Why Studying in Irkutsk is Really Worth It

Want to learn Russian and feel the “real Russia”? Then come to Irkutsk!

I spent two months this winter at the L&D school in Irkutsk and I am extremely happy with my stay. The school only recently opened and is based right in the city center of Irkutsk which is great. Located in a nice historical building on Karl Max street, the facility is brand new (and up to the Swiss quality standards thanks to its Director Felix) and the course completely matched my expectations in terms of learning.

I’m really happy with the teaching I had at Linden & Denz in Irkutsk. I’m still only a beginner but my teacher was young and trained to the “modern style” of teaching, far away from the old fashion “repeat-after-me style” that I encountered at other Russian schools. The teaching is focused on being able to speak, not just doing mistake-free-sentences which you will never use. I did great progress whilst being there.

As for the location and infrastructure, compared to other schools I was, the school is ideally located, being right on the main street of Irkutsk. You can reach most places in the city within 30 min walk and if not enough, you get all the main bus lines within 500m. The school in Irkutsk is also smaller but for that definitely friendlier and more modern. Felix did a great job of bringing the teaching rooms to the latest standards but also preserve the charms and flair of the old historically building in which the school is located (and this is rare enough in Russia to be mentioned!!).

I was always fascinated by Russia and I came to Irkutsk on a sabbatical to realise a long term dream of mine, to discover and try to understand Russia. Irkutsk brings you more than just Moscow and St Petersburg, because it allows you to get in touch with the “real Russia” and feels what life for the average Russian person, feel the country from the inside and not from the top. So you get to feel a lot more the country than somewhere else. And of course, there’s the Baïkal, the mountains around Arshan, the Island of Olkhon and the mix of history and culture between the Slavic and Buryat cultures. Day trips to Lystvianka are easy to organise but I recommend taking a day or two to do long weekends and travel for instance to Olkhon, Yst-Baguzin or to Ulan-Ude. There is plenty to do, plenty to experience.

Don’t be in a rush to do everything and take your time, do less but do it well. As the Russian saying goes “Baïkal never lets you go”, so you will be back another time to discover more.

Honest, I can only highly recommend you to come here to learn and improve your Russian skills, because you’ll get an experience much larger than your language skills. It was a great pleasure and I only look forward to coming back for a bit longer.

Jean-Baptiste Bluche

Transaction Manager at Implenia

Manager at PwC in Zürich for 6 years

Speaks 3 languages (French, English, German) & a bit of Russian now =)

Posted by Tilly Hicklin

My name is Tilly, and I am an intern and Russian language student at Liden & Denz in St. Petersburg. I am on my year abroad from the University of Bristol, where I study in England. My main interests are art, literature and history and I also love to travel. I look forward to telling you all about my time in St. Petersburg!

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