Greetings from (Digital) Russia

10 June, 2020

Everything is upside down and nothing is the same. Such is the fact of life at this time. But we can try to make the best of it.

For me, this means to keep improving my Russian. Times like these force us to adapt and Liden & Denz has brought all their lessons online, so I started my summer course sitting in a cafe and having lessons via Zoom. I am writing to you now from Stockholm, Sweden. But my studies and work mean I am mentally in Russia. So I live in digital Russia, one might say.

Greetings from (digital) Russia

My name is Nick Nguyen and I spent summer 2019 at Liden & Denz in Moscow and reflected on it here. It was my first time in Russia and learned a lot. One can always read books and watch films, but one needs real-life contact with Russians to really understand how things are like. 

I am Swedish-Vietnamese and my background is perhaps what makes me interested in learning about foreign countries, cultures, languages, etc. My university studies in Sweden focus on Russia and Eastern Europe, and I had an internship at the Swedish Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, so learning Russian is the natural thing to do. 

I now have Russian lessons with Liden & Denz online, which is quite different but still works as it should, compared to my real-life lessons last summer. Having a camera zoomed in on everyone’s faces does make it easier to focus. The content of the lessons is the same. I have always been a digital student anyway. I take notes on the phone, use an app to learn words and have an online dictionary.

The downside is the social aspect. One cannot socialise and have watercooler talk with others the same way or hang out after class. I am glad however that the most important aspect of the course, learning Russian, is still here. And it still works well.

Writing about Russia while being in digital Russia and not “real Russia” is a challenge, but luckily I have Russian acquaintances and I have enough impressions from my time in Moscow that I hope the blog can keep being interesting. I like to observe people and how they think and act. So my articles will focus on people (in this case Russians) most of all.

When I think of summer and leisure, I think of how nice it is to walk along the beautiful canals in Saint Petersburg on a sunny day. Perhaps that will be possible sooner than we thought? Let us hope!

 

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Posted by Nick Nguyen

My name is Nick and I am studying Russian at Lidenz while keeping you updated with articles about Russia this summer. In my other life, I live in Sweden and study Political Science, focused on Russia and Eastern Europe.

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