The plentiful opportunities of offer and rich history of Russia’s capital has been drawing people in for centuries. While the country’s relationship with the West is currently somewhat strained, the colourful life Moscow can provide continues to be the main reason so many expats settle there. It is also completely possible to get by in Moscow without knowing any Russian, especially given the local cosmopolitans’ eagerness for learning English. In fact, some of the more popular Meetups Moscow offers are to help their participants practice their English skills.
Since the aim is to practice English skills, expect to meet a lot of locals and non-native English speakers. If you are already fluent in English, you can use the events to help someone improve their skills and also as a convenient way of finding a practice partner for your own target language.
In the Moscow Meetup scene, there are two rather active groups that focus on hosting events dedicated to English practice. One is the English House Speaking Club and the other English Conversation Club – English for Life. The English Conversation Club has been around for longer and also has a higher number of participants which can be a both a merit and a drawback, depending on what you’re looking for in an event. What the English House Speaking Club lacks in tradition, however, they make up for in enthusiasm.
Note that both of the groups do require a symbolic contribution of 350 rubles to take part in their events. However, in the case of the English Conversation Club, the fee is waived for native English speakers and English House Speaking Club does not charge foreigners.
The English House Speaking Club group’s events take place several times a week either at the Larks & Owls – Жаворонки & Совы – close to the Mayakovskaya station or at a Starbucks near the Belorusskaya metro station. Events are usually attended by around 20 people, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding someone interesting to talk to while not feeling overwhelmed by the crowd.
For English Conversation Club’s events, you most likely with have to head over to Cherrylane. Cherrylane is the meeting place for four out of the five of the group’s regularly recurring events. For the two English Speed-Meetings, TED Talk Discussions, and the Resistance – Avalon events, the location is always Cherrylane, located at 38a Bolshaya Yakimanka, pleasantly close to Oktyabrskaya or Polyanka metro stations. For the one remaining event, the location is a bar called Darling, I’ll Call You Later…, near the Kitay-Gorod metro stop.
The events organised by either of these groups take place regularly and frequently. There is hardly a day of the week when you couldn’t practice your English skills.
The English House Speaking Club organises events on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. All of the Speaking Club events start at 8 pm. For the best overview of the group’s schedule, take a look at their upcoming events calendar.
English Conversation Club’s events take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The Tuesday’s English Speed-Meeting and Thursday’s TED Talk Discussions start at 7:30 pm. Friday’s English Speed-Meeting begins at 7 pm, Saturday’s The Resistance-Avalon at 5 pm and Sunday’s Speed-Meeting at Kitay-Gorod starts at 6 pm. The group’s event calendar provides the most up-to-date info on the events planned.
Although both of the groups charge a small fee for taking part in their events, it is not considerable and foreigners are often excluded from paying it altogether. In general, it’s hard to find a more consistent and well-organised set of language practice events in Moscow than those organised by these two Meetup groups.
Photo credit: English House photo album.