Student Interview: Alexander Loertscher

Alexander Loertscher is a 74 year old former principal and teacher from a small town outside of Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently studying Russian with Liden & Denz in our Moscow Center for his second year. Alexander was kind enough to allow us to interview him to give other students an insight into an extremely dedicated student’s perspective on the Russian language and Liden & Denz Language Centers.

 

How did you come to study Russian in Russia?

Because I think you may study some languages like French, Spanish, and Italian in Switzerland… But some languages like Russian, you don’t have practice (in Switzerland). I need to practice. I have been here last year also, and I will be here for two months. I don’t know if I will come next year because my health. I am not sure if I am healthy enough. Maybe in two or three years I will return. I have a very nice apartment here. I live alone so after classes I study for as long as I will.

How did you first decide to study Russian?

I very much love grammar, and I had known that Russian has a very difficult grammatical structure. More difficult than Latin, for us who speak French. For us Italian and Spanish are not so difficult, but a language like Russian is a challenge and it interests me very much. I don’t want to sit at home and watch television. I enjoy working to work at improving my language skills.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about the Russian language?

For us who speak French, I think aspect, or perfective and imperfective forms are very difficult. Not only because it is a different form, but the intonation of these different forms is not always the same as the regular form.

 

Apart from your lessons, could you share some exciting moments you’ve had here in Moscow or at Liden & Denz?

Only on the weekends. I am not here as a tourist. I flew here three weeks ago, and began school two weeks ago. I had one week to see monasteries, churches, and some things. But during the week I focus only on my studies. After lessons I work five hours every day.

 

How would you compare your stay in Moscow to other places you have been in your travels?
It is not possible to compare. It is a different culture and a different country from anywhere on Earth.

Is there anything you will miss about Russia in particular when you return home?

I don’t know. For me it is two different lives. I like not to compare. In Russia I forget the rest of the world. It is not better or not worse. Russia is Russia, the United States is the United States, and Europe is Europe. I think every place has its own culture, and it is useless to compare. You cannot ignore Russia. It has always been an important country. You cannot say Russia doesn’t exist. Whether it is the tsar, or Stalin, Gorbachev, Putin. You cannot ignore Russia. Russia sleeps for 20 years. And then she wakes up.
Alexander is currently studying at Liden & Denz Moscow Center and will be with us until December 7th.

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