Distance Learning to beat the Corona in Russia

Distance Learning to beat the Corona in Russia
31 March 2020

Since the beginning of the spread of the infamously famous Corona Virus, everyday life has changed its definition all around the world. Indeed, being progressively retrieved from social contact and most of us being stuck at home, our usual activities were almost all put to an end. However, learning a language is still possible thanks to distance learning.

With the Corona crisis breaking out in Europe, I was positively surprised on the few consequences in Russia, until the sudden news of the outbreak in Moscow. While Petersburg’s constant energy kept on flowing through the city as if it was on another world, Moscow had been shut down. Last week, it has been put under quarantaine, just as our Lidenz Partner School there. As a preventive measure, our school in Petersburg went through the same processes. “Alright, that’s it with the Russian knowledge” was my first thought. My teacher might be the best language teacher I could have wished for, but I still could not imagine progressing as I did before.

And the first class started. To my surprise, all we had to do was click on a link and there we were. No time lost with me not hearing my teacher, or the others not seeing me, as my poor informatic “savoir-faire” has showed me often enough. The lesson started, and I found myself focusing on the “Prepositional or Accusatif?” question so hard I almost forgot about the empty wine glasses from last night behind my computer. Cherishing my cup of tea and my pyjamas for a little longer than usually, I could even exchange the traditional morning metro rush for a few minutes longer in my bed. The teacher simply writes everything she would have written on the board in the “group chat” and uses the same device to share her documents with us.

I share my Russian classes with two other students which are also my closest friends here in Russia. It is little to say that even when there is a very good mood in the class, a group online class can be rather difficult, but it’s not. The program we use, Zoom, lets us see all the members of the class, while the person speaking is shown in the big screen. Therefore, it just incites you to focus a little bit more. Indeed, if interactions between the students are just as available for the teacher and the other students as to that one friend the joke was destined to, it might let the focus of the class be a little less distracted.

We still learn Russian and get everyday a little bit closer to figuring out this incredible grammar. Not only do we do this for us and our thirst for knowledge, but most importantly we don’t contribute to the further spreading of the virus. Maybe we will avoid the crisis our families and friends in Europe are going through, and maybe the Russian Country, which fascinates us so much that we decided to learn its language, can avoid such disasters. Stay at home kids, you won’t regret it. But never give up on learning.


Posted by Kim Schierke

My name is Kim, I’m 21 years old and I just graduated from International Relations at the University of Geneva. I have always been fascinated by Russia, because of its language and its culture. During my studies, this interest has kept on growing and I even ended up writing my thesis about it. Learning the language, therefore, comes as an evidence.

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