Meet our student Thomas
27 July, 2016
Meet our student Thomas
Recently I had the chance to interview Liden and Denz student Thomas Jarnum. Thomas now lives in Moscow with his family, and has been studying at Liden and Denz for four weeks.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Copenhagen, Denmark.
How did you end up in Russia?
I first came to Russia 15 years ago after receiving a job offer from a Danish company. The company was based in Moscow so the move provided opportunities of eventual promotion to the general manager of the company. It was a bit of a coincidence that I got the job as originally I didn’t intend to apply. However, my colleagues encouraged me to do so, as I had earlier experience of travelling and conducting business in Russia.
What was it like when you first moved to Russia?
Initially It was quite a big cultural shock. I didn’t know a single word of Russian! However, all my work was conducted in English, which meant that life here was made quite easy for me to adjust to. Although sadly, there wasn’t any need for me to learn Russian, so I never started.
What made you decide to finally start learning Russian here in Moscow?
My wife is Russian and although we speak English together, I realised that I need to be better in the language. I’ve picked up a lot of vocabulary during my time in Moscow, but I also want to learn more of the grammar.
Before, I didn’t have the time to study, as I was always traveling back and forth between Copenhagen and Moscow. However, now that I’m in Moscow permanently, it seemed like a great time to start a formal course. I have my own consulting company, but in summer there isn’t as much work, giving me the free time needed to seriously study Russian.
What are your feelings about your time learning Russian?
As I’ve built up a good vocabulary over 15 years, I have the advantage of being able to work out what people are saying, so my understanding improved quite quickly. Even though I feel confident going to shops/restaurants and ordering, I still struggle sometimes to express myself properly. There is still quite a way to go before I can speak like a native, but I’m looking forward to practicing my speaking skills with my family, which will be very helpful.
Could you share with us some interesting moments, experiences or events during your time in Russia?
On my wedding day, we had everything prepared and my family had come over from Denmark. However, I didn’t have a proper registration for the wedding, so we weren’t able to get married! We had to have the ceremony and come back two weeks later to make it official.
How do you compare living in Russia with other places you’ve lived?
Things are easier for me here because I’m married to a Russian. However, I still can’t get used to that in private life, Russians are much more relaxed about time than in Denmark. Something starting at three o’clock never actually does! Although, the metro always runs on time here, and trains arrive so frequently, there’s never a big wait on the platform.
Any advice for people who want to learn Russian?
If you start from scratch, take your time to learn the grammar, it’s the building blocks. Vocabulary can come later. Stick with it. its tough, and at times painful, but worth it!
This interview is brought to you by Lawrence Toye, intern and student at Liden & Denz Moscow