Meet the Liden and Denz Interns: Amy Wyatt
You might have spotted that several of our recent blog posts have been written by Amy Wyatt, one of the current interns at Liden & Denz. Normally Amy is the one doing the writing, but this week we’ve turned the tables and have asked her a few questions! Read on to find out more about Amy and her love of Russian culture.
What made you first start learning Russian?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn at school. I’ve always loved Russian culture, and as soon as I started to learn more about the culture and the country I realised I didn’t want to stop!
What do you like about Russian culture?
I like Russian literature a lot, particularly books by Bulgakov and Dostoevsky. Master and Margarita is one of my favourite novels. Another one of my favourite aspects of Russian culture is its uniqueness – there are so many unusual quirks in Russian traditions and culture which are one of a kind. The Russian banya and sanatoriums are some examples that spring to mind, and more recently, people simply sunbathing on the banks of the river in St Petersburg, even when it’s 5 degrees. You don’t get that in England!
Have you ever been to Russia?
I’ve been to Russia three times! My first trip to Russia was to St Petersburg with my school. We made sure to visit many of the city’s sights on this trip – the Hermitage, Catherine Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, and the Yusupov Palace were all on our itinerary. It was a fabulous introduction to Russia.
I enjoyed it so much that I took my family to Russia the following year! Together with my parents and grandparents, I went back to St Petersburg. None of them had even been to Russian before, and I think they were a bit anxious, but it helped that I was there as a Russian speaker.
My most recent trip to Russia was to a children’s summer camp, where I taught English. This summer camp was outside of the main cities, in a small town named Volgorechensk (Russian: Волгореченск), in the Kostroma Oblast (northeast of Moscow). After I finished working there I went with some friends to Moscow for a week, where we stayed in a hostel. We visited the Kremlin, GUM, and we even tried to visit Lenin’s mausoleum a few times but sadly it was always closed.
The trip to Volgorechensk was my favourite – I really enjoyed going outside of the city. It was great not just to see cosmopolitan Russia but to discover what life is like in the countryside. Normally there isn’t time to go outside of a city when you’re travelling, so I was thrilled to have this opportunity.
Is there anywhere else you’d like to visit Russia?
I’d really like to go to Lake Baikal, having learnt so much about it in my lessons. It looks like such a unique place with stunning landscapes. I also haven’t ever been to Siberia before, or the Far East, so I’d like to go there. I just want to explore Russia further, really!
What are your favourite Russian foods?
I love blini of course, especially with homemade Russian jam (Russian: варенья) or with condensed milk. When I was in Russia I had home-made potatoes and mushrooms a lot – the ‘babushka’ in my host family used to make it all the time. I don’t know exactly what she put in it to make it taste so good, but it was fantastic! I also really like pirozhki (Russian: пирожки), which are little bread parcels with a delicious filling inside.
Alongside your internship, you’re also studying Russian with Liden & Denz, which means online classes five times a week! How have you found the lessons so far?
It’s been great that Liden & Denz have transitioned so successfully to online teaching, given that it’s so difficult to travel to Russia from the UK at the moment. The lessons are always really engaging and really tailored to your level and your needs. The internship has been really great too – the combination of studying with working has been such a good experience. It’s nice to be exposed to so much Russian culture and such interesting topics whilst also learning the language, and documenting my Russian learning journey here on the blog!