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Day 199: Studying Russian… Again

Day 199:  Scanning Through My Kyrgyz-Russian-English Dictionary

Day 199: Scanning Through My Kyrgyz-Russian-English Dictionary

I love studying foreign languages. I love the idea of speaking in a tongue other than my native one. To be honest, I’m not really good at the whole speaking part because of my shyness, but I keep putting myself in situations that push my boundaries in hopes that it will pay off down the road.

Thinking About Foreign Languages

Do you ever hear people speaking in another country and wonder how or if they can express themselves in the same way as we do when speaking English? In some places it is almost like hearing dogs barking — or at least it could be like that — because all you hear are sounds and not words. Are they actually communicating?

Russian was like that for me. Before my time in Kyrgyzstan in 2008, I had only studied romance languages, those of which could have similar roots and use the same alphabet as English. Russian was like the ultimate language challenge (in my mind), so I signed up for intensive language lessons in Bishkek (they were super cheap!) with hopes of pushing myself to the max and giving my brain a good workout.

kyrgyz russian english dictionary

Where I’m At With Russian

Well, it’s been 2.5 years since I’ve wandered through the streets of a Russian speaking country, and now that I’m going back, I’m trying to look at Russian words at least for a few minutes a day. Damn that Cyrillic alphabet! It feels as though I’m learning it all over again (at a much faster rate mind you). The weird letters make me feel all excited again, but at the same time, I’m a little sad that all that work I did previously — the hours of slamming my head on the desk as my teacher tried to show the difference between a hard and soft L, or when there was yet another exception to remember — was disregarded in my new home of Australia.

Where I’m Going With Russian

Since the one-on-one, 60 full minute classes in Kyrgyzstan for learning Russian were such a bargain, I almost think it would be a crime to visit and not take a few hours of lessons each day. So, I’ve been revisiting the site for the London School in Bishkek and finding myself very pleased that the lessons will still not be more than $5 per hour (bargain!).

I’m also happy I’ve revisited the information pages because some of the visa requirements have changed. Before, the language school could help you extend a tourist visa to study there for longer than a month, but now, you MUST have a business visa (available ONLY at the Bishkek airport on arrival) in order for the school to help with an extension. Wow! Big difference, so I’ll be sure to be updating all my old visa information regarding studying at the school.

Now back to my Russian…


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6 Responses to Day 199: Studying Russian… Again

  1. Megan July 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Brooke, I’m so jealous you’re going back to Kyrgyzstan! Central Asia is most definitely going to be my next big trip.

    Do you recommend learning some Russian for travel in Central Asia? Ever since learning a bit of Spanish here in Latin America and seeing how it can enrich your travel experience I really want to continue adding to my repertoire!

    • Brooke July 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

      I DEFINITELY recommend it… although, it depends on your travel plans. If you’re out in the countryside, you might run into people that only know Kyrgyz (or Kazakh, etc.)… still, the predominant language is Russian and knowing a bit will help you immensely. I hope you can make it out there at some point 🙂

  2. Erica July 20, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    That is some serious work! I’m barely getting a hold on Spanish – much less something else that doesn’t have a Latin base.

    • Brooke July 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

      Haha, when I mention slamming my head on the desk, I’m not kidding! 😉 I feel your pain but I grew a new appreciation for Romance languages after I tested out the Russian!


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