From Efficient Immersion into Russian to Trans-Siberian Trip!
Here’s the interview with Sam from the Netherlands, a student who has traveled from the Netherlands to the Baltic States by bike and will continue to do so through Russia with the Trans-Siberian-Train!
Hi Sam! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! Well I finished my Bachelors this year, and I am currently in my gap year. I am traveling from the Netherlands to the Baltic States by bike and will continue to travel through Russia with the Trans-Siberian-Train.
What inspired you to study Russian?
I study Russian for my trip through Russia. I wanted to be able to get along there and to communicate, at least, on a basic level. Also, I felt that a new language would be good for my personal development and would be a nice challenge as well. And it really was quite challenging at the beginning, especially with the new alphabet, but the more I study Russian the more I realize how many similarities there are between Russian and all the other languages I learned. It is quite surprising.
Why did you choose Riga?
I have decided that I want to live in Riga while traveling through the Baltic States. I really like Riga because it's a big city but still cozy and it has an urban vibe to it.
What was your initial reaction when you realized that the teacher only speaks and explains everything in Russian?
At the beginning, it was quite hard but eventually, the communicative teaching style is so much better, because it is very efficient. As I was a complete beginner, it really helped me to immerse myself in the Russian language, to get familiar with the different sounds and I learned a lot of vocabulary.
Where did you make the most progress during your classes?
For me, listening is the hardest part, but I am happy that I made a lot of progress in that area. However, the most important part is speaking because I want to be able to have a conversation with people and want to be able to express myself to native speakers and this is where I made huge progress. Initially, I could not form a sentence at all and now I feel like I can make myself clear and that is such a great feeling!
What did you like most about the classes at Durbe?
I really like how well-structured the lessons are but there is always room for a conversation or discussion. It's a great balance! What I also like is how well but rapidly the grammar is explained and that we do a lot of exercises afterward. It goes quickly into practicing and I feel there is no time wasted on too much elaboration. My teacher Vita is very nice too. I like how professional she is but at the same time she is quite relaxed. I never feel afraid to make mistakes.
Do you feel more comfortable speaking Russian?
Absolutely! I feel much more prepared for my trip! :)
Thank you, Sam! We at Durbe RLA hope everything you learn in Riga will come in handy during your trip to Russia and we'll be waiting for your return, with stories and photos about your great adventures!
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