Our Blog

Interview with our student

Today we would like to tell you about one of our students, Hannah Stephens. Hannah is from the UK, and she has been living in Russia for nearly two months. Hannah shared with us her impressions of Russia and gave advice to other students.

  • Hannah, can you tell us about your host family?
    I’ve been living with Marina and Vladimir. They are in their late fifties. Vladimir works as a taxi driver, but they both are retired. I’ve met their children and grandchildren, and it was very fun! My host family is very supportive, and I enjoy spending time with them.
  • We know that you are studying Russian language at your university in the UK. Is Russian difficult for you?
    I’ve been studying Russian for 2 years. I’m enjoying it, but at the same time it’s very difficult, especially aspects of verbs – imperfect and perfect. Also I have problems with verbs of motion. Grammar is very different from English, French and Italian. 
  • Why did you choose to learn Russian?
    I work with charity in the UK, with children from Belarus who had cancer due to the Chernobyl accident. We had children over every summer, and I wanted to be able to speak Russian with them.
  • How is learning Russian in your country different from learning Russian here?
    My teachers at university came from Russian speaking countries, so it’s not new for me to learn Russian with native speakers. However, I noticed that in the UK my teachers are more strict. Teachers at “Enjoy Russian” are more relaxed and kind.
  • What did you expect from your trip to Russia?
    First of all, I wanted my Russian to improve. Also I wanted to learn about new culture, look how people live in small towns. I think it’s more interesting than life in the main cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg. I don’t really like big cities.

    Hannah in Petrozaodsk
  • Are Russian people different from people in your country?
    British people are very polite: we always say “please”, “thank you”, “sorry”. When I act the same way in Russia, people find it weird. They look surprised: “It’s fine, no need for that!”
  • What cultural activities did you like most?
    I like Kizhi and Kivach a lot, there is really beautiful nature. I also went to Russian banya with my host family, that was very unusual. Very different from British spa (laughs)
  • What is your favorite food in Russia?
    I like pirozhki and shchi a lot, but I tried a lot of different foods. We even made a video, you can see it at “Enjoy Russian”’s page on Facebook.


  • What did you find weird or unusual in Russia?
    I didn’t find anything extremely weird, but I was surprised that everything is so much cheaper here than in the UK. 
  • What stereotypes about Russia did you hear before coming here?
    I heard that Russians are scary and too serious, which isn’t true. People are nice and friendly here. But in the UK we smile a lot for no reason, it’s just not common in Russia.
  • Have you met people from other countries at “Enjoy Russian”?
    Yes, I’ve met people from Italy, Spain, South Africa, and from my country. I was surprised when a woman from Finland told me about their country: it turned out population of Finland is less than population of London!
    Studenrs and volunteers
  • What advice would you give to those who want to study at “Enjoy Russian”?
    Just make the most of it! Do all the excursions, attend all the activities, enjoy your lessons, talk to your host families and Russian volunteers. So I would recommend more and more communication! 

So, would you like to get such unforgettable experience lika Hannah? Join our courses and come to Petrozavodsk!