A little bit of Russian every day (Resources and ideas)


Some people think that spending an hour a week studying a language is enough, and then wonder, after several months, why they only know how to order a coffee at a café. Learning a language is a time consuming, and sometimes frustrating, adventure. If your goal is to simply learn some “travel” phrases like “May I order a coffee?” or “Where is the toilet?”, then studying an hour enough may be enough. However, if you want to become fluent in the language, then you must interact with your target language several times a week. Ideally, you will spend an hour a day (or more!) interacting with your language. This requires a lot motivation.

Now, I use the word “interact”, because simply studying lists of words, or doing grammar exercises will not get you fluent. Yes, they are still a part of learning (especially in Russian, with the various cases and endings), however they can be boring, frustrating, and you aren’t using the language as you would in real life. For this reason, I strongly advise students to interact with the real Russia, through listening to Russian music or radio, watching TV shows/Movies or YouTube clips, reading articles on popular websites, books, poetry and more. In addition to consuming material, it is vital that you write and talk!

As I mentioned, to do this every day can be difficult, and you need a lot of motivation. If the work is fun, then it will be far easier, which is why I think that always doing grammar and vocabulary exercises is a bad idea. Even if you only listen to the Radio for 30 minutes a day, or read a short article, it is better than nothing. So, here are some ideas and resources to help you interact with Russian every day:

  • Listen to a radio station while you are driving/cooking/studying (of course, it is better if you concentrate on what they are saying). A great app for this is TuneIn (You can also record the radio to listen again later).  Search by Location. Some suggested stations (The talk shows will usually be between 6am-10pm local time):
    • Radio Nashe – Only Russian Music, FM radio shows with interviews, competitions etc. (My Favourite station!)
    • Radio Mayak – A talk and music station. There are many podcasts and interviews about a variety of topics, from music to science.
    • Echo of Moscow – Talk station. Covers political issues, as well as interviewing different artists. Also have a great website with recordings of their interviews.
    • Russian Hit – Pop music, mostly Russian.
  • Read news, articles etc:
    • Adme – Short articles full of pictures about various topic. Light and usually easy articles to read quickly.
    • Lenta and Gazeta – Latest news from the Russian press. Includes not only news, but articles about art exhibitions, science, sport, business etc. (For intermediate learners and up)
    • Meduza – Excellent news website with independent news from and about Russia, and around the world.
    • Travel adventures in Pictures – A blog of a person who travels around Russia and the world. Has many pictures with a little bit of text talking about the destinations. (Good for any level)
    • Psychology – A nice website with articles related to psychology.
    • Esquire – Russian version of Esquire
    • Afisha – Gorod – Articles about restaurants, cafes, fashion, art and life in Moscow
    • N + 1 – A science and technology website, quite difficult language.
    • Sib.fm – A local news website from the “Capital of Siberia”
    • BBC Russia – BBC Russia news site. It also has a nice blog section with some interesting topics.
    • Lifehacker – Russian version, with advice and guides about many topics.
  • YouTube channels
    • Radio Mayak – These are recordings of talk shows on this radio station. There are a wide range of topics from cars to music to science.
    • Nayuk 2.0 – A collection of short science experiments and documentaries.
    • Daily top 5 – A new video every day about the “top 5” of something.
    • Mosfilm – Russian movies with English subtitles
  • Write something in Russian. Some ideas:
    • A diary of what you did during the day (what you ate, what time you got up, what you wore, where you went, etc.)
      • Make a blog and upload your diary there. Get someone to check it for you.
    • A story using vocabulary you have to learn (try to write one part every week, no matter how short)
    • Translate an article you read, that you thought was interesting, into your native language.




2 thoughts on “A little bit of Russian every day (Resources and ideas)

  1. Pingback: Little Update | Irina Beketova

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