I was in the summer 2011 group, and after 9 of us were left with no contact at Tbilisi airport,we finally made our way to Kutaisi-I had not slept in 30 - yes 30- hours,then they gave us 2 hours to sleep and then I and my group were supposed to meet with the Minister of Education-and no one awakened me; staff was in general like this, somewhat of a fiasco. They gave minimal Kartuli(Georgian)language lessons and the cultural awareness was redundant for many who had as myself lived-taught throughout the world already.
Staff were much less world - teaching - language expertise aware than many participants.They were really bothersome to say the least, unprofessional in not a few ways.
That said I had a SUPER GOOD family;I speak Russian and I had no trouble anytime getting around and spoke at home in Russian-my father was a former mayor and mother, maths teacher. I STILL am close to them and love them.
I know the TLG people were trying to do something good but I think all of us, at least the people in the program I knew-consider the high turnover staffers about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Nowadays I know the president of the country is not "Mischa Saakashvili", but Ivanishvili who favours the way things used to be before Georgia took independence. So I could not say what augurs for the possibilities of the program today. I would say if a person speaks Russian (I am native speaker of American English) then it will go very easily, just play along with the "matriculation", simplistic as it may be- then get with your family.
I found the people 99 percent of everyone in Sakhartvelo(Georgia) GREAT. Only one taxi driver, a Romansch Tsigan(Gypsy) tried to rip me off in Batumi once but otherwise I can't think of one bad person or experience as a trainer there.I got burned out on cheese bread but to say it tastes exquisite is to say the least. Other foods were good; especially sauces which are truly gourmand. I tend to vegetarian which they sort of chuckled at but overall the food was good.
Yes, and I learned to make wine and harvested grapes that autumn; we harvested just part of the crop and it was 300 kilos;it is a beautiful memory.And don't forget the cha cha (pure distilled alcohol). I really didn't drink but a tiny glass but it has a punch!
I cannot tell you how beautiful Adjara region is.We're talking picture postcard beauty.I will return, my own parents died years ago and I consider the family there my mother and father, for real and I can stay-live there anytime. People do not exaggerate when the speak of Georgians' hospitality.
If I were running the program I would get rid of 90 percent of the staff-training and have just a couple of professional, seasoned liaisons to run the show.
I would recommend this only to certain individuals. The groups have had fresh out of college kids who treat it like a frat party on spring break. It is NOT and they are a freakin' embarrassment to the states(where I am from).If a person has language(s), and teaching credentials(I mean specifically ESL Certs as I have ) - then by all means go. Otherwise I'd say probably no to the average person merely seeking fun and travel.
Again I love my family there and I will return and TLG made it possible - I am grateful to them for that.