Meet Our Staff: Elena
27 June, 2017
Meet Our Staff: Elena
I recently sat down with Elena Tsirlina, our lovely booking manager at Liden & Denz, to chat about her every day duties at school. She is one of the people responsible for students’ seamless transition into life in Russia, and here’s how she does it:
Hi, Elena! Thanks for taking your time to have this chat. Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Hello, Cynthia! I’m originally from Irkutsk, that’s also where I studied at the linguistic university. Officially, I’m an interpreter, translator, and specialist in cross-cultural communications. I’ve been working in tourism (and mainly doing translations) ever since my graduation, except for one year: I once worked for an music instrument importing!
What brought you to St. Petersburg?
Though I’m a true Irkutsk patriot, I was longing for some change. St. Petersburg was the only other place I ever considered living. Oddly enough, I didn’t have the usual “love at first sight” experience that most people speak of after coming to the city for the first time. It took me a while to decide that I was going to stay here for good, Piter’s wonderful atmosphere ended up convincing though.
With the recent launch of a Liden & Denz school in Irkutsk in mind, do you plan on staying here?
Yes. I absolutely love visiting friends and family in Irkutsk and travel there every chance I get. For now, though, St. Petersburg is where I will stay. I visited the new School recently and was very impressed. It’s cozy, which makes for a wonderfully comfortable atmosphere… I’m sure our students will love it!
Sounds great! Alright, now to business. Tell me about your everyday duties and tasks. What do you do day by day?
Primarily, I have a communicational job. That means I handle incoming emails, phone calls, emails, messages via our chat, more emails, and some personal visits (let’s not forget the emails). Basically every inquiry about our school from agents and direct clients comes to me.
First, I give our future students a basic overview about our school and how the enrollment process works. I answer a lot of different questions, whether they concern visa applications and accommodation, or sound like “how’s the weather in Petersburg?” and “What do I bring along?”
The next step is setting up quotations, and then converting them into final booking requests. Every case is different, since some people know exactly what they want, while others are still just considering visiting.
Interesting! So what’s the longest time you spent finalizing a booking?
Well, [chuckles] I’ve had cases where it took us almost a full year to get from the original inquiry to a finalized booking. Life is unexpected, of course. Things get in the way, or don’t work out as planned… people sometimes have to postpone their trip, or need a while to figure out what exactly it is that they want. But I try to ease everyone through the process, whether it takes a couple of hours or half a year.
Last but not least, what’s your advice on learning Russian?
Immersion, in my opinion, is the key factor in learning efficiently and effectively. It makes a huge difference. When you’re in Russia, you are forced to communicate in Russian. It’s normal to feel like you’ve been thrown into cold waters at first, but it definitely pays off! Immersion gives you a boost in no time.
Absolutely! Thanks for the chat, Elena!
Cynthia, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg