If you are researching various programs, be sure you ask:
How long have you been operating this program?
GeoVisions has been offering Conversation Corps (live with a family and teach them English) since 2006. We invented it, and we were the first to provide this unique opportunity. Anyone else is simply copying what we have done for 7 years.
How do you choose your families?
The Conversation Corps or Teach in Russia program utilizes host families who want to learn English. At GeoVisions, our host families choose us. We screen them and make sure they really do need a live-in tutor. We also include local reps who are right there with you and can help at anytime.
Do you provide materials to help me be successful? How am I supported?
Not only does GeoVisions provide our own book, A Tutor's Guide--Teaching English to Families and Children (you download this document and take the parts you want with you), you receive hundreds of FREE materials through the ESL Lounge, and we employ a full time ESL Teacher, right here on staff. Betsy is here for you before you go to Russia and while you're there. Email Help Me Teach and you are connected with Betsy who will answer your questions and provide detailed and personalized ideas to help you be successful. You cannot write to her enough. No other organization provides this level of support. Go ahead and ask them. Betsy can even Skype with you before you depart or when you're on assignment.
Do I meet my family in advance or am I placed with the first family available?
GeoVisions spends a great deal of time match-making. It is the only way the program will be successful. There needs to be a "connection" between tutor and family. You will Skype, call or email your family before you ever pay the balance of your program fees. It's the only way everyone will be happy.
- Travel for less. The program is designed to provide plenty of time to experience the Russian culture.
- Do you want to learn Russian or brush up on your language skills? If available near your placement, GeoVisions will provide assistance in identifying suitable language lessons. Language classes are optional and at an additional expense.
- Exclusive teaching materials written by GeoVisions that you can print out and take with you. Plus your free subscription to the ESL Lounge provides many items to help you with your conversations such as worksheets, flash cards and games.
- Personalized help with lesson plans through our Help Me Teach desk. Having lesson plans is important and the most frequently requested assistance we receive. Some tutors just don't know where to start and need help identifying what to teach according to the ages of the family members. We are here to provide that assistance FREE. Email Betsy as often as you like.
- Tip the advantage to you by enhancing your resume by becoming a member of the Conversation Corps. Job: "Private Language Tutor." References: Global. It just doesn't get any better than that.
- You "meet" your family in advance through email, phone calls or Skype. Each family is interviewed by full time staff in Russia.
- Check out our Facebook page and begin the conversation now. Ask lots of questions in advance.
Join our Online Community and read our volunteer's journals, view their photos and watch their videos. You can even head on over to the Russia Group on the Community Pages and read about what's happening with our volunteers in Russia right now!
- View our Conversation Corps Pinterest Board.
Your Duties and Responsibilities
- Share your language with your host family up to 15 hours each week. Your should work out your schedule with your host family in advance or immediately upon arrival. Your primary reason for being there is to provide conversation in your language. The family knows that and they are expecting you to set the teaching schedule in advance and bring materials with you that will help the family learn. This is your responsibility. Although you are a guest, they are expecting to take the lead from you.
- Using GeoVisions' teaching materials that you download and bring with you, and your free Internet subscription to the online ESL Lounge along with your creativity, provide creative, fun and informative language sessions. If you get stumped and need specific help, our personalized Help Me Teach desk is always there for you to use. Here are plenty of examples from the Help Me Teach desk in our GeoVisions Blog.
- Keep your room tidy and clean and respect the host family's rules and habits. Sleeping late everyday, spending your days in your room and not being accessible to the family is not respectful. Nor is it respectful to be on the Internet, your iPad or cell phone most of the time.
- Manage your own personal expenses (telephone bills, clothing, entertainment and spending money).
What You Receive For Your Program Fee
- Personalized volunteer placement through our partner in Russia with a pre-screened family. In other words, a place to call "home" in Russia.
- A comfortable, safe place to live in Russia, including three meals per day when you are with your host family.
- An experienced U.S. based GeoVisions Program Manager who will serve as your coordinator and liaison with our in-country staff in Russia.
- In-country basic language assistance.
- Professional, locally-based staff to provide orientation, supervision and guidance throughout your stay. In some instances due to location, it may be necessary to receive orientation by telephone or may require you to travel a short distance to the office to receive orientation there if you want it.
- Extensive medical, and accident insurance along with emergency evacuation insurance. Our insurance covers you up to $50,000 and carries a $0 deductible and is good for the entire duration of your program. We also include trip delay insurance, baggage loss and delay coverage, missed connection coverage and LiveTravel™ Emergency Service.
- Pre-departure materials, orientation information, full access to GeoVisions' Community Pages for in-depth information and access to former and current members of the Conversation Corps.
- A toll-free 24-hour emergency hotline in the U.S. Call collect from Russia. Our emergency line is manned by real people.
- Our own manual, A Tutor's Guide--Teaching English To Families and Children, which you download and take with you to Russia.
- Premium online membership at the ESL-Lounge for access to game, flash-cards, worksheets.
- Unlimited access to GeoVisions' exclusive Help Me Teach desk, to assist you with ideas that relate to your situation.
- Meet your family before you leave home via email and Skype. You will receive information about your host family before you even accept the position.