Meet the Liden and Denz Interns: Anna Russell
This week I’m checking in with Anna, a current student and intern at Liden and Denz, to chat with her about what inspired her to study Russian, how she has found studying online with Liden and Denz, and to hear about her recent arrival in St Petersburg from the UK!
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Usually, I study French and Russian at Bristol University in the UK. This year I have been on my year abroad: I spent the first term of the year working at a technology firm in Paris and, since February, I have been studying and interning online with Liden and Denz.
What are your favourite aspects of Russian culture?
That’s a tricky one! I really like Russian classical music for its distinctive sound and Shostakovich is one of my favourite composers. Russian literature is also great, although it can be a bit hard to get stuck into at times. The most famous Russian novels, like Anna Karenina, have a tendency to be pretty lengthy. That certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading though!
Had you visited Russia prior to your recent arrival in St Petersburg?
Yes! I visited Russia in 2017 as part of a school exchange. I stayed in Moscow with a host family which was so lovely because I got to have family dinners with them and we even ventured out on some day trips to Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, an important monastery just outside of Moscow, and the Kuskovo estate (to the east of Moscow). I also spent some time in the local school: sitting in on lessons and seeing the ways in which the school operated differently to in the UK was fascinating. I still remember my surprise when the school bell at the primary school played out nursery rhymes!
How have you found studying online with Liden and Denz?
Studying online with Liden and Denz has been great. I love how approachable the teachers are. They feel more like friends, and we always catch up (in Russian of course) at the start of each lesson. It really feels like we get to know our teachers and fellow students, despite being thousands of miles away! It is also great that, alongside learning plenty of new vocabulary and grammar, we really put our learning into practice through discussing ideas. Moreover, our lessons are really varied. The teachers at Liden and Denz never just follow the textbook verbatim, they really cater the lessons to the class and make them super engaging.
Have you got any advice for studying Russian?
Keep going even when things get tough- it will be worth it and things will only get easier! I would also recommend learning some useful set phrases which you can put into practice, even if you find the grammar difficult.
You have recently arrived in Russia, but it seems like it was quite a complicated journey…could you tell us a bit about it?
I think I probably took the most complicated route possible to get to Russia! When I flew to Russia UK nationals could only travel to via a third country – there is a lengthy list of countries to choose from. I chose Greece, as although it is slightly in the opposite direction to Russia from the UK, I had someone to stay with in Athens for two nights. There also isn’t a quarantine required upon arrival in Greece, only a negative PCR test. Therefore, I thought it might be nice to break up the long journey a bit by exploring Athens. I flew there on a Monday, spent an amazing day wandering around the city on Tuesday, and then woke up early for a flight to Moscow on the Wednesday. Following that, I took a short flight to St Petersburg. I didn’t really face any problems on the journey – everything was on time and went smoothly – but three planes across three countries in only three days meant I arrived in St Petersburg completely exhausted on Wednesday evening!
How are things going now that you have finally made it to Russia?!
As a British national I am required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Russia. Luckily, I am staying with a host family, so I am being taken care of! I am currently on day five of the quarantine and so far it is going more quickly than I expected. My host parents Anna and Vladimir are being very supportive and I have managed to do a food shop online, so I have everything I need. And ,of course, my online studies with L&D are keeping me very busy. However it does feel frustrating looking out of the window and knowing that I still have nine days to wait before being allowed to explore the city!