Met at Liden & Denz Katerina Mackova

14 February 2014

Katerina Mackova is a 31 year old Czech living here in Russia, after spending several years as an air hostess for Emirates Airlines. Here is her story:

Why did you decide to come to Russia to study Russian?

My husband came to Moscow originally to work, and after a year there we decided we’d fallen in love with Russia and moved to St Petersburg, where he is working for a famous dairy company. Seeing as I now live here, I decided that I’d better learn more words than just “hello” and “thank you”!

Which places have you visited in Russia?

I’ve been to Moscow, St Petersburg and Siberia so far! I really fell in love with the cities, St Pete and Moscow, but my favourite place so far was probably Lake Baikal in Siberia. We went in spring time and it was so beautiful and stunning and I’d love to go back.

A lot of people consider learning Russian to be a challenge. Do you agree with this statement? Why?

I can speak many languages, including Czech obviously and English, but of course I still find Russian difficult! Some of the words are similar in Russian and in Czech so sometimes they get mixed up: I speak Czech at home with my husband, and because we both learn Russian, we tend to mix words up! When we’re speaking it’s ok, because we understand, but when I ring my family at home they don’t know what I’m saying!

What sort of impression did you have of Russia and Russian culture before coming here? And how did it change after arriving here?

I had the normal kind of ideas, like that Russian people are a bit cold and don’t smile very much, but once I actually arrived in Russia I found that to be a lie! Most people are happy to talk to you and even though they don’t smile on the metro, they smile lots at home! Also, the people aren’t cold but the weather is: that’s definitely true!

How has Liden & Denz made your experience in Russia better? Anything specific?

Liden & Denz have been really helpful with everything. They not only offer great lessons but they also organise activities for everyone, like the walking tour of the city for the new students. There are movie nights and the infamous summer vodka party and although most people don’t remember the party the next day, the activities are all very inclusive and fun!

Do you think a knowledge of Russian will benefit you in your future?

Definitely! When I was an air hostess, speaking different languages was a huge benefit, and even though I’m not working there any more, Russian will help me in my next careers. I’m thinking of maybe working for or even setting up my own tourist agency, and being able to offer tours and other things in Russian would be a huge advantage!

If there is one thing that you will never forget about your time in Russia, what would it be?

White Nights in the summertime is something simply unforgettable. The sun never sets so people are outside all night long, partying or eating outside at restaurants and the atmosphere is great for the whole time. You can’t sleep for a few weeks but that’s ok when you can party instead!

Jade Mitchell-Ross is an English student, currently on an internship while studying Russian at Liden & Denz

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