“As I have not learnt a language since my school days, I was very apprehensive about entering back into a language learning environment; particularly as I had struggled with learning French and German at secondary school. I was up for a challenge though and quite excited about learning such a different language and new alphabet. I had also read about how being bilingual could delay Alzheimer’s and boost brain power (an added bonus); not to mention increase confidence and add to my current skill set.
I was extremely happy to learn that our Russian teacher was a native speaker, as we could learn so much more first-hand about Russian culture and customs. He had also learnt a repertoire of languages including Mandarin, so he was able to compare other languages to Russian and was aware of which sounds and letters we might struggle to pronounce.
Our lessons compromised of listening, reading and speaking, which was interactive and engaging and helped our teacher correct any words we weren’t pronouncing correctly. The majority of the writing exercises were given as homework.
One of my main concerns was speaking aloud in class and getting things wrong; a fear that also dates back to my school days. But I found that after the first lesson I felt quite comfortable speaking Russian in front of the other students. My confidence grew quickly and I was not worried about making mistakes anymore.
I also found that my lessons were nothing like they were back in school, because I was surrounded by adults who were enthusiastic about learning. We were actively encouraged by the teacher and our fellow students to just get on with speaking Russian and not worry about whether it was correct or not. Generally when one student found a particular word or sentence difficult, the rest of us did as well, so there was nothing to be embarrassed about.
I really enjoyed being in a classroom environment again and interacting with other students who all had an interest in learning Russian. I especially enjoyed when I pronounced a sentence correctly or my homework was correct, as I felt a great sense of achievement.
My class was small, which created the perfect leaning environment, and the school was centrally located just a five-minute walk away from my work – no excuse not to go.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of learning a language, and particularly one that was so different to my own. I was surprised at the progress I made in only 10 weeks.
I would definitely recommend learning a language to anyone who wants to be able to interact with the locals of a particular country and wants to learn more about a country’s culture. “
Spasibo Lucy, for sharing your experience!
To follow in Lucy’s footsteps and get to grips with Russian, check out Cactus’ Russian Courses in London & nationwide.