Hello from Alana
Привет всем (Hello)! I’m Alana, Liden & Denz’s newest St Petersburg intern. I started my time in the school here at the beginning of August and I’m already loving my new busy Russian life. I’m a British citizen but have had the luck to move through a few different countries in recent years including the Canary Islands (Spain); Russia and most recently Germany.
I’ve had an interest in Russia and the Russian language for a long time – it all began through a (somewhat) overwhelming obsession with Russian ballet. Growing up I loved ballet and danced up to 15 hours a week at some points, and all the stars to look up to were (you guessed it), Russian. I was drawn to both the language and the culture immediately and began to feverishly watch as many Russian ballet school videos as I could get my hands on. I decided shortly afterwards that I wanted to learn Russian, so as a teenager I ordered some self-teaching Russian language books and attempted to learn. However, my Russian only really took off once I started again from scratch at university. Almost three years and a lot of blood, sweat and tears later, my Russian has finally moved forward considerably, though there’s still a lot for me to learn, of course.
I study German, Russian and European Studies at the University of Bath, United Kingdom (UK). I will start my fourth and final year there in October, straight after I leave Liden & Denz at the end of September. In the UK, the third year is a chance for language students to take their language skills outside of the classroom and go abroad, so this year I’ve spent 5 months at St Petersburg State University and completed a 6 month translation internship in Germany. My year abroad adventure has now led me back to St Petersburg for a 2 month internship at Liden & Denz.
This is my third time in St Petersburg, so I know the city well by now and already have some friends here. Funnily enough, in 1968 author James Kirkup noted that St Peterburg (then Leningrad) “reminded [him] of Bath, the same, timeless, tranquil air, the lovely rivers, canals and bridges, the superb 18th-century architecture and the gentle radiance of light. [It is] Bath on a grand scale”. Just like my university town, I love everything about St Petersburg. But unlike Bath, there’s a real magical feeling in St Petersburg that I haven’t found in any other place I’ve visited, so it’s always a pleasure to return.
St Petersburg has a very cultural atmosphere and every neighbourhood is filled with beautiful and historic architecture. There’s a beautiful church or old building around every corner, and the list of museums and galleries is absolutely endless. For example, even though I’ve spent a total of 7 months in the city and been to the Эрмитаж (Hermitage) countless times, I definitely haven’t seen all that the museum has to offer. The петербуржцы (Petersburg locals) are also very friendly, welcoming and understanding, especially when my Russian doesn’t seem to quite hit the mark! The Russians I have met here are always ready to invite you into their homes for a cup of чай (tea) and a chat, and if you decide to live with a family like I did, you’ll experience no end of kindness from your host and even make friends for life!
My first few days at Liden & Denz have been really great and I’ve already learned a lot. I can’t wait to discover more about St Petersburg and make the best of my time here! Follow me on the blog to see my adventures in the city!