, who were taken hostage in the Kodori Gorge on June 5, have been released without any ransom, a spokesman for the Kodori Gorge administration told Interfax.

He said that a helicopter has left to pick them up.

"The abductors of the UN observers escaped along the route provided by the Georgian authorities," the source said. The hostage-takers took the UN officials to a designated place and left the encircled area, he said.

The former hostages, a Dane, two Germans and their interpreter, a Georgian citizen, will be delivered to the village of Azhara in the Kodori Gorge.

**above story courtesy of: http://www.interfax.ru/?lang=EN&
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Anthony Schierman



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:22 pm    Post subject: happy ending Reply with quote

Me too! Perhaps there's hope for humanity after all. Shocked

Thanks Kent for keeping us posted.
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sean_m_reed



Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 2
Location: Republic of Georgia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 10:29 am    Post subject: a reply from a man in the street Reply with quote

Hi Anthony,

Wrote a couple weeks ago, but when I clicked to submit I get sent back to this reply box. I guess I carried on too much instead of getting to the heart of your questions. So I 'll get right to it this time.

Many people in the bazaars and markets speak Russian, as do taxi drivers and waitresses. Pupils learn Russian from the 2nd of 4th grades depending on which school they attend. Traveling recently with an American friend we speaks fluent Russian, he told me that the taxi driver could only understand fundamental phrases and no slang. If you pick up some Georgian while you are here you will make friends and keep you out of danger (another friend traveling by mini bus was passed the plastic bottom of a large coke bottle and prompted to make a toast. Upon his speaking Georgian, the heavily drunk passengers cheered in jubilation. Then they told him that they thought he was Russian and were going to kick the sh-- out of him. Lessons learned.)
Cheapest way to Tbilisi from New York? Go through Vienna or Istanbul. Likely Istanbul will make you pay the visa even though you have no plans to leave the airport. They made all volunteers pay for it to transfer to the other gate. I recommend avoiding Istanbul unless you are going to take a vacation there and plan to pay the $100 visa anyway.
At this time, the first group of volunteers is leaving after serving two years. That leaves about 40 some odd PCVs in the country. An awesome network of good people. E-mail me and I will send you a few names. I leave country June 20.
Georgia is a beautiful place. People mean well even when they want you to sit at a supra tabel for six hours or more and drink and eat and tell stories. An incredible amount of patience and cross-cultural adeptness (?) is necessary to get you through. One can be a hermit, but then why leave the house of your birth.
Have a great time. Make sure you get out of Tbilisi once a month; it's the only way you will be able to discover the land of the golden fleece, the real story and what has given this country the heart to survive invasion after invasion.

Peace,
Sean Reed
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
Gori, Georgia 2001-2003
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khmerhit



Joined: 31 May 2003
Posts: 1874
Location: Reverse Culture Shock Unit

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I met a teacher in Canada who was hired from Paris to open a school in Tiblisi-- this would have been some time in the 90s. He said the plane landed at the the airport during a coup or something like that-- gunfire and the works. he said he took the next plane back to paris-- after being detained at gunpoint for a perod of time-- days, hours, i cant recall.

I take it things have calmed down somewhat. Good to know it may be a growth area, Kent. I shall keep that info on the backburner--way back for now!! thanx. Very Happy


Last edited by khmerhit on Mon Jul 14, 2003 4:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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