Learning Russian surrounded by English is doable, but difficult.
Just like only eating celery at an ice cream party.
There’s too much temptation, and the environment doesn’t foster success.
Why not take your learning a step further by surrounding yourself with an entire population that speaks the language?
If you want to completely remove all distractions while you study the Russian language, your best bet is to go straight to the source: the capital of Russia—Moscow!
Moscow is the best place to hear Russian as it’s spoken today.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Watching Russian movies and television programs are great ways to expose yourself to the language (keep it up!). However, unless you’re including modern sources, there’s a chance that the vocabulary you’re hearing might not be up-to-date.
Studying in Russia is ideal for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the culture and get an up-close-and-personal look at what Russian is all about!
Top Reasons to Visit Moscow
There are so many reasons to visit Moscow, but here are some you might not have considered:
- You’ll be in the heart of Russia. Russia is an enormous country with many big cities and small villages to visit. However, nothing is quite like Moscow, with its extensive history and impressive culture.
- Learn about Russia’s past. Moscow has dozens of museums, theaters, libraries, churches and government buildings. In fact, if you were there for a few months, you could visit a new place every day!
- Check out the impressive architecture. If you’ve seen a photo of the Kremlin (Russian citadel), you already have an idea of how impressive the architecture in Moscow is. Russia has a long history, and its buildings reflect various periods. From stark buildings to colorful and adorned ones, Moscow has something for everyone’s taste!
- Restaurants offer a variety of cuisines. While Russian cuisine in itself is extensive and delicious (minus some of stranger dishes, such as herring and beet soup), there are also hundreds of international restaurants sure to please even the pickiest eater.
- Party, party, party! Work hard, play hard. During the day you can keep your focus on your studies. However, all bets are off when the sun goes down! Moscow has a world-famous nightlife, which includes bars, restaurants, lounges and clubs. Plus, you’ve never partied until you’ve visited a Russian restaurant at night, with live bands, a variety of alcohol options, tons of food and dancing! (Just make sure you’re fit to study the next day.)
Tips to Supplement Your Learning in Moscow
Whatever program you choose to learn Russian while in Moscow, speed up the process by supplementing your learning in the following ways:
- Visit the libraries. Moscow has an extensive collection of libraries. Beginners can benefit from children’s books to those that help teach Russian, while intermediate and advanced students can learn from classic Russian novels and poetry.
- Check out the movies and shows. Visit the movie theaters or catch up on Russian shows to improve your Russian. Start by watching children’s shows that use simple words and speak slower, and work your way up to dramas and comedies. You can even learn specific Russian words by including different genres.
- Join a Meetup. Moscow has learning exchange groups where you can improve your Russian skills while also meeting new people. Come to the group with your questions, and leave with answers and more confidence!
- Use FluentU. You can start your learning before you even leave home by using FluentU.
Plus, the videos are all naturally entertaining since they come from the shows, movies and channels that native Russian-speakers enjoy on the regular. You can watch documentary footage, television show clips, funny commericals and more all while learning the Russian language!
Take a quick look at what FluentU has on offer for yourself:
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? FluentU makes native Russian videos approachable through interactive captions. Tap or click on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.
Don’t stop there, though! Use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that information to give you a 100% personalized experience. You’ll get extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.
Go Straight to the Source: Learn Russian in Moscow
MGU Russian: Moscow State University Russian Language Centre
This center offers four convenient ways for learning Russian with both private and group course options.
Group courses are perfect for meeting others that are on a similar journey as you and make new friends and travel buddies. There are group courses for different levels of Russian speaking skills. Using a helpful online test to evaluate your Russian proficiency level, you can then choose an appropriate group and join during various times throughout the year.
The groups are between 8 to 10 students, and two-week courses consist of 40 academic hours, while three-week courses consist of 60 academic hours. Classes are held in the mornings, between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Individual courses are geared towards those that want to accelerate their learning or want to focus on a specific topic or area. Students can study anywhere from one week to one academic year.
