Blog - English practice in Moscow

Added on Tuesday, 2012-06-26 20:55 CEST in category Moscow
As in most countries, students in Russia learn English in school. But with exposure being minimal, and teachers' English often being shabby as well because of that, students' already-not-so-great English often deteriorates quickly over time.

Most people seem to be perfectly fine with that, since only about 5% of the population indicates they can speak English. But a small group is not, and they eagerly make use of the services of a plethora of organizations that offer "something" in English.

Now this "something" can be pretty much anything. Of course there are language courses being offered, but there are also gaming clubs in English, book clubs in English and cinema evenings in English. And it's the latter ones I'm interested in :) Although I speak Russian rather well, I don't get a lot of nuances and am missing a lot of cultural background. Also, my English is still a lot better than my Russian is, and having everyone speak a language that's not their native one levels the playing field a bit.

English Club at Yandex

The first club I regularly visit is the English Club at Yandex. While most of my colleagues speak decent English, not all do, and pretty much always there's room for improvement. That's why once or twice a week we meet up and talk about a specific subject, e.g. legalization of prostitution and gay marriage in Russia, unlearning, culture clash, etc. Things can get heated sometimes, but in general it's very "gezellig" (for lack of a proper non-Dutch word :P)

Mafia Club

The other club is the Mafia club (in Russian only). Mafia is a psychological party game played by 8-10 people. Sometimes we don't reach that number though, so then we simply chat (in English), or play some board game.

Mafia in English is co-organized by the Bigwig language center, which also organizes other activities. Last weekend, e.g., they organized a Sherlock Holmes quest (also Russian only). Several teams had to figure out where the stolen painting had been hidden by interviewing all of the witnesses, cross-checking their stories, and in the meantime solving riddles and puzzles. One even involved letter frequency analysis. Great fun! Also, our team managed to win the quest :)

All in all there're plenty of possibilities here to improve your English besides following courses, and for those who already speak English well enough, they're great opportunities to make some new friends :)