5 fun ways to boost your Russian language skills

Learning Russian can be a daunting experience and can sometimes seem downright impossible. Russian grammar is notoriously tricky (the three words ‘verbs of motion’ still fill me with dread!) and it is easy to get disheartened. However, there are plenty of ways to make it fun! 1) Watch a Russian TV show or film This is a great way to get a sense of how real Russians talk. Although the speech will tend to be quicker, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you begin to understand the gist of the conversation. I like the TV show ‘Физрук’ (‘P.E. Teacher’). It’s a comedy so it makes learning Russian that much more enjoyable. Russian cartoons are really useful as they are designed for children, so the characters speak slowly and simply. My favourite is ‘Чебурашка и Крокодил Гена’ (‘Chebur ...

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March 8th – Celebrating Women’s Day in Russia

March 8th - Celebrating Women's Day in Russia

Every year on March 8th Russian women become the center of attention. This day is reserved for Russian men to pamper their wife, girlfriend, mother, sisters and favorite female co-workers with flowers, little presents or just an extra bit of attention. In a way, Women’s Day in Russia is like a mixture between Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Also, it is a national holiday, so a non-working day, where most stores and bigger institutions are closed. Traditionally Russians celebrate Women’s Day with family or close friends in the comfort of their own home. Popular presents for women are fragrances, high-end make up, jewelry, invitations to coffee or dinner and above all- flowers. However, there are certain rules which apply to giving flowers in Russia, so make sure to read until the end of this ...

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Taking pen friendship to the next level: How I study Russian with Whatsapp

How to study Russian with Whatsapp

During my stay in St.Petersburg I was learning so many new words and phrases in Russian and started to think of ways to use them in everyday life. But with whom should I speak? I didn’t know anyone in Saint Petersburg and throughout the week I was usually very busy. As I took out my phone to ask my friends for help, I came up with an idea: Why not find someone who would like to exchange whatsapp messages with me in Russian? That way I could practice everything I have learned so far in class and get direct feedback on my performance. Hence, I took out my laptop and did some research on Couchsurfing -a web community for travelers and people who are interested in intercultural exchange- to find myself a pen pal. As it turned out, there were different groups, where I could post my search, but ...

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The Sphinxes of St. Petersburg

As I was walking home last week, two large stone sphinxes on the banks of the Neva caught my eye. They exuded a sense of mystery and antiquity and I wanted to find out more about these mysterious creatures, as Ancient Egyptian sculptures were not what I expected to see in St. Petersburg! So, could I crack the riddle of the Sphinx? How did they end up here? The Sphinxes on Universitetskaya Embankment (Сфинксы на Университетской набережной) were originally carved to protect the temple of Amenhotep III, who ruled Ancient Egypt 3,500 years ago. Amenhotep ruled both the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, and therefore the sphinxes wear a double crown. They silently guarded his temple for thousands of years, gradually being covered in sand before they were uncovered in the early 19th century. Bonaparte’s ...

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Top 5 places to make a wish in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a city famous for its fairy-tale looks. The turrets of the Church of the Spilled Blood and the intricate architecture combine to make St. Petersburg a truly magical place. So, where better to make your dreams come true? I’ve tracked down some of the best places in the city where you can make a wish. 1. Атланты Нового Эрмитажа (The Sculptures of Atlantis of the New Hermitage) These imposing sculptures by the entrance of the New Hermitage have stood here since 1848 and are pretty hard to miss. The exact location of the statues is Millionnaya ulitsa, 35. During the Great Patriotic War, one of the statues was damaged but stayed standing. This only reaffirmed the locals’ belief in the magical nature of the sculptures. Newlyweds often come here to hold the big toes of the statu ...

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