Всем привет! My name is Aedan, and I’m one of the new interns working and studying at Liden and Denz’s wonderful campus in St. Petersburg.
Coming to sunny Russia from not-so-sunny Scotland, this will be my third time in St. Petersburg since I started my year abroad with the University of Edinburgh, where I study Russian and Politics. While the culture shock was greater than expected when I first arrived in the city last September, my love for the place has since grown immensely. A vibrant centre of rich history and culture, St. Petersburg is one of those rare gems of a city where you know you will find some new and interesting experience around every corner. I love the fact that I’ve been here for a grand total of 6 months throughout the past year and I still feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this place has to offer. I’ve also been very fortunate to study in Moscow and in Kiev these past months, but as the first place I ever visited in Russia, St. Petersburg definitely feels most like home – needless to say, I’m very happy to be back.
I often get asked ‘why Russian language?’ It is certainly an odd choice among language students at home, especially considering it is not taught in most schools in Scotland and so my first ever exposure to the language was on my first day of university. But the choice was by no means random: firstly, I wanted to learn and develop a new skill which would not only challenge me but hopefully be a useful asset to me in future. Secondly, I wanted to learn a language specifically because I believe it is something that every individual should try to do in their life. With so many current tensions and frayed relationships between communities both at the national and international level, communication is more important than ever. It is the foundation of all relationships, and by learning a foreign language you not only demonstrate a deep and meaningful respect for other peoples and their unique cultures and histories, but show a willingness and a desire to understand them better. I chose Russian because Russia has played an incredibly important role at many critical points throughout world history, something which sadly continues to be overlooked by many, and by learning the language I hope not only to show this role the respect it is due but to understand Russia and her people better. In combining this with the politics, I hope in future to use these skills to help build stronger relations between Russia and the UK.
But for the moment, I am excited to continue learning Russian in this beautiful city and am looking forward to sharing all my experiences here with you over the coming weeks!