Returning to Russia’s cultural capital
21 August, 2019
My name is Rachel, and I will be spending the next 3 months interning and studying Russian at Liden and Denz, in Russia’s cultural capital, St Petersburg.
I first became interested in Russian history at school and always wanted to learn another language, so I decided to throw myself in at the deep end, and chose a Russian Studies degree at university. During the past 4 years I’ve immersed myself in all things Russian – language, history and culture, and I’ve specialised in late Soviet and contemporary Russian culture.
My favourite Russian quote sums up my experience of studying so far – ‘капля камень точит’, which translates as ‘A drop hollows out a stone’ – it’s hard work, but it pays off in the end! (…Or, maybe this better represents the tear drops slowly dissolving my grammar book as I attempt to understand verbs of motion for the hundredth time.)
I fell in love with St Petersburg during my year abroad. I was there for such momentous events as the centenary of the October Revolution and the 2018 World Cup, experienced the magical, carnival atmosphere of the White Nights, and survived the -20 degree Russian winter! The city is incredibly beautiful and you feel surrounded by culture – even during a short walk, you encounter dozens of ornate buildings, intricately carved bridges over the many canals, and every other building seems to be a museum, gallery, or a square dedicated to one of Russia’s many writers and poets.
I couldn’t wait to come back here, and at Liden and Denz I have the opportunity to continue studying Russian, and to write about the things which interest me most in my favourite city. I am looking forward to sharing my experience of Russia as an incredibly interesting, multifaceted and culturally rich place. I think there is so much about Russia which many people are unaware of, and I’d love to encourage other people to visit St Petersburg and Russia, and maybe even start learning Russian themselves!
Please check out the Liden and Denz blog over the next three months to read about my experience studying and living in St Petersburg, to find places off the beaten track, and to learn new things about Russian culture which you might not find in the news. До встречи!