We always love when our students share their feedback and personal experience about taking Russian language classes in Riga. Now it’s Parker’s turn to give some insite into his study experience, the Russian language classes and living in Riga. Parker is from the United States and studies Theater and International Relations in University.
The challenge for me wasn’t so much in deciding whether or not to come, but rather how I would be able to get to Riga. Being a US citizen made it harder to arrive in Latvia, but the school was very helpful providing me with the support and documentation I needed to get in. In terms of choosing to come to Riga, though, I was intrigued about studying in the area, and when I looked up Riga, I was sold.
My path to learning Russian stemmed from a desire to spend time in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It was really after deciding to take Russian that I realized how much I enjoyed talking in the language and got even more excited to learn. I decided to start learning Russian two years ago, but really began to study it more intensely after beginning university a year ago.
3. How much differs the way of teaching you used to have at your home from what our school uses. What are main benefits of the method used at Riga’s school?
I appreciate that my teacher, Victoria, does not just translate from Russian to English. If there is a word I don’t know, she works with me to understand it in Russian. I really appreciate having the practice of being in a completely Russian environment.
4. Please give top points you love about your school, Russian classes in Riga, your teacher…
I love how kind and forgiving the environment is. In the classroom, we understand that this is a learning environment, so I have never felt afraid to mess up. I think that is the ideal environment to learn in. I also love how willing my fellow students have been to not only learn in the classroom, but also out in Riga. We all have wanted to learn Russian, so we explore the city and nearby towns together.
5. What is your the most favorite words in Russian and what are the most difficult for you for pronunciation / or strange words .
I think my favorite word in Russian is акула. I’m not sure why, as the word for shark is quite random, but I think I just like the way it sounds. I also remember loving to repeat the word достопримечательность in my first year of Russian. As far as hard words to pronounce, I can’t think of any right now. I do remember have trouble with the verb встретить when I was first learning it.
1. Did you have any stereotypes about Latvia and its people before you came?
I did not. I was fortunate to know a few Latvians before arriving here, so my only perceptions of the country came from them. For the most part they just gave me recommendations as to what I should do while I’m here, so I really came in without any stereotypes.
2. Real Latvia – how it looks, tastes and behaves? How comfortable it is for you to live and study there? Any positive surprises about Latvia/Riga?
I’ve really loved living here! I’ve found Riga to be a great city full of history and culture. It’s also a very convenient city to get around, as I can get most places by foot.
I think I was most surprised at how many great restaurants there are in Riga. My classmate, Harold, and I have taken it upon ourselves to find cool cafes and restaurants in the city. We were just talking the other day about how we have yet to be disappointed.
I have found Riga to be a very charming city. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of what I like about the city is it’s architectural beauty. I often find myself walking around the city looking up and just taking it all in. I also love the ability to travel around Latvia easily. One can easily take day or weekend trips to places like Sigulda or Jurmala.
Finally I have loved the fact that the city has so much to offer. I have been surprised at how often I am able to find somewhere new/ something new to do.
4. Did you have kind of a cultural shock or may be there was something you were not ready for?:)
I don’t think I had culture shock, but I was not ready for how mentally tiring trying to speak in Russian for long periods of time would be. I think I’ve now gotten used to it, but I can remember how hard I had to focus in the beginning.
To sum up I advice anyone who is considering coming to study in Riga to do it! It is a city that I think everyone should be able to experience.