How to practice Russian in Riga?
Although Riga is a bilingual city where Russian is spoken alongside Latvian, you might worry whether Russian is as much welcomed nowadays. However, do not be demotivated by that, and get yourself out there to master your Russian skills. Here are three recommendations to fully immerse yourself in the language and make your engagement with Russian-speaking locals easier!
Go to a restaurant or café
Do you want to practice your Russian but also explore local cuisine? Why not combine these two experiences? We advise you to go to the streets, try some delicious meals, and shine with your Russian food-related vocabulary! If you are looking for a proper feast somewhere around the center of Riga, the majority of restaurants provide their menu in Latvian, English, and Russian. It is quite common for the staff to be fluent in all three languages, but if you still hesitate, just ask them. Especially if you opt for restaurants offering Russian cuisine, the chances you will be greeted with Russian words are higher. Visit, for instance, Tēvocis Vaņa (in Russian дядя Ваня), where you can order all traditional meals, such as борщ. Fancy something sweet? Go to any кондитерская like the one located very close to Liden & Denz called Kūkotava, which offers not only plenty of sweets but also an ideal place to challenge your vocabulary.
Join Russian clubs or events
Although you are a student, you will probably not sit at home and learn Russian grammar during your stay, so why not go out and have fun? Riga is a very vibrant city, so something is always going on. Since almost half of the population is Russian, you can easily find an event of your interest in Russian. If you like theater, we recommend visiting the Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre, the oldest professional Russian theater outside Russia. Its repertoire is vast and allows for exploring some of Russian masterpieces. We would also like to invite you to engage with local Russian clubs and communities. InterNations provides a space for Russians in Riga to connect and join some events, which is a great chance to meet new Russian-speaking fellows!
Make new Russian-speaking friends
You are probably new to the city, and so far, you know only your classmates. Wouldn’t it be a shame, though, not to get in touch with the locals? With the help of technology, you can make new Russian-speaking friends easily. Try, for instance, apps Bumble BFF or Meetup, where you specify that you are in Riga to learn Russian and want to practice as much as possible. You can either engage online through the apps or ask your new friends to hang out in the city. One last website we can recommend is called Showaround, which is designed to connect newcomers with locals who usually give tours around their city.
Hopefully, these tips motivated you to try new ways to practice Russian. So do not be afraid of making mistakes, and speak as much as possible!
This blog was brought to you by Anna, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga
The image is from Flickr of Live Riga