Teach English in Russia & Discover the City of Peter the Great: St. Petersburg
By Gabriela Fernandez
- Do you love great art and fantastic architecture?
- Would you like to live in a cosmpolitan European city?
- Do you want to get paid to teach English in Russia?
If you answer "yes" to these questions, then St. Petersburg might be the city for you.
A city of writers, composers and towering political figures from Peter the Great to Vladimir Lenin, St. Petersburg embodies the grandeur of Russia, the world's largest nation. Constructed by Czar Peter the Great in 1703 as a new capital and symbol of a modern Russia, St. Petersburg is renowned for its majestic palaces, picturesque canals and exquisite museums and performance halls. It was also the home to many of Russia's most famous and notorious historical characters from great authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Aleksandr Pushkin to the eccentric mystic, Grigory Rasputin, and current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
St. Petersburg - The Venice of the North
Known as the "Venice of the North" for its network of canals and magnificent architecture, St. Petersburg is located at the eastern tip of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea and the Neva River. Named "Leningrad" during the age of communism, St. Petersburg has reclaimed its status as a cosmopolitan, European city and international center of commerce, education, culture and the arts since the Iron Curtain came down 25 years ago.
Russia - A Great Job Market for Teaching English Abroad
In recent decades St. Petersburg has emerged as a huge job market for teaching English in Russia. As Russia seeks to reestablish its status as a world power in a highly globalized economy, the demand for English language instruction has exploded, making the nation one of the biggest job markets in the world for teaching English abroad. Teaching English in Russia offers fantastic opportunities to experience life in one of the world's most historic and fascinating nations during an incredible moment in history of transition and change.
In addition, Russia offers opportunities to interview and line up an English teaching job in advance, and unlike in some other European nations, it is standard and typical for English teachers in Russia from the U.S. and elsewhere to receive work visas. In addition, some teachers in Russia receive extra benefits like stipends for airfare and/or housing, in addition to health insurance and paid days off.
In the meantime, here are some of the highlights you have to look forward to while teaching English in St. Petersburg, Russia......
The Artistic Treasures of the Hermitage Museum
If you think the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art are enormous, wait until you lay eyes on the Hermitage! Founded by Empress Catherine the Great in 1764, the Hermitage is one of the oldest museums in the world and holds more than 3 million pieces of art, including the largest collection of paintings on earth. Equally impressive is the museum's setting in the Old Winter Palace, which served as chief residence of the Russian Czars from 1732 until 1917, when the monarchy fell to the Bolsheviks.
The Dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral
One of the most prominent features of the city skyline, the golden dome of the St Isaac’s Cathedral represents one of the true iconic landmarks of the city. This Cathedral, which is the largest Russian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg, is now primarily a museum, but church services are held on the major religious days.
Strolling along Nevsky Prospect
What the Champs Elysees is to Paris or Michigan Avenue is to Chicago, Nevsky Prospect is to St. Petersburg. Lined with grand cathedrals, monuments and other major historical landmarks, Nevsky Prospect has long been the city's preeminent center of shopping, nightlife and fine dining, and it's definitely a place to see and been seen! It has also figured prominently in major historical events such as the Bolshevik Revolution as well as major works of literature like Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment.
This stunning Rococo style palace located 15 miles southeast of St. Petersburg served as the summer residency of the czars and the royal family throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Commissioned by Peter the Great in 1717, it was built specifically to match the grandeur and opulence of Versailles. Laden with gold and marble, the interior consists of a nearly endless sequence of majestically decorated halls and rooms, the most of famous of which, the legendary Amber Room, was painstakingly rebuilt over 20 years after the Nazis dismantled it during World War II.
The Legendary White Nights of Summer
St. Petersburg is home to one of the world's great celebrations of summer - the famous "White Nights." From May through July, local citizens and visitors celebrate the longest days of the year when the sun barely sets under the horizon and it stays light into the early morning hours. Known as “Beliye Nochi” to the Russians, it is a time to be on the streets and to attend an endless array of special concerts, festivals, ballet, and opera, as well as restaurants and bars that stay open late into the morning hours.
Other highlights include the raising of the bridges over the River Neva (ideally viewed during an evening cruise), swimming in Lake Ladoga, and strolling through the immaculately landscaped Letnii Sad, or "Summer Gardens". The festivities reach their apex on June 22, when more than a million people gather for the Scarlet Sails. Featuring the sailing of tall ships and a mock pirate battle on the Neva that recreates a popular children's story, it is the largest annual public gathering in Russia!
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
Known to locals as Spas na Kravi, the Church is of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood was erected to commemorate the spot where Czar Alexander II was assassinated by revolutionaries in 1881. Alexander II was known for freeing the serfs in 1861 and initiating a variety of other government reforms. The church, with its whimsical gold-draped domes is in some ways reminiscent of the legendary St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow, but was built centuries later between 1883 and 1907 on the Griboedova Canal where it makes for one of the most stunning sights in all of St. Petersburg.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Initially constructed right after the city's founding in 1703 to protect it from a Swedish invasion that never arrived, the Peter and Paul Fortress stands as a symbol of the city's history and remains one of its most famous landmarks. For many years it was known as the "Bastille of St. Petersburg" as it held many of Russia's most famous political prisoners ranging from Leon Trotsky to Fyodor Dostoevsky. The fortress is also known as the burial place of the czars as nearly all of Russia's monarchs from Peter the Great on are buried here. That includes Nicholas II, the last czar, whose remains were finally interred here in 2006, nearly 90 years after his death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries.
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- Country Profile - Teaching English in Russia
- 5 Reasons Why Russia is a Top Job Market for Teaching English Abroad
- Want to teach English in Europe? Go East, My Friend!
Q&As from ITA Alumni - Teaching English in Russia:
Alumni Article - Teaching English in Russia:
About the Author -A Chilean and a former resident of Seoul, Korea, Gabriela Fernandez is a passionate traveler, journalist, writer and political scientist with extensive international experience working as a broadcaster, writer and actress for television channels, radio stations and magazines across the globe. With a Master's Degree in International Development & Cooperation, she has explored cultures and cuisines the world over while traveling to 6 continents, more than 20 countries and hundreds of cities worldwide.