Completely immersing yourself in Russian is the most important step you can take. The more time you spend with the language, the faster you will learn. This means listening, reading, writing, speaking, and studying words and phrases whenever you have a minute to do so.
It All Starts With You!
Once you’re immersed in Russian you must practice, practice, practice! Read Russian newspapers and magazines, watch Russian television and films and listen to the radio. Get as much personal contact with people as possible. Chat with neighbours, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, barmen, etc. The more you are exposed to Russian and the less you use your native language, the quicker you will learn. Memorizing grammar rules is wonderful, but nothing beats practical experience.
TV is probably the quickest way to increase your level of listening comprehension. It's free and you are guaranteed to hear people speaking naturally (and fast). The more you listen and watch, the quicker you will find yourself picking up words and phrases. You will be surprised how much you can learn in a way that is relatively painless.
Studying in your Home Country
Studying in your home country is quite a good way to prepare yourself for your move to Russia. A number of courses are usually available, including part-time and full-time, short intensive courses and courses leading to qualifications. Taking a course is not for everyone however - some people don't feel comfortable in a classroom environment and prefer to study at their own pace and when it suits them.
Studying in Russia
Your can accelerate your learning process by combining your Russian course with the real experience of living in Russia. The main advantage of studying in Russia is that you are totally immersed in the language, in and out of class.
There are numerous language schools in most Russian cities. You can choose among a number of private schools or decide to study at one of the universities. For instance Moscow State University offers courses for all levels.
Subjects include standard grammar, conversation, phonetics, literature. There are also more specialized courses such as Russian for scientists, journalists, business Russian, teaching Russian and Russian law. You can often choose between group and individual tuition courses. There are standard courses for beginners, medium or advanced students.
Different schools have different application requirements. Usually, you can apply to their courses on the Internet a few weeks before your arrival. If a school does not have a website, you can call and apply once you arrive. Many language schools also provide accommodation for foreign students, either in apartments, university campuses or with host families.
If you cannot find a suitable Russian course in your area and are unable to spare the time to study in Russia, you could consider an online course. There are plenty to choose from. A good online course will also provide support from tutors via email, chat programs, video conferencing or telephone.
A language exchange can be a good opportunity to study Russian. It works by pairing up with a Russian person that wants to learn your language. You switch between the two languages, helping each other. This is also a great way to meet new people and make friends. You can find language exchange partners online or in the Just Landed classifieds. Options of language exchange are face-to-face conversation, correspondence with a pen-pal or using text and voice chats.
Other Options to Learn Russian
Other ways of learning Russian include audio courses, computer-aided learning, audio books, textbooks with CDs, etc. Whatever you do, try to make sure that your language studies don’t become boring. The more you enjoy your studies with a positive attitude, the faster you will learn!