26 June, 2015
Time flies, or время летит as they say in Russian. I arrived 3 months ago and I can’t believe it’s already time to go back home. Accordingly, this my good-bye post. I wanted to share some of my experiences and give you some tips on how to make the most of your stay.
This was my second visit to Russia. The first time I stayed in Archangelsk for three weeks. This meant that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, and I didn’t get quite the culture-shock that I know other people have experienced.
One thing I could suggest is to plan your trip in a way that you can spend some days in St Petersburg (or Moscow or Riga for that matter) before you start your course at the school. This way you will have some time to acclimatise, sort out things that need to be done, find your way to school, get acquainted to Russian etc. It is definitely worth it to fly in early.
When it comes to language learning, I sometimes feel that I could write the book on how to, or not how to learn a language. I think I made every possible mistake there is, as well doing some really smart things. It all breaks down to keeping busy, and making sure that you are motivated enough. These two things are, according to me, the key to making the most of your stay.
Keeping busy is another way of saying Study! I really mean this. Do your homework, take an active interest in the lessons and you are already on your way to gaining more proficiency in Russian. If you have a day off, don’t just hang out with the other expats and speak English or another language – try to do a minimum of Russian. This could be anything really, try to look through a newspaper, learn 5 new words or read every commercial sign when you are on one of those endless escalators in the metro.
Motivatiон is harder to break down into written form. Just try to remember that you will make progress, even when it does not feel that way. I had weeks were I felt that I did not learn anything, or understand anything. Luckily, the next week this feeling was often replaced by something quite the opposite. Just try to keep your head high and put in some effort and I can promise that you will get better in Russian.
As you might know I did not only study during my stay here, I also had the wonderful opportunity to do an internship at the office at the same time. Working there was a really interesting and rewarding experience. The most visible part of my job is this blog but I also had the opportunity to help out with social media, SEO, marketing research and other. This also was very interesting and made the internship even more challenging and I happily say that I will take a lot of new experience back home. If you are interested in doing an internship with us, please have a look here and don’t hesitate to contact our centre directly through email.
As for tips for the city, and feel that I have to be loyal to my dear colleagues. I noticed today that there are 91 pages of blog entries on the website. A majority of those deal with one of three cities and their surroundings. Take my word for it, these blog entries make up a really good guide on what to do, see and eat here. The blog is sorted on subjects, such as “Discover St Petersburg“, “Where to eat and drink in St Petersburg” and “Celebrations” to make navigation easier.
Lastly but absolutely not least, I would like to thank all the dedicated and kind people at the office, my amazing teachers, my lovely colleagues and my fun and caring flatmates. Thank you! Спасибо вам большое!
Винсент / Vincent