I spent a month living with a family in Bronnitsy, a town SE of Moscow. Dad, Mom, two sons (9 and 11) and their dog. The family went out of their way to show me Russian life, including trips in to Moscow, to plays and ballets, and to their dacha. I met other members of their family, their friends and several of the boys' teachers. Their school actually made a really big deal of my visit, inviting me to classes, a forum where advanced English students spoke, and a special presentation and tea. They even put me on local TV! I tailored my English instruction individually: helped the younger son with his English homework and worked on reading; traded history lessons in English (me) and Russian (him) with the older boy; worked with Dad every morning over breakfast; and worked with Mom in the kitchen, practicing vocabulary and listening. I met Grandmother, and an older daughter who is at university. I really felt one of the family, and enjoyed the experience immensely.
What would you improve about this program?
The placement and timing were all arranged by email, and I misunderstood the start date for the program. Thus, in applying for a visa, they provided a support letter that gave different dates from what I put on the visa application, and the visa was awarded with the dates from the support letter. As a result, I arrived in Helsinki a week before my visa began, and had to wait there until I could continue to Moscow. The family made a very long, fruitless trip to the airport on the earlier date, when I did not arrive.
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would