Learning Russian from a German speaker’s point of view

Liden & Denz interview one of their Russian language students. Find out more about Zoran Trevisan’s reasons for going to St Petersburg to learn Russian. Zoran also explains how Russian is different from other languages he has learnt so far.

What is your current occupation?

I am a tax counselor for an insurance company in Germany.

How did you come up with the idea to learn Russian and why (exactly) in Russia?

I started studying Russian 5 years ago, after I had already studied Latin, English, French and a bit of Italian. Thus, I decided to start Russian in order to try something completely new. That was the  year, that I came to Liden & Denz for the first time. I chose this school because I wanted to study somewhere, where the teachers would help  me more personally. That’s why I did not just come here on my own.
My interest in Russia really started after my second time at Liden & Denz: after I went back to Munich, I looked for Russian-related places in my city and found friends from Russian speaking countries. It was just in 2011, that I started to study Russian on a regular basis.

A lot of people consider learning Russian as a challenge. Regarding your personal experience, can you agree with this statement? What do you find easy or difficult about the Russian language?

The Cyrillic alphabet is a bit hard to learn. I also had some difficulties with pronunciation because of some unfamiliar sounds. The lexis is also pretty hard to remember, as well as the system of the cases, since it’s much more difficult than the German one. It was Liden & Denz that gave me a new way of studying and approaching those problems.

What do you like from your stay with Liden & Denz? Could you share with us some interesting moments, experiences or events?

I really appreciate that it is a well-organized company. I also like that the classes are small, as well as the fact that there’s a proper group for everyone.
Studying at Liden & Denz is really interesting, because you have the chance to get acquainted with people at Friday parties and at other social events organized by the school. I also enjoy Liden & Denz cultural activities, they are really interesting.

 What advantages does your knowledge of Russian and your stay in Russia bring to your professional career?

Basically, I study Russian just as a hobby. In my job, I don’t really have the chance to use Russian. However, generally speaking, knowing Russian is really useful for work and communication.

Would you like to further  develop your skills in Russian and what could be your motivation for that? Could you imagine living and working in Russia in the future?

I surely would like to develop my Russian skills in the future, but I don’t know if I’ll be ready to move to Russia for a long time. It would be a new starting point, and would definitely be nice, although I don’t see it happening. But who knows?

Why do you think some people call Russian an “exotic language”? From what you know, can you agree with it?

When you grow up, you have no information about Russia and its language. Studying Russian and getting in touch with its culture, I realized how stupid it is to differentiate Eastern and Western people. Sure enough, the first time I came to Russia the impression was definitely “exotic”, but that was mostly because I did not know the language.

Can you compare your stay in Russia with some other experiences or travels of yours?

Travelling to Paris, London or Rome was not that “new” to me. Everyone knows those places and tells you about them. Thus, it is like you’ve already been there before actually going there. That’s why I think going to Eastern countries is much more interesting, as the experience is completely new.

Which experiences or impressions made in Russia you will never forget? Why?

My experiences in Russia have been about meeting Russian people and getting to know them and their culture. It was not a single experience, but little things that made my stay in Russia unforgettable.

Going back home, what would you miss about Russia?

Every time I come back to Munich, it’s the whole atmosphere that I miss. I think that in St. Petersburg there is more life than in Germany. People are out on the streets 24/7, you always see people running up and down Nevsky Prospect.  I do hope I will be back soon.

Zoran Trevisan is an Italian student, currently on an internship while at the same time studying Russian at Liden & Denz.

About this blog

Members of IALC share their insights on the language travel industry. Contributors are owners, directors, managers, teachers or administrative staff of IALC-accredited language schools worldwide.

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