I think that we can all agree on something: Russian is as beautiful as difficult. Life isn’t easy, and learning Russian isn’t either. Yet both of them, life and Russian are great inventions. But, unless you already know a different Slavic language, you’ll find that you were not born to learn Russian. But, using only English is the real solution?
Speaking English in Moscow: as effective as speaking Russian in London
Let’s face a fact. What kind of life do you think you would have speaking only French or German in London? And speaking Spanish in Berlin? If you want to live in a country (for example, Russia) speaking the language of a different country (let’s say, English), you should get ready to enjoy no real feeling of the country, no culture (watching an American movie in a Russian cinema doesn’t count as local culture) and hardly no friends, apart from other expats like you.
Be happy! Not speaking Russian will make you feel like a child
If you decide not to learn Russian, you can still have fun. Living in Moscow with hardly any knowledge of the native language will help you experience glorious moments that will make you feel a child again:
– You will be happy to see restaurants where they have pictures in the menu, because you can point at a picture and say “I want this, I want this, I want this”.
– Children love fast-food and you will also love it. Or at least you will do lots of fast-food: words like Whopper or Bigmac are understood everywhere.
– You will go to new places only when a Russian person is with you. That will help you remember the times when you used to go everywhere with mom and dad holding their hands. Actually these new “mom and dad” will take you to the doctor, will speak to your landlord, will buy you cinema tickets, will call the tv company to apply for your cable tv…
– You won’t be able to read signs on the street because they use letters that you can’t read. You won’t even be able to read the names of actors in movie posters… Sometimes you won’t even be able to write your own name!
– When someone on the street, at the supermarket or in a pub starts speaking to you, you will turn your head or simply run away: as a good child you know that you should never talk to strangers.
– Children hate certain things and it will seem that you will also hate it: going to the theatre, watching the news or reading newspapers, attending courses of any kind.
*If you recognize yourself in any of the above mentioned situations you know that learning Russian is not a bad idea after all.
Ok, you win. But where do I start learning Russian?
You have many options. In Moscow you have language schools and private teachers, happy to have new students. You can also buy learning software like Rosetta Stone or Assimil. Or you can simply browse the Internet and find websites with free online learning resources, like RussianForFree.com. A good start would be learning how to read Cyrillic. The rest from there is a long path, but you know it’s worth it. Good luck.
P.S. This post was written by my friend, one of the founders of the RussianForFree project – Jose. Let’s thank him and ask for a new posts and tips on learning Russian!