The Story behind the Conversational Russian Video Course

Posted on December 21st, 2014

It’s been quite a few months since my last post. Now that I started typing up this article, I realize how much I’ve missed writing! I love writing. This was one of the reasons why I started my own blog: writing, combining ideas on paper (well, in this case in a Word document on my laptop) and creating something interesting and unique. You might have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. This is because for the last few months I have been working hard on creating my two new video courses: Conversational Russian and Russian for Beginners.

After teaching Russian for a few years online and getting encouraging, supportive and sweet feedback from you, I’ve decided to create a couple of products to help you learn Russian. My main goal was to create something unique, something that would really help everyone who is learning Russian to connect to the language itself, to feel and experience the Russian language and culture first-hand without leaving their country (Although, I still think that traveling is great and you absolutely should go to a Russian speaking country if you have a chance).

If you have been following my lessons for a while, you will probably remember my first video lessons where I was teaching Russian slang and idioms. It was a fun and unique idea and was very well received by my followers. I decided to take it further and create a course that would include some slang and idioms, but mostly words and expressions widely used in spoken Russian. This is how the Conversational Russian video course idea was born.

The Story behind Conversational Russian Course

Why Conversational Russian? Let me tell you the story.

Since I was a little girl I was dreaming about visiting London and walking along the old and narrow streets, strolling along the Thames and taking pictures by Big Ben.

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London

Then one day several years ago I decided that it was time to make my dream come true. My plan was to come to London on a student visa and take English language classes. After spending countless hours at the local Internet club, I found an English language school in the heart of London, and registered for English classes. Then I applied and was granted a student visa, booked a flight, gave hugs and kisses to my parents and left my home country to make my dreams come true.

Prior to deciding to take English classes in London, I had been studying English in Ukraine for at least 5-6 years at the middle and high school and then at the University. Our teachers were not native English speakers, but they did their best teaching us English grammar and vocabulary. Although 6 years seems like a long time, we only had a couple of hours of English classes a week, which was a good start, but still wasn’t sufficient enough to learn to speak English fluently.

During my last high school year I took some additional private English lessons. This is when my English had improved dramatically and I felt really confident about it. At the time of arrival in England my level of English was upper-intermediate. Apparently this still wasn’t good enough…

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge, London

I arrived in London prepared to speak English and be able to easily understand everyone around me. Imagine my shock when I got off the plane and could not understand a British lady who was trying to give me the directions to the train station. At all. The lady was very sweet and walked me to the ticket machine where I bought my train ticket and then she showed me the way to the train station. Eventually I was able to get to my final destination, but it was a struggle. I felt I could not find enough words to explain myself and it seemed that everyone around me spoke different English. Not the same English I had been learning in Ukraine. They spoke conversational English.

The Moral of the Story

When it comes to a foreign language, learning its basics and structure is extremely important, but it’s also very important to learn conversational vocabulary, and words and expressions often used in informal speech, as well as slang and idioms. This is exactly the kind of vocabulary that is used by native speakers in informal situations.

It wasn’t my level of English that was a problem, it was the kind of English I had learned – very formal textbook English that wasn’t the kind of English the native English speakers use.

Within 6 months of living in England my spoken English had improved and it had become much easier to understand everyone around me. This is because I was surrounded by native English speakers and picked up a lot of good conversational and slang vocabulary from them.

Battersea park London

Battersea Park in Battersea, London

My story is a good example of how important it is to start learning conversational vocabulary as soon as possible. It will definitely help you better understand and faster connect to the native speakers. Besides, learning slang and idiomatic expressions can be a lot of fun!

Fast forward several years later and my own story has become my main inspiration for the Conversational Russian video course. The vocabulary that I picked for the course is widely used in spoken Russian. You’ll hear a lot of these words and expressions from native Russian speakers.

I hope you find this course interesting and helpful in your Russian language learning journey. If you would like to learn more about the course, you can watch this video. If you are ready to sign up, click on this link.

In my next post I will reveal 20 words and expressions that are featured in the Conversational Russian video course. Stay tuned! (An update: post 20 Words & Expressions from the Conversational Russian Video Course has now been published, click here to read it.)

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The courses of Russian as a foreign language with FunRussian take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.