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Russian-Americans have made a lasting impression on the US. The first big wave of immigration was in the eighteenth century. Many traders and missionaries crossed Siberia and made their way to Alaska, which was a Russian colony at the time. As the years progressed into the early nineteenth century, many Russian settlers have gone as far south as San Francisco.
For reasons such as politics, religious persecution, economic hardships just to name a few, large-scale migration spread across the United States. In modern-day, nearly every city has a large but tight-knit Russian community that gets together and holds community events with dance, food, and drinks.
Today spoken by over 250 million people, Russian is the most common of the Slavic languages. If you live in a bigger city, chances are good that you will be able to find a Russian Language school that offers group classes with levels from beginner to advanced.
For example, at New York University, there are classes on Russian & Slavic languages. In these classes, you will learn the Russian alphabet, called Cyrillic. These classes will also help you start speaking like it is your mother tongue in no time. If you are in Chicago, the language school Multilingual Connections is also a great option. Located in West Bucktown, they offer group Russian classes at their language center and meetups after class. If you would prefer private lessons, that is an option too!
When learning any new language, there is a lot of the culture and history that comes embedded in the letters, words, and phrases that are spoken. You discover this through the discussions with teachers and other students.
One aspect of learning Russian is grasping the new alphabet. Adding a bit of a challenge, you must learn the Cyrillic alphabet to be able to read works by great Russian authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, or Mikhail Bulgakov. It is a special treat to be able to read classics in their native tongue as their authors intended. The imagery their words invoke will illuminate the stories in ways otherwise unseen.
Gaining the ability to read Russian literature is often a huge motivator to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and the Russian language itself. This new ability also lends a hand in learning about the fascinating history which is as vast as the country itself. Whether you are interested in the wars, revolutions, or technological achievements, reading about them in Russian makes a huge difference.
Joining a Russian Language club is a fantastic way to practice conversation with other beginners and intermediates speakers. Most towns will have at least one club to connect with others trying to improve.
An easy way to find a group is to seek out the local colleges or universities around your hometown or city. But you don’t need to be a college student to join a language club. There are tons of clubs in every city. If you are in New York, look up the local Russian Meetups and clubs. If you’re in LA, you could join the UCLA Russian Club, they regularly meet, and often they are planning community events with traditional music, foods, and dances. You will meet people from all over the world who have the same goal as you, learning to read and speak Russian.
These clubs will often get together at a pub or coffee house. They can go on theater outings, picnics at local parks, and watch movies together. A simple google search of the Russian Language Club and your hometown will populate myriad results. Community and a new group of friends will keep you motivated and engaged to learn and stay active. You can make lifelong friends as you converse on a wide range of topics. Explore each other’s backgrounds and perspectives on the world. You never know where it will take you, but it’s definitely worth the journey.
Politics aside, this is a great time to know or learn the Russian Language. This can complement nearly any other job qualifications you have and open up doors for your future career. Whether you want to be an interpreter, a linguist, work for the military in National Defense, or learn more about computer coding. Learning and being able to understand Russian will allow you to find a well-paying job and move you along in a career.
Sales is another field with tons of opportunities. Russian consumers are a huge part of the international market and many companies need someone to interface with. This could be you! This new language could bring you to a new frontier of helping people in need. Other jobs could allow you to interpret or interface between Russian Nationals and Americans. It sounds exciting just thinking about it. Like a James Bond film in real life.
Whether you are just learning Russian or you are wanting to read War and Peace just the way the author wrote it and intended it to be portrayed, there are better and faster ways to improve.
You have already joined one of the many Russian Language clubs across the US. You have tried your local Russian restaurants, as well as watched the top Russian films, theater, and Russian Ballet. But, have you tried a private instructor to help you with your accent and grammar?
Maybe you would like to expand your vocabulary so that you can speak with confidence in any situation. SuperProf, the online community of instructors, has thousands of private tutors across the country that can help you one-on-one with your Russian language journey. It will be like taking the Trans-Siberian railway.
They will show you all that language and culture has to offer and you can start and stop at any place you like. They can help with any level of understanding and get you to where you want to be. Check it out on Superprof.com and see how many choices you really have. Next stop, Moscow!
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