Всем здорово from Jacob, another new intern at L&D, Riga
Всем здорово! To get the boring stuff out of the way – my name is Jacob, and I’ll be interning at Liden and Denz, Riga for the next month. I study Philosophy and Russian at the University of Oxford (much like previous intern and friend Patrick), and have spent the last academic year in nomadic fashion – the autumn semester in Yerevan, Armenia and the spring in Almaty, Kazakhstan, along with some off the cuff travelling in Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Funnily enough, this is actually my second time in Riga, though the first time doesn’t really count since it was shortly before my fourth birthday. Riga has already made a great (second) impression; the weather is perfect and coffee plentiful (important for an addict like me).
So – why Russian? Although I’m a massive fan of all Russian literature (particularly Fyodor Dostoevsky), as well as cinema (highlights include Сталкер, Восхождение and Иди и Смотри), I actually started the long, lonely road of studying such a beautiful yet difficult language purely so I could talk to my friend Артемий in his native language. It’s surreal having conversations with Artemiy, who is still a great friend, in (more-or-less) understandable Russian, whereas five years ago I could barely read the alphabet!
I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in Russophone environments, including stints in Petersburg, Moscow, as well as the more recent visits mentioned above, and have always been amazed at how merely making an effort in a foreign language can get you places, and out of difficult situations. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have had half as interesting an experience thus far without my language knowledge.
Outside of my academic life, I’m a keen (but very amateur) mountaineer and climber, spend a lot of time nerding out over electronic music, whether live or in my bedroom (I look forward to venturing into the unknown of Riga’s nightlife…) and am trying to watch every entry on the Sight & Sound 2022 top 100 greatest films (so pretentious, I know). Anyway, пока for now, and I do hope you’ll enjoy hearing more about my time here and my thoughts on Russian Language & Culture.
Jacob, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz, Riga.