Dominanta English Version
Though this site is dedicated mostly to recruiting Russian speaking students we thought it wise to keep you informed of what we are, we do and how we live here.
I guess I have to start from the very beginning because very often we have to explain why while being asked when we started, we produce two dates: 1995 and 2010. In 1995 we grounded a tour operating company called Juventa-Tours and while all the others in Russia were engaged into the so-called “Shopping Tours” we sent our first students to Ireland to study English. It happened so that our first partner (chosen by random!) was Patrick Shortt from Alpha College of English. Hard to believe but he came over to have a proper look at us! Next year we participated in the first educational event organized by ICEF in Moscow. That is how we started.
Until 2010 it was mostly tourism what we did and only a small number of students (ca. 30 – 40 annually) was sent abroad to study languages.
In 2010 we decided to shift our focus on Education. A Dean from Saratov Technical University, Ms. Alena Popovskaya, was seduced to come over and become a managing partner of a new company, fully dedicated to educational matters, Dominanta. Since then Dominanta “dominates”!
In 2014 we sent ca. 350 students of all kinds to programs starting with language courses up to University placements and were quite proud of ourselves.
Our city of Saratov can not be compared to such heavyweights as Moscow or St. Peter, not even to Ekaterinburg or Samara… Whether it is economy or mentality, hard to say… When the crises was announced in Russia, we understood that the “fat years” were gone and we started thinking of new ways to survive and live on. In the meantime we expanded a bit, opening our office in the neighboring city of Penza (200 km from our place) and starting our first attempts as a language school on the spot. As we noticed a downshift in figures we thought about “bringing England to our students” - that is how we named the project! We invited teachers – native speakers, to come to us for a couple of weeks to teach English (French and German) to our students both in Saratov and Penza The project proved to be a success and so we stuck to it.
Even now we are constantly looking for volunteers eager to gain new experience and share their knowledge and enthusiasm with our kids here! As for us, we cover all their expenses like airfare, visa fee, insurance, accommodation, transfers, food and even pocket money – they get the same amount as our local teachers do!
In order to rouse interest to study abroad we organized together with our key partners, Kings Education and BHMS (Business and Hotel Management School, Switzerland), an English Contest where students of our local partner schools took part. Generous prizes from our sponsors helped us gain more new students for them. It is our wish, to proceed with this form of promotion and we invite new partners to join in!
“Road-shows” are another point of our activities: when our partners come to visit us, we go away for a couple of days visiting not only Saratov schools and Universities, but also Balakovo, Penza, Kuznetsk etc, where our students live. The kids there are not spoiled by much of attention on behalf of foreign guests and each such visit becomes a big event for everybody.
The last (but by no means not the least!) event to mention is our Education Abroad exhibition where we invite our partners to participate. Our visitors are students of schools and Universities as well as their parents interested in education abroad. The last exhibition took place on
April 22 in Saratov.
For more information please contact +7 8452 746828
, Ms. Anna Efimova.
There are certainly more forms that our activities take and we are open to new ideas (and new partners). Looks like I will remain the Editor-in-Chief of this news column at least for the time being, so please share your thoughts and ideas with us, put your questions so you will also gain your share of information and fun (and, hopefully, students as well!).
A month is not that big a deal, is it? The month of August is nearly gone and I didn't notice it at all: the preparations ended and our Summer Camp began. Ten days but very intensive and full with events. Nearly every day we had a Skype session with our partners abroad as our goal was to provide information about possibilities to study abroad and such "bridges" proved to be very important. All in all we had 10 students and 4 teachers to take care of them. The mainstream was naturally an IELTS preparation course (I'd say, an introduction) but we also had many individual lessons and consultations. The feed-back is very positive and we hope to stay in touch with these students. Just wanted to add that all this took place in a very picturesque place in the mountains not far from Sochi, accompanied by a perfect weather...
Can “routine” work be dull?! Sure it can! But not if you know what it is all for… Right now we are in the middle of “routine”: preparing ourselves for the next big events like the Olympiad in Saratov, Penza and Sochi; our 3rd Education Abroad Fair, the next IELTS session, English Camp on the Black sea and German Camp in Kuznetsk (still have to find the teacher!) and many other exciting things…
Up to that our Anna took an opportunity to travel to the US for nine months to teach Russian as a FL at a college in Memphis on Fullbright which means we have to train new girls to turn them into professionals. That is what we are doing right now! Sure we will be missing Anna but she promised to come back enriched with an absolutely new experience.
