Greetings from Moscow
06 June, 2019
Привет! Mеня зовут Nick, and I will be here with you for the next 3 months, writing from Moscow, Russia!
I was born in Vietnam, but moved to Sweden when I was very young. After completing my Bachelor’s studies at Stockholm University, I began studying Russian! It is certainly a challenge. Many of my classmates in Stockholm failed the course or gave up, and it is understandable. This is for sure no walk in the park.
When I tell people that I am studying Russian, they are surprised and ask me why. The ones who are most surprised are always Russians themselves!
So? Why? Most Swedes perceive Russia as an elusive and somewhat scary place. My first real contact came from Russian history in high school: I learned about the 19th Century Tsars, two revolutions, the Soviet Union, and contemporary Russia. Developments in Russia has a habit of surprising the world every so often. In Russia everything is possible and anything can happen! Russians like to say this as a joke, but there is truth in this too.
I love to read, and contemporary Russia is always on my book list. I thought for a year about whether to make a bigger leap and after consulting with a few friends learning Russian before me, I decided: let’s do it! I want to truly learn about this country and work with issues in Russia and post-Soviet states in the future. Best scenario: diplomat. Worst scenario: I speak a new language!
I hope my 3 months studying at Liden & Denz and practicing it everyday here in Moscow will give it a boost. Yet for me, language classes are only one piece of the puzzle. One needs to engage culturally, too. I have been listening to Russian music and watching Russian films recommended by my friend Karina. I also added Russian newspapers to my morning news update.
One big source of motivation for me is a video of an American Ambassador on the Russian talk show Evening Urgant (Вечерний Ургант), speaking near-fluent Russian. He speaks with an accent, but the mere fact that he can speak like this, with little difficulty, is very inspiring to me: this guy can do it, I can too. With time and practice, of course!
Here you can see the video. See how much you can understand!
Alongside my Russian studies, I will write about my experiences in Moscow. The focus is on people above all: their stories, cultures, expectations, thoughts. Some of my own anecdotes with Russians for sure can only happen with Russians! I hope they will be interesting and show you something new about this fascinating country and its people.
Even though my interest in Russia goes way back, I have never been here before. So when you read something from me, it will be as a newcomer. Perhaps that has upsides too. I notice things others are used to. The same when I read observations about people coming to my own country. It is always different with fresh eyes and a new viewpoint.
Follow me and let us begin!