Why should (Italian) students learn Russian at L&D
10 October, 2018
Why should (Italian) students come to learn Russian at L&D?
Being already at the end of my second experience at Liden & Denz and having been both at the school of Moscow and St. Petersburg, here is my personal and totally impartial opinion about Russian lessons here. In this article you will find good reasons to come to Liden & Denz to study Russian, which are basically the reasons that convinced me come back the second time. Moreover, there will be a special highlight on why, in my opinion, especially Italian students can make the most of their experience in Russia by coming to Liden & Denz. So, consider this article as good advice if you are still unsure whether this is the right school for you.
Learning Russian in a “safe” environment
When I first decided to come here I was looking for a smaller and “safer” environment for my fist experience in Russia, so I chose a private institute instead of following courses at a university. Fortunately, I found exactly what I had been looking for: a place where I felt comfortable speaking and making mistakes while I was trying to get my Russian back after I had stopped practicing for one year. Unlike at the university, where making grammar mistakes in front of your professor might prevent you from speaking freely, in the small classes at Liden & Denz I immediately felt free of talking and asking when something wasn’t clear. In other words, I felt safe. Moreover, confronting with other students from different countries and with different ages and backgrounds made conversation in class very stimulating.
Learn the real Russian, the one you’ll need
Learning the language with a Russian teacher is a privilege not everyone has. In many foreign schools and universities not all professors are mother tongue, but knowing grammar rules is not enough to come to Russia and handle everyday situations (this I can assure you). We all know vocabulary continuously change, new words are created and the language we find in books is not exactly the one you could need in real-life contexts. Learning Russian while practicing it will let you come across widely used expressions that maybe you’ve never heard about while learning the grammar. That’s why the most common question during lessons is “I thought this is the correct form, why do people here say it like this?”. This is the best way to start speaking the “real Russian”.
Hey Italians, this is for you!
As an Italian student I have noticed a big difference between our teaching method in schools and universities and the one used in other countries. The reality is that most students from other countries are usually less strong in grammar, but practice spoken language from the beginning, so when they come to Russia, even if they are still missing some grammar knowledge, they can speak well enough to be understood. On the contrary, Italian students are usually very strong in grammar but have never practiced speaking, just like me after three years studying Russian at the university. Generally, the Italian teaching method focuses on learning grammar perfectly, writing and translating. This leads us to overthinking and focusing on grammar rules, instead of accepting more grammar mistakes but focusing on being understood. Moreover, dictionaries are very useful during difficult translations, but with their help, we Italians are less keen on widening our vocabulary. I saw the result of all this on my very first day in St. Petersburg: while I couldn’t even buy a SIM card, with my grammar test I reached a B1 level, even after one year without practice. All I needed was to stop thinking about grammar to become more fluent and speak with Russians to learn new words.
I confronted with other Italian students and I understood my problem was very common among us all. But despite the initial difficulties, I found that our good knowledge of grammar is the key to make the most of our time at Liden & Denz. Here, lessons are structured to give us the opportunity to speech, listen and read in Russian about many interesting topics. Teachers provide us the instruments (vocabulary) to tackle different issues, from кухня to социальные проблемы. Moreover, if you already have an intermediate level of grammar, you will spend most lessons conversing, watching videos, reading texts and discussing about them, which is exactly what I missed.
Can you imagine something better and easier than improving every day by simply chatting with your classmates and getting to know not only the Russian culture, but also their countries? In other words, learning Russian here is more fun.