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French and Russian undergraduate student, trying my hand at the real world.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hello chaps,
Somehow it is now Thursday of the second week and I’ve been hella busy. I can’t really remember what I’ve actually done, as the week has absolutely whisked past without a second glance.  Those damned komari still have not left me alone. I’m no longer jetlagged and my food has largely been soup and bread this week. I’ve been feeling the effects of the stolovaya having no plov for 3 days. Serious, serious withdrawal going on there.

Yesterday though, as Wednesday is my day off, I went to the hermitage, which is blissfully free for students. They say it would take seven years to see the whole thing properly and I can certainly see why. The whole gallery spans nine buildings on three, or maybe four, floors. We were there for an hour and only made it around eight rooms. I spent more time looking at the actual rooms than their exhibits – it is completely stunning. I used to be a complete British Museum aficionado but now I don’t think I’ll be able to set foot in it again until the ‘Hermitage-effect’ has worn off. See earlier comments about Sushi.

We’ve had some pretty intense classes this week – largely orally conducted but with some pretty heavy grammar in the mix for good measure. I think my Russian is improving. Learning a language is different from any other kind of learning that I’ve come across. Sitting down and learning lists of vocabulary is just not worth the time commitment – with this method, you’ll never remember everything on the list. The best way to learn is in context – by reading books, watching the television and listening to the news. Actually, watching television is definitely my favourite way of learning when armed (and very dangerous) with a dictionary. This is not for reasons of laziness, but it improves your ear for native-paced dialogue and introduces you to the culture. It is commonly said that there is no substitute for actually going to a country and learning the language there. I have picked up a number of words just by sheer osmosis without having to sit down and learn Chekhov by rote – much more fun.

This week I’ve also been applying for a couple of internships for next summer. As soon as I arrived in Piter last week, my first thought was ‘I can’t wait to properly live here – when I grow up!’. It’s definitely a dream of mine to live and work for a couple of years in The Venice of The North.

Yeahh, that post was really boring. Sorry guyz.

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