Learning a new language means learning a new culture. If you want to approach a culture which is very different from your own, learning eastern languages is one of the best ways to do it. In this article, I will focus on four reasons why you should study Russian.
Visiting Russia, from Moscow to Vladivostok
If you are dreaming of crossing the biggest country of the world for almost 10,000 km from Moscow to Vladivostok on board the Trans-Siberian train, knowing Russian will help you a lot. Trans-Siberian is the world’s longest train journey, with a duration of seven days and a half. During the journey the train stops in many Russian towns such as Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk etc., where English language is barely or not spoken at all by local people. For this reason, if you want to enjoy this experience at its fullest, the knowledge of Russian language will help you a lot both on board and in the different towns where the train stops.
Indeed, on board there are not only many tourists, but also many Russian people, including the personnel. Russian will enable you to communicate and befriend with Russian passengers and locals, thus removing language barriers and giving you the chance of experiencing a real Russian atmosphere, where you can admire breathtaking landscapes as the Baikal lake, drink tea, eat bliny, as well as get familiar with Russian people and culture. In other words, your touristic trip will turn into a cultural one thanks to your linguistic knowledge.
A useful language for your career
In the last few decades, Russia has been growing from a commercial and economic point of view, expanding its trades to the rest of the world and cooperating with many foreign companies. According to the BBC, “the EU ranks as Russia’s number one trading partner, accounting for almost 41% of all trade” (BBC, Russia’s trade ties with Europe, 4/03/2014). On the one hand, products which are most imported to Russia are chemicals, medicines, food and agricultural products, machinery and transport products. On the other hand, Russia is the main provider of gas and oil to EU.
The strengthening of the economic partnership between Russia and EU aroused the necessity of fluent communications between the companies’ representatives, and this brought to a high demand for employees who know Russian for work purposes. However, this language is required not only in many company environments but also in the tourism industry. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1991, the number of Russian tourists in EU has been constantly increasing, which led to a high demand for Russian-speaking workers in museums, hotels, etc. In light of the above, learning this language will give you more job opportunities or help you advance in your career.
Russian literary masterpieces
Russian literature boasts some of the greatest writers of all times due to “the force, the directness, the honesty and accuracy with which they depicted the most essential aspects of human experience”, as referred to in The New York Times (F. Prose and B. Moser, What Makes the Russian Literature of the 19th Century So Distinctive? 25/11/2014). If you are a passionate of Russian writers of the nineteenth century, like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, and others, or if you want to read their books, by knowing Russian you can appreciate these works in the source language, or, if books are too hard to read for you, you can watch the corresponding Russian movies and enjoy these masterpieces of literature in their mother tongue.
More than 270 speakers around the world
Russian is the sixth most spoken language in the world with more than 150 million native speakers and 110 million speakers as second language. Indeed, by knowing Russian you will be able not only to travel across Russia without problems of communication, but also to speak to people who are from other countries which formerly belonged to the Soviet Union, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Belarus etc. In this way, you will be able to freely communicate with local residents of those countries where English language is spoken only by a few people.
If you are still unsure about learning this language, going to Russia will help you make up your mind!
By Federica Patruno