Met at Liden & Denz – Marcello Thiel

Marcello Thiel is working as a German teacher here at Liden & Denz while he studies. Here is his story:

Why did you decide to come to Russia to study Russian? I wanted to improve my Russian. I studied Russian a long time ago and I almost forgot it and lost a bit of my motivation really so decided the only option for me was to start again, go to Russia and speak! I’ve been here four months now and am here until the end of July.

Which places have you visited in Russia? Besides St Petersburg, I’ve seen Pushkin and Peterhof, and also Novgorod.

A lot of people consider learning Russian to be a challenge. Do you agree with this statement? Why?
Absolutely yes! It’s such a complicated language – the hardest! Just thinking about the numbers is really difficult – why do they do it like that? I think it has really complex grammar and it’s just one of the hardest European languages to learn but I believe it’s possible to learn every language. I’ve never tried Chinese though…

What sort of impression did you have of Russia and Russian culture before coming here? And how did it change after arriving here?
Before I came here actually, I did not have the best idea of Russia and I was telling everybody at home that I’d see them soon as I wasn’t expecting to like it here. I thought the weather wasn’t nice, the people weren’t nice, the food wasn’t nice and I didn’t have a really good idea about Russia at all and I think most people in Germany don’t have a really good idea of Russia. But since the beginning of my time here I’ve really liked Russia. I’m really surprised actually, by the people. I thought that they would be rude before, and now I still think they’re rude but I like it!

How has Liden & Denz made your experience in Russia better? Anything specific? I met a lot of people here at Liden & Denz, for the first thing, and they’re really nice here and everyone’s friendly and that really made me feel at home, which was great.

Do you think a knowledge of Russian will benefit you in your future? Actually no, I’m just studying for myself, not for work, but there are a lot of Russians in Germany so maybe I can talk to them. For me, I’m just interested in the mentality of people and you can learn a lot about that through language, so that’s the main reason I’m studying.

What is the most unique thing about Russia that you have experienced here? The most unique experience I had here was when I went to the Russian banya. It was just crazy! Fifteen naked Russian men offering to beat us with those sticks and they were so friendly and would just invite us to drink vodka with them and eat salted fish with them, which tasted awful, but it was really like being welcomed into a family even though you’ve just been introduced!

If there is one thing that you will never forget about your time in Russia, what would it be?
Definitely the banya experience.

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