I guess I got a bit disappointed with something…. Or upset… Or I was just too-o-o busy to write… I don’t remember it any longer! The last two months went incredibly fast but were very productive as well: our 4th English Camp in Kuznezk by Penza was a total success both with kids and their parents. A daring young American, Lachlan Bebout, stayed for two weeks in a small provincial town teaching English, playing soccer and brushing the surrounding woods (just for fun!). The kids didn’t want to let him go: hugs, kisses, gifts of all kinds and an improvised concert in his honor: what more would you want?! Right now he is travelling through Russia…
The rest was routine: as we added Sochi to our list of destinations, we have to travel even more than before. Our next topics on agenda are: our 3rd Education Abroad Fair (Saratov and Penza) on November 16th/17th; our next Olympiad prior to it by the end of October in all three cities as we want to enhance the effect of the Fair, our Summer School (just 10 days!) in the mountains above the Black sea in August and preparation for the next, 5th Camp in Kuznetsk, this time the German one in November…
Another thing, we are trying to reconstruct our web-site…
I will keep you posted (in case you follow us!) but we would like to welcome you to join us on any of our projects either as a teacher for our camps, or sponsor for the Olympiad, or participant for the Fair, or maybe you can give some tips what to do with the site as we are really at a loss here!
Time to breathe out! Our Olympiads in Saratov, Penza and Sochi are over and the results are not that bad: more than thirty schools from these (and neighboring towns) took part. I guess I envy those 15 – 16 year olds who speak English fluently and whose presentations look very mature and professional! Me, at 15….
Our partners sponsoring the competition were very generous: B.H.M.S. (Switzerland) contributed a two week stay in their Summer Camp which is not a camp at all but a trial run for would-be students, along with usual discounts certificates; Kings Education (UK/USA) provided two weeks in their Summer schools; ATC (Ireland) gave two weeks of tuition and accommodation and Cyprus International University (N. Cyprus) threw in also two weeks of English in their Summer Camp as well as a grant for University studies – all these for Saratov and Penza. Sochi enjoyed a free YEAR as well as five minor grants from BBI (Luxemburg) and prizes from the Cambridge Centre for Languages: two weeks of tuition, and discounts of GBP 1000 and GBP 650.
The presentation took place on premises of our partner in Sochi – Language school G8, all perfectly planned and organized.
Our big thank you to all those involved! The next such event is planned for October this year preceding our Education Abroad Fair in November.
Crazy, crazy World…. So many sad things are happening around us: children die in fire as some fat cats wanted more money and saved on fire alarms… Trump and Putin both play muscle games, a former double agent along with his daughter are being poisoned in London… By whom?... As a result diplomats expelled and British Council in Russia closed down… What shall we do? A tiny business, even more way of life for a handful of enthusiasts… The only answer I have is to live on! People must come to reason and they surely will!
We “keep on boiling”: just finished our English Language Olympiad in Saratov and Penza where boys and girls of local schools had to prove how good they are and they did! Our partners, Kings Education (UK and USA), B.H.M.S.(Switzerland), ATC (Ireland) and Cyprus International University were extremely generous in providing prizes for winners. The next step is the Olympiad in Sochi sponsored by BBI (Luxemburg) and Cambridge Centre of Languages.
ICEF Workshop in Moscow was also a great event: we met with our long-standing and new partners and were able to share our ideas with other agents, which proved extremely positive. Our next English Camp is planned both in Kuznetsk and Sochi – we just hope that our American volunteers will be able to come!
IELTS session is scheduled for April 07th and is fully booked already… So, as you can see, life is going on and we do our best to stay tuned in not only for sad news but also for good and positive ones! Or rather do them by ourselves!
Life is hard! Just returned from palm trees, green grass and the sea (all of it is Sochi on the Black sea coast) into the frost, snow and icy streets (all of it is Saratov). Up to that our way back took place soon after the crash of a Saratov Airlines plane where people had died… Anyway, heaps of work help distract from all the grieves and we are busy preparing programs both for our new-found partners in Sochi and here.
Laura and Paul from the Cambridge Centre for Languages are coming in a couple of days. A big adventure for them: wild, wild Russia… The local public are waiting for them already, presentations and tea parties are being scheduled, questions in English formulated and articulated… Wish the patience and good luck!
I am not going to apologize any longer – otherwise it will become just a headline! Lots of things happened in the meantime: we did it! I mean the Fair. The partners were there: Kings Education (UK/US), BHMS (Switzerland), BBI (Luxemburg), Humber College (Canada), Queen Ethelburga’s School (UK), Association (Czech Republic), Cyprus International University (N. Cyprus), fRilingue (Switzerland), Asia Pacific University (Malaysia) and (last but by no means least!) Aspire2 (New Zealand)… The focus this time was mostly on higher education. Saratov was a bit more enthusiastic than Penza but all in all there were ca. 600 dedicated visitors! Our partner from Ireland, ATC, held an on-line seminar for teachers of English. The first students gained from this event have already paid for their first University year.
Two big events – ICEF Berlin and ST Alpha Malaga, brought us new ideas, new partners, old friends revisited…
Right now we expect visits from UK, Switzerland and Cyprus – we will take our partners to “our” schools and Universities, arrange meetings with parents and presentations, assist them in any possible way, the same they do for us!
