Student interviews: Andre Beau and Graham Dane.

Student interviews: Andre Beau and Graham Dane.
26 October 2023

This week, we’re saying goodbye to two of our newest students at Liden and Denz Riga, retirees Andre and Graham. 

Over lunch at a local bistro, Lido, Andre and Graham reflect on their time with Liden and Denz and how their experiences studying Russian throughout the years have shaped their perspectives on language learning.

Andre Beau

At sixty seven years old, Andre Beau, (left), first started learning Russian as an elective course at university in 1976 and has since remained passionate about the language and its associated history and cultures. Continuing his studies of Russian has been crucial in his extensive travels throughout Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine, where he has developed close friendships with native speakers. Andre was introduced to Liden and Denz through an ESL program and was drawn to its outstanding program and location. His previous visit to Riga in 2005, Andre has returned to Riga with an undimmed curiosity surrounding the history and culture of Latvia.

What is your favourite place in Riga?

If you’re looking to get out of the city during your travels, Andre recommends a trip to Jurmala beach, not far from Riga and easily accessible by public transport. 

Graham Dane

A retired Physics teacher, Graham, (right), was first introduced to the Russian language fifty eight years ago, whilst still at secondary school. A keen scientist, he was drawn to the major developments taking place throughout the Soviet Union in this period, culminating in a visit to Russia in 1965.

During his extensive travels throughout Russia, Graham has always preferred to stay with a host family and when I ask what has motivated him to continue his studies for such an impressive period of time, he confides that it’s the “nice people” he met whilst travelling in Russia. Such language immersion is what attracted Graham to Liden and Denz with its well-established host family program.  In his view, the foundation of any successful language learning is in building relationships with native speakers, “romantic or otherwise”, he suggests with a mischievous smile. Of course, the practicalities of this as a polyglot are discussed!

What is your favourite place in Riga?

A scientist at heart, Graham strongly recommends the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ. An Orthodox church that acted as Planetarium in the Soviet period, it’s located not far from Riga’s Old Town. 



Darcie Peters is currently studying Russian language at Liden and Denz Riga. 

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