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Showing posts from 2016

All my applications or the value of failure

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If you are one of my students, you probably have heard me say, “There are a lot of grants and competitions out there. Apply for every single one that you you see. Apply, apply, apply.” Well, do I practice what I preach?

In this post, I want you to take a look at the results of my applications/ submissions/ competitions and analyze the success to failure ratio. I also want to tell you what I learned from my failures. I certainly hope that my story serves as an inspiration to persist and try, try, try again.

Here is my application history over the last years:


2013 IELTS Morgan Terry Memorial Scholarship – failed

2014 Communicative Assessment course by British Council – failed 

2014 Russian Language Assistant program in the UK – failed 

2014 Cambridge English Teacher Scholarship – failed 

2014 IELTS Morgan Terry Memorial Scholarship – failed 

2014 Essay Contest “Inspiring Teachers” – partly succeeded (didn’t win, but was shortlisted as a finalist, got a certificate, a book, and my essay …

Living in an English-speaking country and your English level

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Why living in an English-speaking country doesn’t automatically improve your English level and how to make sure it does First, I want to clarify a couple of things.
This post is about non-native speakers who go abroad for a longer period than an ordinary tourist trip, for example, to work or study.This post serves to bust the myth “Learning English in my home country isn’t effective anyway. As soon as I get to an English-speaking country, my English level will skyrocket in the blink of an eye.”This post is based on personal experience of living in the USA for a year, so I am going to use English and Russian but the ideas are probably true for other languages and countries too.So why doesn’t it?- You are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of language you are exposed to. When you arrive, you are instantaneously immersed in English. You speak English to your colleagues, bus drivers, cashiers, and bankers. You read pages of contracts and manuals. You come across massive amounts of ne…

The benefits of being a Fulbrighter (based on personal experience)

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The benefits of participating in Fulbright FLTA program are numerous and I am only giving a small portion here. (If you need some background on my participation in the program, read thisand this.) Here goes:
- You meet lots of great people.

Before you even leave for the USA, you meet your fellow FLTAs from your own country. Applicants go through a rigorous selection process, so the ones that do get selected are intelligent, creative, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun. Then you meet your fellow FLTAs from all over the world. Again, you meet intelligent, creative, enthusiastic, and fun people, but this time there is an added benefit of meeting people from other cultures (around 50 countries all told). You get a chance to see these people dance national dances, wear national clothes, and try authentic home-cooked national foods. The experience just opens your eyes to how fascinating and diverse the world is.

- You get first-hand experience of American education from two perspectives: as a…

My Fulbright year: what, where, when

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And now I’m back, with a backpack of new experiences, inspiration, knowledge, and ready to write, write, write!
I went to the USA for my Fulbright FLTA experience on 8 August 2015 and returned on 4 June 2016. The experience was great, fantastic, eye-opening, mind-blowing, developmental and many other positive adjectives. But first, some facts: where exactly did I go and what exactly did I do?
Good news: On 30 April 2015, I got an email, which made me jump and yell triumphantly. It started,“Congratulations! You have been selected for the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program.”In August, I went to teach Russian and study at University of New Haven (West haven, Connecticut, USA). (More about my Fulbright application.)
University:University of New Haven (UNH for short) has a student body of 5,000-10,000 students. Most of the people taking Russian at UNH have one of (or both of) these two majors: criminal justice and national security.
Location: UNH is located in a s…