Chloe tells about her summer vacations in Petrozavodsk “a part of Russia that you may never visit otherwise”
What are the reasons to choose a small city to study foreign language? And what do russians mean, when they say “a small city”? That’s a quite reasonable questions, as we all know the size of the Russian Federation. Petrozavodsk is a small city, located in the northwestern Russia. It’s a capital of Republic of Karelia and the largest city in the Republic with a population of 300,000. Those who live in Russian cities with a population over one million will probably call it “provincial town”. But what do our students from all over the world think about Petrozavodsk? Why do they prefer study Russian language here, rather than in Moscow or Saint-Petersburg?
Today we are glad to share with you an article from Chloe Hargreaves, who spent with us two weeks. In her opinion the most the main advantage is “insight into ‘real Russia’”. It’s better once to see, than hundred times to hear!
Всем привет! My name is Chloe and I have just finished my first year at Warwick studying Economics, French and Russian.
During the summer, I spent two weeks in Petrozavodsk, Russia, where I stayed with a host family and attended daily language lessons. Everyone at the language school was so welcoming – since there were only around 30 students in total, we all knew each other and regularly explored Petrozavodsk together in the afternoons and evenings.
There were only around 10 people in my class of all ages and nationalities. The lessons were fairly relaxed but effective; we studied a different topic and grammar point every day to get us talking as much as possible. My teacher at the school was very approachable and definitely helped to create a friendly classroom atmosphere, which really took the pressure off speaking in Russian in front of the group.
Both with other students and my host family, I was able to visit the city and surrounding areas, giving me an insight into ‘real Russia’ which I feel I would have missed out on had I chosen to stay in St Petersburg or Moscow. My host family could not have done any more for me: during the weekends we went to a traditional Ukrainian restaurant for borsch, took a road trip to visit Russian villages and churches, visited a nearby waterfall and even had a barbeque at their “dacha”; a second home that many Russian families have in the countryside. They also made sure to cook a lot of traditional Russian food for dinner, including pelmeni (Russian dumplings), grecha (buckwheat) and blini (Russian pancakes) which we made together. Although it may seem daunting to stay with a host family, I would definitely recommend it as my experience would have been very different without them!
In Petrozavodsk there are many cafés, restaurants and bars to visit that are good quality and far cheaper than the UK, as well as several shops, museums and parks that are near to the school and ideal for afternoons and weekends. The language school also organises activities such as cooking classes, city tours, and trips to surrounding areas at the weekend as part of their cultural packages, and are also able to organise additional trips for those interested. Having also visited St Petersburg during my trip, I definitely noticed that far fewer people in Petrozavodsk spoke English and were more willing to make an effort when I was speaking to them in Russian.
Overall, I would recommend Petrozavodsk and the EnjoyRussian Language School to anyone studying Russian. As well as the school itself having great teachers, the location gives you the chance to explore a part of Russia that you may never visit otherwise, and meet people from all around the world!
Do you still have any doubts? We invite you to join our courses and experience “Real Russia” by yourself. Will be looking forward to your feedback!