Private classes are held three times a week from 2 to 9 p.m at the center or from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the student’s house.
For those that will be working, interning or simply sightseeing during the day, MGU offers convenient evening classes. They’re held three times per week from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
MGU can help you find accommodations with a host family or in the hotel, Universitetskaya, located close to the university.
After you leave Moscow, you can keep honing your Russian skills with online Russian Skype lessons from MGU!
Learn Russian at AMBergh Education from professional teachers who have at least five years of educational experience! This program offers a variety of course options (individual, group or mini-group courses), as well as the opportunity to spend a semester (or more) abroad.
Individual classes are tailored to the student’s particular needs. Whether that involves learning general Russian or studying towards a specific purpose, the teachers will structure the class in a way that’s most advantageous to you.
Group classes consist of international students, with up to 12 people in each class. The classes are mostly taught in Russian, with some English explanations. However, fear not! You’ll take a placement test to determine your proficiency level to ensure you’re placed in the right group.
Those that really want to delve into learning the Russian language can dedicate a full semester to learning Russian in small groups of various levels. In this case, AMBergh can help with accommodations, transfers and excursions.
Accommodation options include staying with a Russian host family, in a shared flat or in a hotel. Students taking individual courses can stay in a student room located walking distance to the classes.
Liden and Denz Intercultural Institute of Languages
This institute is perhaps one of the most elite ways of learning Russian in Moscow. Centrally located, it’s not uncommon to find foreign diplomats and members of the press learning alongside other students.
There are a variety of Russian courses taught throughout the year. The courses start at different times, but include general courses, intensive courses, help with passing the TELC exam, business classes and seasonal programs during the summer and holiday breaks.
The teachers all have postgraduate degrees and are specialists in teaching the Russian language. Their goal isn’t only to teach students useful words and phrases but to help them communicate effectively in real-life situations.
You can arrange your own accommodations, or get help with one of the four options presented by the institute. This includes living with a Russian host family, in a hotel, hostel or rented apartment.
Ruslanguage’s mission isn’t just to teach Russian to foreigners, but also to help them get a deeper understanding of the Russian culture.
You can start off with a free trial lesson (check the schedule first), then (if you find the program is just right for you) you’ll choose between long-term course programs (12 weeks), a full academic year (32+ weeks) or group classes.
The long-term course program, also called the Russian Intensive Bonus program, means you’ll study with a group of five to nine people and attend class four days a week with teachers from Moscow State University (MSU).
The academic year-long program is for advanced students who will then attend Russian universities or work in Russia.
Group classes are available during evenings and weekends, and meet six hours per week. As most of the students consist of diplomats, business professionals and professors, the classes are flexible and can be made up if work or a business trip get in the way of attendance.
Students enrolled in the intensive courses can stay with a host family or share a room in a shared flat. All accommodations are checked by the employees of Ruslanguage and are no more than 30 minutes from the school.
CESA Languages Abroad
CESA prides itself on teaching language learning skills to individuals of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a student who wants to learn Russian during the summer or a businessperson who needs to learn Russian fast, they can help you with your goals!
This program promises qualified and skilled teachers and helps with accommodations.
There are both group and individual classes, with a variety of options. The courses are open to anyone 16 years or older, with classes starting practically any month of the year. The courses last from 10 to 16 weeks, with a maximum of 12 students per class.
CESA will provide transportation from the airport to your given choice of accommodation. They can help you find a hotel, a shared apartment or room and board with a host family who can even provide cooked meals!
We hope we’ve made your decision to learn Russia in Moscow a little easier. This capital city has everything to offer students—great cultural experiences, an active nightlife and a chance to meet people from around the world!
Pack your bags and get ready to start speaking Russian in no time!
Renata Ilitsky is a professional content writer with over 10 years of experience. She specializes in creating unique and engaging content for any industry. To read some of Renata’s other work, please view her writing portfolio.
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