Meet Svenja Hill, Liden & Denz Student
Svenja Hill, a Liden & Denz student from Munich, Germany, has a special connection to St. Petersburg. “When you’re with someone for over four years, you start to expect a proposal at some point,” she said. So, while sightseeing and visiting St Petersburg’s many beautiful cathedrals with her partner of over four years, Alexander, a Russian-speaking Kyrgyz man who moved to Germany at a young age, Svenja started to wonder when it might happen. “In St. Isaac’s Cathedral I thought to myself, ‘Here would be the perfect place to get a proposal.’”
But when Alexander took her to the banks of the Neva on Vasilievsky Ostrov’s eastern boundary, the Стрелка, for a photo opportunity, all she could think about was the cold. “I was standing there with this fake smile thinking ‘I’m cold, I want to go somewhere inside’ when he got onto his knee. I was crying instantly and of course I said yes.” As it turns out, he had asked the photo-takers to take a video, not just a photo.
Now, Svenja has the GPS coordinates of the location where Alexander proposed to her engraved on her ring. The spot has historical significance, as many newly-wed couples go there to break glass for good luck.
A little more than a year later, Svenja is back in St. Petersburg for 20 days studying Russian at Liden & Denz. “I’ve learned more over one week [of classes] than over the past five years combined,” she said. Her primary motivation for learning the language is to communicate with Alexander’s Russian-speaking family. “At the wedding we couldn’t speak [with Alexander’s grandmother or aunt] without translation, and that was a little sad… Now we Skype regularly, and I’d like to speak with them directly without translation.”
Svenja has a little over a year left before she finishes her Bachelor’s degree in vocational education in the field of nursing. Then, she’ll complete a Master’s degree in the same area and find work in the field. Before her Bachelor’s, Svenja herself received vocational education in the field of nursing, where she understood that being a vocational educator would be the right path for her.
Throughout her Bachelor’s studies, Svenja has continued working part-time as a nurse since 2016. As a little girl, she had an interest in medicine and biology. “When I was a child, I was always playing with my friends as a doctor…and then I began volunteering at the Red Cross at age 9.”
With such a deep connection to the city of St. Petersburg, such motivation to learn Russian, and such a promising future, Svenja fits right in at Liden & Denz. We are so happy to have her and wish her the best of luck as she continues her studies.