In March we are running our own “Olympics” where kids from Saratov, Penza and Sochi will compete in English. Our sponsors deliver prizes like free weeks (language courses) in the UK as well as big discounts for higher education in Hospitality in Switzerland and Luxemburg.
And… March will see our 5th in a row Language Camp in Kuznetsk by Penza. A teacher from the US is coming for two weeks to make it memorable for the kids!
Did I forget something?!
I probably have to apologize myself for not writing for too long… But you know how it is, not to get any feedback, to write to yourself…. But that is a different kind of writing altogether!
Anyway… We are all busy as bees (our permanent state of things here). This time we are hosting our Candy (Candy Tembo, a brave girl from Germany/UK/SA who had spent two terms in Balakovo of all things teaching English there!). This is her third(!) time with us doing a great job, teaching English to boys and girls in Saratov and Engels. That is where she experienced the right Teacher’s Day on October 5th, with flowers and big tart and other pleasant things. Two weeks out of four are gone. Tiring and rewarding at the same time. Two more to go!
Preparations for our Fair “Education Abroad” are under way. Full steam ahead! Big cartons are being moved from place to place, letters written and delivered… usual stuff. November 18th is getting closer!
Trial IELTS exam (two sessions) are being planned in Penza, this time in Gymnasiums (can I translate it as former “Grammar school” in England? Though not quite!) NN 1 and 44. That is also a big fun! Wish them good luck!
More reports to come!
Time is fast… Sounds like a banality but it is just a fact. Summer is over, just a couple of more weeks and so the cycle is complete, a new school year starts (I am no longer sure there was any gap in it anyway!). That means a new start for our projects:
1. We need again a teacher of English, native speaker, who could help us run the courses both in Saratov an Kuznetsk in October – November;
2. Preparations for our second International Fair “Education Abroad” are under way: we invite partners to register as participants. This time we decided to expand: we will take both Saratov and Penza in order to enable access to a bigger number of audience.
This will happen on November 18th – 19th;
3. New groups for England and Ireland are being formed for the coming Fall and individuals are preparing to leave for USA, New Zealand and Luxemburg…. Busy, busy, busy…
I apologize for my missing reports: we were VERY busy with some people on their business trips and some just having fun elsewhere J
Our groups just returned from Switzerland: younger ones accompanied by our Anna spent two weeks in a fRilinigue camp in the mountains. We experienced it all starting with homesickness to an injured leg and visiting a local doctor to troubled parents with “My kid hasn’t called me today yet!” to enormous joy of kids themselves! Thank you, fRilingue!
The other group was visiting our partner – Business and Hotel Management School (BHMS) from Lucern. Also great experience and fun for kids while sitting in for lectures delivered by professionals in hospitality, doing some practical work and travelling around. Some of them have already chosen BHMS as their future place of study.
Students flying in and out, visa, courses on our premises – everyday life which engulfs all of us!
One more thing: we started preparation for our second International Fair “Education Abroad” which will be held in two cities, Saratov and Penza, on November 18th – 19th
. Invitations are out and some first participants have already reported back….
I clearly understand that the level of our “World News” is much lower than that of the “Big” World… Nothing to compare…. But still there are many things that are going on which are important both for us and our clients!
Our English Camp in Kuznetsk is over. There were tears as the students didn’t want to let Robby go! Professionally speaking all the goals were achieved: the kids stopped being shy and started speaking, they could clearly comprehend the Southern drawl of Robby, they learned some clearly new things about the USA, played American football and, which was most important, they learned that Robby the American looked very much the same as they themselves or their parents did!
I guess it was also some experience for Robby too as his friends back in the US had warned him of going to Russia where Americans were considered foes and all that stuff… He says now that he has become a kind of an ambassador. How very true!
Now his second phase has started: Robby is teaching English to kids and adults in Saratov at Dominanta premises… So far so good!
Some of our students started their stay in England as of today and others are getting ready. Good luck to them all!
Still busy as bees…. Our English (this time American) Camp in Kuznetsk by Penza is up and running! Robert McCurdy, our teacher, fought his way with flying colors through the Russian consulate, took a red-eye flight from LA to New York, managed to be on time for his connecting flight to Moscow then to Penza to fall asleep, exhausted, in my car on his way to Kuznetsk…
This Saturday, June 3rd, we had another guest, Jake Wilson from Queen Ethelburga’s boarding school in York, UK. He spent 2 days with us talking without break about the school… Attending were us, the Dominanta, and local teachers of English.
Today a small group (a family actually) of Volga Germans from US are coming. We are going to visit their heritage villages near Saratov and spend a couple of hours in the Archives of the Volga Germans in Engels. Hope for a good weather!
My colleagues are busy preparing documents for our groups and individuals for UK and Switzerland and Alexandra is leaving today for Moscow to accompany a lot to the British Visa Center there. Summer…
Being asked how we are doing (when it is not out of sheer politeness ) I always stumble, look up and try to recollect what we’ve been doing recently… Lots of things. Every single day. Big and small. I was (and still am) personally busy with rounding up preparations for the Summer English Camp in Kuznetsk by Penza. We expected at least two teachers from California (out of eleven who originally reported back to our call for volunteers) but are getting only one! The second one after long talks and lot of correspondence just dropped down from radar… Made us change a lot of things here, on this side! Perhaps it is really scary to travel to wild, wild Russia?!
Our groups and individual students of all ages are getting ready to go to UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Canada, Switzerland… That means a lot of attention to details, our nerves being strung while waiting for the visa to be issued, buying tickets and all that stuff.
Thinking through our promotional campaigns, allocating budgets, writing texts – that is also our everyday.
As one of our teachers, Angello, is going back to Mosambique, we are to prepare promotional material he could distribute over there…
So, nothing special. Just everyday life.
This one is not a purely informative report – I’d say it more a boastful one! We did it! Our first Education Abroad Fair in Saratov is over! More than 400 visitors, not only from Saratov but also from Penza, Balakovo and Engels came in spite of the pouring rain and snow! We just wanted to express our gratitude to our partners who came to support us: Kings Education (UK and USA), B.H.M.S. (Switzerland), ATC (Ireland and UK); BBI (Luxemburg and Belgium), FriLingue (Switzerland); Cyprus International University (Northern Cyprus), Cyprus Education Group, New Zealand, Oscars International (UK, Ireland and Cyprus), Talk International (USA), Communica Institute (Japan), ACS Cobham International School (UK), Association (Czech Republic) and George Brown College (Canada).
For three days (on Friday, the day preceding the Fair, during the Fair and the next day) our partners held seminars and webinars as well as presentations at schools and Universities sharing information about possibilities to learn and study in their countries with students, their parents and teachers
There’s only one thing which is a news and not a news at all: we are all busy with preparations for our first (as Dominanta) exhibition “Education Abroad”. Time is running out and we do our best to cope with all sorts of problems, big and small, to make it all happen. On April 22nd, we are planning a good kick to our somewhat sleeping city and hope we have raised some interest among our existing and potential students. This will be a pure informational event which will enable our partners, educational institutions, to get a feel of this market and create right strategies for better sales. More than 800 visitors from Saratov, Engels, Balakovo, Penza and Kuznetsk are expected. Six seminars are also planned for English teachers and potential students.
Yes, we did it! Our (already) traditional Language Camp in Kuznetsk (by Penza) is over. This time it was a Deutsch Camp where young learners aged 12 to 15 were given a chance to exercise their German skills on a very patient and friendly person – Michael Weise. Looks like everybody got to love him, both kids and teachers, whose valuable assistance was much more than just a “mite” in the course. The final concert was great: the kids sang German songs (one of them – even in a dialect!) and performed a couple of plays: Red Riding Hood and The Bremen Town Musicians.
The English Camp is coming! Get ready!
Pictures and videos here
I am proud to report that our first IELTS session turned out to be a success! We got our first experience in promoting and arranging the session. The examiners from IH Moscow noted the level of organization and appreciated our efforts in keeping the highest standards of the session. That makes us feel more confident in organizing the next one scheduled for May 21st!
Another news concerns our German Camp in Kuznetsk (Penza province): the equator is over and 34 kids are happy to exercise their German with Michael, our German teacher. Not only lessons but also cooking classes, excursions and sports are on the itinerary!
We have already started preparations for the Summer ENGLISH camp and we still need TWO volunteer native speakers as teachers!!!!! The conditions are the same: ALL expenses are covered + pocket money!
LIFE IS GOING ON…
I apologize for the banality, but I couldn’t really avoid it because it is true! Spring has come and snow started thawing… We can see it in process from our car cruising between Saratov, Balakovo, Penza and Kuznetsk as our clients want us there.
Kuznetsk is a very nice small town, ca. 100 km from Penza, inhabited by very friendly people, good schools with knowledgeable teachers and highly motivated kids. All this was duly noted by Eric Fuerstein representing Kings Education, who made a presentation of US educational system in his usual artistic manner. This time it was Gymnasium 9 and the kids still keep talking about!
Last Summer we started another project in Kuznetsk: together with Gymnasium 1, the oldest in town, we organized an English Camp for 30 kids where the teacher came from Ireland. It proved to be a success and on March 22nd another Camp, this time German, is going to take place. We hope it to succeed too as we have a highly motivated teacher from Germany here and not less motivated students…
We are still looking for volunteer teachers of English for Summer! We cover ALL the expenses of their stay. Fun is guaranteed! Join us now!