21 June, 2017
The time has come, once again… I must bid farewell to a fellow intern and dear friend. Tilly Hicklin is on her way back to Bristol, but I didn’t let her leave without having her sit down with me first: Here’s our talk about her Russian experience!
Tilly, tell me a little about yourself.
Hi Cynthia! Well, I came to Liden & Denz St. Petersburg with about ten of my fellow classmates from university in Bristol, so I arrived alongside a rather large bunch. I have been studying Russian for around six years now: first in high school, and now at university, where I am majoring in Russian language studies.
What inspired you to learn Russian in the first place?
At first I wasn’t sure what I would end up doing after school. Thankfully, my high school offered a “Russian taster session” that I attended, and I instantly fell in love with the language. It was so different from anything that I had done before, so I thought studying Russian at university would be a great way to challenge myself.
Wonderful! As a language student, what prospects do you have for your future self?
I would love to work in translation. I’m now at a level of proficiency where I can translate Russian myself, and I’m starting to tell apart the nuances between my translation of something versus what another set of ears would interpret. I find this very interesting and would love to find a job with which I could join the fight against Google Translate. *grins* Right now, I’m just really glad I found my passion for languages. I taught English in Moscow for a three months before coming to Piter, which was a wonderful experience as well.
Of course! So, let me ask you the age old question: Moscow or St. Petersburg?
hahaha! Oh, I’m going to sound like a traitor! On the whole, there is just something about Moscow that really stole my heart. Maybe I prefer it because my first stay away from home was in the capital, and I just adore the rush that the city has to offer. Of course, I would recommend anyone to come to St. Petersburg just as much. The breathtaking aesthetic of the city, all the culture it has to offer, and of course the wonderful locals all contributed to my wonderful stay.
Great to hear. Concerning your Russian language development: I think everyone can agree that your stay has paid itself off immensely. Getting to the level you are at within a few months is no joke, so how does studying in Russia compare to taking classes abroad?
In my opinion immersive learning is the most effective, intelligent way to study a language. Of course I don’t mean that learning a foreign language in your home country is a waste of time, but I think immersion is crucial to perfect a language. Being exposed to Russian 24/7 was exhausting at times, but having constantly been forced to interact in Russian gave me a massive boost. I’d pick up something here and there, on the street or in a cafe, and would use it right away. That is exactly how we learn to speak as children, it comes to us by nature.
I can’t agree with you more! Thank you very much for your insight, Tilly. I wish you the best of luck for the future!
Cynthia, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg