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Professional Qualifications for Moscow

Are you considering working in Moscow as an expat? In recent years, numerous professionals have come to Russia’s capital to work as diplomatic staff, business developers or language teachers. In this guide, you’ll find information on the job search process and business life.
Sound Russian language skills may be required to work in Moscow.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Teaching English as a foreign language is a very popular option for young people who would like to gain some international experience in Moscow as well as native speakers who cannot find a position in their original profession. In recent years, a large number of private language institutions have sprung up all across the city. The demand for foreign language teachers is continually high, and chances are good for native speakers of languages such as English, French, Spanish, or German to find a teaching position.

On the downside, teacher salaries are usually not the most competitive. Before you accept a teaching post, carefully check the conditions you are offered. Finally, research the reputation of your potential employer — stories of scams are quite frequent.

Language Skills: Don’t Expect Too Much

English skills are a lot less common in Moscow than they are in many other European capitals. The average taxi driver or shop assistant probably knows a couple of English words at the very most. To make daily life easier, it is strongly recommended to learn at least some basic Russian for your life in Moscow.

In the business world, on the other hand, English is more widely spoken. Some positions, especially those in Russian companies, require knowledge of both Russian and English. For those working for one of the many multinationals, however, fluency in just English is often sufficient.

How to Behave in the Moscow Business World

In the Moscow business world, assertiveness and patience are assets in meetings and negotiations. Although meetings should be arranged well in advance, it is not unusual for them to be rearranged with short notice. Punctuality is not as important as elsewhere, and side conversations in meetings are acceptable. If circumstances are favorable, business deals may be concluded extremely spontaneously. Expect things to go a lot slower, though, when dealing with government agencies.

Dress formally and conservatively while in Moscow. Pay attention to your shoes and make sure they are always polished. The shoes are what many Russians will look at first when sizing up a new acquaintance.

A thing which often confuses newcomers is the use of Russian names. Every person in Russia has three names: a first name, a patronymic (a middle name derived from the father’s first name), and a family name. In formal situations, people should be addressed by their title and last name. For closer acquaintances and business relations, however, calling someone by their first name and patronymic is both affectionate and polite.


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Jürgen Hofmeister

"When I came to Moscow I barely knew anyone, but now I've got dozens of expat contacts from dozens of countries. "

Caroline Hayes

"At the first InterNations Moscow event that I attended I was absolutely delighted by the elegant atmosphere and the high-quality expat crowd. "

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