Met at Liden & Denz: John Gussenhoven – dancer and biker (USA)
Why have you decided to come to St. Petersburg and learn Russian? I like the challenge of learning a difficult language as I speak several Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese and some Italian). One of my hobbies also exposes me to many Russian speaking people. Will Russian be useful for your job/your career? I will be useful mostly in social settings. What was your first contact with Russian? I opened an office for our Company in 1994 in Moscow and have returned seven times since.
What was your first impression of St. Petersburg? It is a city that leaves a very strong impression for its beauty (architectural, cultural) and offers many attractions including its churches, museums, cultural events (opera, symphony, ballet, concerts), wonderful and varied experiences and with its Venetian flair, an ever changing perspective of a city rich in history and memories. What is easy about learning Russian? Some words are similar to English. Once the alphabet is learned it becomes easier to read (not necessarily understand the meaning of each word) and pronounce words. What is particularly hard? So many different words with different meanings. Use of soft and hard signs. Could you imagine to live and work in Russia in the future? Yes, I could live here but would want to master Russian before/during stay to take advantage of cultural/social opportunities and to blend in with local population. Instructors were most patient and encouraging. I only wish I had asked that we create social situations/dialogs for day-to-day situations – commuting, dining. My sense after two weeks is that it is exactly where we were going. I just needed a few extra weeks. This is my fault. The staff at Transportny per. was very accommodating and courteous. It always felt comfortable. My compliments and thanks to Tatyana, Elena, Sasha and Eugenia. John Gussenhoven is the author of the book Crisscrossing America.