Passport Travel and educationtravelcom.au started their association with language tours in the final days of the Soviet regime. We organised groups of Russian language students from Australia and New Zealand (adults and high schools age) to attend a 1 month intensive course during our summer break. In those days there were many more people learning Russian. An example is the Australian military – during the Cold War all ships and surveillance aircraft had to have a Russian speaking officer. The courses were at Pt Cook airforce base. Their students used to join our groups – anyone grasped the irony yet??
It is always good to learn a language to some level, even if it is just the pleasantries. Here is a small guide for those that may wish to pursue more with the Russian language.
1) An MSU student via the internet
Moscow State University provides online Russian lessons by Skype. This course is not free, but the price is quite affordable – just 16 euro for a course with a minimum of eight classes. www.mgu-russian.com.
You can also check your level online with their free tests.
2) From the very beginning to advanced vocabulary
RT suggests free online Russian lessons starting with the alphabet for beginners and more advanced tasks for those that already know Cyrillic. Lessons consist of a wide range of learning materials from easy exercises to grammar tables and tests. learnrussian.rt.com
3) Russian for free
The Russian for Free website has a large archive of step-by-step Russian lessons from beginning exercises (alphabet, vocabulary games) to quite advanced tasks (music videos and comics in Russian). It features a phrasebook for tourists that want to practice before traveling to a Russian-speaking country and a special language guide for romantics if you need help in that department. The website also offers a trial Skype private language lesson for just one euro. www.russianforfree.com
4) Free apps
Russian startup helps users learn European languages in just one minute a day
“Learn any language with 10 words a day” is the motto of The Easy Ten app. You can choose words from several topic groups and the app will arrange them in an enjoyable format, including spelling practice and audio tests. This is a really fun way to learn Russian and has all sorts of advantages for those that can’t break free from their smart phones including push notifications and the possibility of accessing via social networks so you can invite friends to compete in quizzes. The application is available as a free download in both the App Store and on Google Play www.easyten.ru.
Another app simply called Russian provides different ways of learning vocabulary from quizzes to listening. For iPhones and iPads only.
A convenient app for beginners, Russian Alphabet is available both in the AppStore and on Google Play.
5) Podcast of your choice
One of the easiest ways to learn a foreign language is by listening to a podcast to kill time on your way to work or as a nice alternative to the radio while on a long drive.
Tatiana Klimova has recorded about 200 short dialogues, in which she explains the meanings of complicated words – a good tutorial for those that want to expand their vocabulary. russianpodcast.eu
If you are in Russia, you will have a great opportunity to learn the language, but most formal courses are not free. On the other hand most language programs can sponsor your visa to Russia. Below are some useful links for those that want to investigate further:
• Moscow State University
• Pushkin Institute
• Higher School of Economics
• Russian Language and Culture Institute in St. Petersburg
• Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University