When most people think of Russian they think of a hard language that is spoken in a mysterious, cold and large country. However, there is more to this language than that. Russian is spoken by 260 million people world wide. It is most widely spoken Slavic language and it is the 7th most spoken language in the world. Most of these people live in Russia but there are many speakers throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. There are communities of Russian speakers in Western Europe, North America and even South America. With all that being said Russian is an underrated world language that deserves more attention.
I started learning Russian back in August 2017 and since then I have slowly been making progress in the language. Russian is a tough language so it much harder for me to gain as much progress as I do in French. However, I love Russian and I think Russia and Russian culture is very fascinating. I love learning this language because it has opened me up to a new world. Since Russia has been closed off from the western world for so long not many people know much about this country. It also doesn't help that The United States and Russia (then The Soviet Union) were enemies and were at war, this is known as The Cold War. Now that The Cold War is behind us Russia has been more open to the western world.
While studying Russian I have learned so much more about this country. I learned that Russia was a surprisingly ethnically diverse country. Ethnic Russians only make up about 81 percent of the country. The other 19 percent of Russia are various ethnic groups that also call Russia home. Prior to learning Russian I had no idea that there were other ethnicities within the country. I then started to learn about the various ethnic groups that lived within Russia like Tatars, Ukrainians and Bashkirs. I learned that Tatars have their own republic called Tatarstan where they speak Tatar, along with Russian, and that most of them practice Islam and not Orthodox Christianity. This republic has its own culture and customs that they practice along side with Russian culture. Outside of Russia I started to learn a lot about the ex soviet republics like Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. I learned how the Russian language has influenced these countries and the people that live in these countries.
Learning Russian also introduced me to a plethora of new music. When I start learning a new language I love to look for music in that language so I can incorporate that language into my daily life. While learning Russian I have found so many good singers and bands like Vremya I Steklo (Время и Стекло) and t.A.T.u (t.A.T.y). Discovering these artists have greatly improved my Russian learning because it makes me listing to the language every day. I learn how Russian speakers pronounce their words and I get to hear what the language sounds like. There are so many Russian songs that I have learned to love that I have to listen to them almost everyday.
Studying Russian has introduced me to some great people. When I decided to learn Russian I was already a member at a website called "Interpals." This website is designed for people who want to make friends all around the world and help each other learn each other's languages and culture. On this site I was able to make so many Russian speaking friends. I have met people from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. These people have been a great help to me in learning Russian. They have helped me understand Russian grammar and they also taught me some Russian words too. They have also helped me understand Russian culture and I learned a lot about Belarus and Ukraine too. I have learned how all three these countries are the same and how they are still different despite their soviet past. I have made many Russian speaking friends on this website that I even created a VK account (this is basically the Russian version of Facebook) to be able to communicate with them all.
While studying Russian I became exposed to Russian cuisine. When I started studying Russian I decided I wanted to learn what kind of food Russian people ate. I learned how to make Borscht (which is Russian beet soup) and I even went to a Russian restaurant called Teremok when I went to New York City. I was able to try popular Russian food like pelmeni, blini and kvass. These foods that I tried were very good and I am always craving them.
In conclusion, deciding to study Russian has opened my eyes to a new culture and a new world that I knew nothing about before. I learned about the country of Russia and the ex soviet countries, I learned about the various ethnic groups within Russia and how they live, I discovered many new songs and artists that I know love and I dont know how I would live without, I have made many Russian friends some of which may become life long friends and finally I have been exposed to a new type of cuisine that I couldn't imagine living without now. This is why I love studying Russian.