Saying goodbye – A short recap of my work & study experience
07 April, 2017
The last 10 weeks have passed by in a flash. Sadly, this means that I will have to say goodbye to Liden & Denz, goodbye to St. Petersburg and goodbye to all of those amazing people, who I have had the pleasure to meet during my stay. In the following I want to sum up my experience as a language student and intern at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg, in order to give you a clearer idea of what your “study Russian abroad experience” could look like. The article will be structured according to the following topics: Living in St. Petersburg, Accomodation & Living Expenses, Lessons, Internship and Final Thoughts.
Living in St. Petersburg
It is not without a reason that St. Petersburg is referred to as the cultural capital of Russia. There is always something to do, or a new fancy place to discover. Hence, boredom was definitely not one of my problems in the past ten weeks. Also I generally felt really safe in the city, even when walking home alone at night. Additionally I learned that the famous-infamous Russian winters, turn out to be just regular winters at the end of the day. So please do not be afraid of coming to Saint Petersburg in winter! Just put on some warm clothes and you are good to go.
Accommodation & Living Expenses
During my time in St. Petersburg stayed in a shared flat, which I had booked prior to my arrival on Airbnb. Of course, I took a risk at this point, but I have no regrets. The owner of the flat was very friendly, and the room was tidy and affordable. For me, this type of accommodation was ideal, because it provided me with the right mixture of independent living and getting in touch with Russians. Having said that, if you prefer to stay on the save side when booking your accommodation, I would recommend you to stick with the school’s accommodation service. I talked to many students, who booked their accommodation with the help of the school and they were all happy with the results. About living expenses: I did notice that the general costs of living were bit higher than what I am used to, but- in contrast to my expectations- I did not end up financially ruined. By the way, if you love to go shopping for new clothes, make sure to leave some space in your luggage, because the fashion stores in Russia offer great discounts!
If you happen to study Russian at a university in your home country, you can probably relate to the problem of understanding quite a lot, but not being able to speak freely, because you are missing vocabulary and phrases for mastering everyday life. This was basically my situation, when I came to St. Petersburg. Now, after 10 weeks of speaking, writing, reading, etc., I finally feel not only able to speak but also comfortable with speaking Russian. I want to use this moment to thank my teacher Olga, who taught me so much and -by the way- has a great sense of humor!
I am truly thankful for having had the opportunity to be an intern at Liden & Denz. My supervisor Liza was simply the best: friendly, helpful, always open for new ideas and interested in our opinion. At the beginning of my internship, I was quite insecure about my work, whether it was good enough, whether I was working hard enough and so on. However, after a few weeks I noticed that there really was no reason for self-doubt and now that the internship is over, I wish I would have spent less time putting myself under pressure. So:
Dear future interns, please don’t repeat my mistake and simply trust in your skills!
The work itself was quite independent in its nature (which I loooved!). My tasks included researching interesting topics, writing/translating blogs in English/German, translating client requests and taking pictures and uploading them on social media. As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to contribute to the daily business of the school!
Inspiration – Final Thoughts
Being here in St. Petersburg, at Liden & Denz, was a certainly an inspiring experience for me. I got to know so many wonderful people from all over the world, who decided to learn Russian for the most different reasons. I had great discussions about life, politics and history- not only in class but also when relaxing in a café with my new friends. The internship itself also served as a source of inspiration for me, because it made me realize how much I enjoy writing blogs and how exciting the area of social media marketing is. That being said, studying Russian for four hours every day and working in two other languages directly afterwards was sometimes more exhausting than would have expected it to be. But how does the saying go? No pains, no gains…although in my case the gains definitely played a predominant role. After all, now that I am finally leaving, I already start to miss my wonderful class, colleagues, teacher and supervisors. I know that I will often think back to my time at Liden & Denz with a smile on my face. Would I come back? Yes, anytime.
This blog was brought to you by Ayla, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz.