Governesses in Russia
In the past ten years, one of the largest growth areas for our high profile nanny agency has been the provision of domestic staff for Russian clients.
Of course the British governess in Russia has a long history: Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Nabokov and Tsar Nicholas II all had an English governess who was hired to give them a British accent and the kind of manners that only a governess can instil. Today’s overseas governess is often doing something very different though – many VIP families are seeking a teaching qualification, especially English as a Foreign Language, but also evidence of the ability to work in a team with other household staff and great social skills.
Working as a governess in Russia
Many Russian governesses find themselves working with only one or two children, and as part of a team that usually includes other domestic agency staff such as drivers, cooks, and often nannies, tutors, and grounds staff as well as cleaners. This means that a governess needs to adapt to changing circumstances as well as building strong relationships with others.
Some governesses find themselves more isolated than they expected, because the family they are working for lives outside Moscow – driving long distances is part of Russian life and it requires an adjustment even for an experienced governess unless she’s worked in a similarly huge country previously.
Russian families often seek an overseas governess for children as young as three and are quite focused on seeing progress in the child or children so it’s important that a governess working in Russia understands that her work will probably be quite closely overseen.
Advantages to working as a governess in Russia
- As a high profile nanny agency we’ve heard some amazing stories from Moscow governesses working for the ‘Russian Oligarch’ families: being flown home by private jet for a weekend’s break, diamond earrings as thank you gifts, riding Arabian stallions at the family dacha … while that definitely happens, it’s not the norm and shouldn’t be expected!
- Working in Russia is an exciting experience and as the country undergoes rapid change, a governess is often shaping the next generation that will lead the nation. This can be a thrilling experience for an accomplished governess.
- Russian families, by and large, are both generous and involved, sometimes a little too much of both! Whilst an overseas governess needs to be able to handle a lot of input, especially from Russian grandmothers, she’s also likely to find she’s very integrated into family life and has a large and positive role in family events.
- Travel is common, and while the governess might not always go on trips around the world, it’s quite commonplace to find you’re in Hong Kong or Australia, Paris or Prague a couple of times a year.
Finding the right governess to work in Russia
Russian families or those working overseas in Russia, have special requirements when seeking a British governess overseas. Expertise and enthusiasm are of course, essential, but other sought-after qualities are the ability to instil strong social skills, the capacity to work in a large team, often without much parental input during the working week, and a clear understanding of the role of education in Russian life, balanced by a real talent to help her charges fit into an increasingly international environment and master the skills necessary to succeed inside, or outside, Russia.
In selecting a shortlist of English governesses for a family in Russia, we focus on our London governess candidate base, linking it to our Surrey nanny agency candidate list so that we identify the ideal governess profile for your family and your child. Accompanying this expert analysis with enquiry into your family’s circumstances and needs allows us to define the perfect candidates for you, so that you can relax, confident that you’ve got just the right governess!