So you want to study a Slavic language....
... and you're thinking to yourself, where the heck should I begin?
Or maybe you've hit a plateau in your personal studies, and are sick of boring exercises, terribly written textbooks, ineffective teachers and overpriced programs. Or you've studied in school and college for a long time, but still can't seem to put a single sentence together.
Perhaps you've just become frustrated trying to find someone with the patience and compassion to help you with your weak points, teach you new words, and simply listen to you talk as you struggle through the language and make tons of mistakes.
Or maybe you are simply discouraged by the fact that you can't seem to take that final step into integrating yourself into the language. Despite all your hard work, native speakers still refer to you "that foreigner" and see you as an opportunity for free English lessons, even though you truly want to speak this language in normal, daily life.
Believe me when I say, that I've been in each of these stages at various points of my own language journey, and I can relate.
Learning a foreign language is tough. Learning a foreign language besides English is even more difficult, considering how prominent English has become in the world - there is an abundance of good materials, teachers, and global pressure to study English compared with other languages. Learning a Slavic language is crazy hard, for even Russia has yet to develop a means to proliferate their language to the level that the French have with Alliance Française, or the Spanish Instituto Cervantes, German Goethe Institut, and several others. And don't even get me started on finding resources for Ukrainian.
So what can you do? If you really want to to learn Russian or Ukrainian, what must me done?
First, let's talk about what is necessary for success in learning any language.
What DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN A LANGUAGE?
Motivation: I think we can all agree that this is the cornerstone to learning any skill. You need to want it. You need to want to spend the long hours, make the embarrassing mistakes, and learn the vast amount of knowledge encased in a foreign language. You also need to want to use your language - there needs to be a reason behind studying a foreign language that will drive you towards your goal. Maybe you want to live and work in a country that speaks this language, or communicate with someone who only speaks this language. Maybe you want to open up new possibilities for your business, for travel, or for personal development. Whatever the case, there needs to be a reason beyond your studies.
Time: Learning a language takes time. Although there's a lot of people on the internet that say there are shortcuts to learning a foreign language, don't believe the hype. If it were easy, there'd be a lot more true polyglots in the world. It doesn't take much effort to get to a point where you can sit in front of a camera and spout of a handful of sentences in a few languages and call yourself "multilingual". However, it takes a ton of time to get to the point where you fully comprehend a native speaker talking to you naturally at a normal speed, or to understand all the jokes in a native TV program, or to be able to be accepted into a culture as an able member of society. If you want to reach this level of communication, you're going to have to devote some time to your studies.
An Effective Method: However, all the time and desire in the world is still not enough to learn a foreign language. You need an effective method to learn, which actually will save you a lot of time and motivation in the long run. This involves finding a good teacher (or teachers), building an effective study regime, and putting yourself into an encouraging environment to help you through the trials and tribulations of learning a foreign language.
That's it. That's all you need to learn a foreign language. Motivation, time, and an effective method. Of course, these things don't come easily - it's taken me almost five years to construct this holy trinity of language study! But as a result, I've created my own Slavic Immersion experience, which I'm now offering to share with the rest of the world - at least those crazy and brave enough to take the challenge, of course!
the slavic immersion experience!
Make no mistake, I love speaking Russian. And as I learn more and more Ukrainian, I find myself spending as much time as possible dwelling deeper into these two languages as I adopt them into my personal psyche.
I'm serious about learning foreign languages, as you can probably already tell, and I've developed this program for those who pursue these languages with the same passion as I do.
So what is the program? In a nutshell, it is a complete, all-inclusive Russian or Ukrainian learning experience for those who ultimately want to cross the threshold from "amateur language enthusiast" to "fluency". My personal definition of fluency is a C1 level for speaking, listening, writing and reading skills, based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This level is referred to as "Effective Operational Efficiency", which in simple terms means that you can live, work, study and be a productive member of society wholly within your target language.
How does the program help you achieve such a lofty goal? Well, let's go back to the fundamentals of learning a language, and compare the necessities with what my program has to offer.
You bring the desire, and we will help you fuel it. As a rule, motivation needs to come from within. If you don't personally want to expend the vast amount of energy to pursue a foreign language, there's nothing anyone can do to get you to change your mind. But if you truly want to learn Russian or Ukrainian, we will provide you with the incentive to get there.
How? Simply put:
We give you every opportunity to use your target language, and to grow.
Our program consists of daily one-on-one classes, activities, parties, and real-life application of the language, 24/7. We are essentially your personal cheerleaders and language coaches. From the moment you step into our house, you will have no choice but to use your target language, all the time. But don't worry - regardless of how many mistakes you make or problems you come across, we will always support you and provide a patient audience for your language journey.
We won't laugh at you, or talk above your level of understanding - nor will we be lazy and start speaking to you in English "because it's easier." Screw that! We will force you to speak Russian or Ukrainian with us, or die trying! That's how we roll.
You will spend a maximum amount of time in your target language. Every moment you spend with us will be in your target language - not to mention the extra curricular activities which we'll help set up for you with native speakers. I guarantee that even a formal study abroad program will not provide you with this much opportunity to practice your language skills. This is on top of your lessons and personal study time. The only way to spend more time in your target language would be if you found a way to squeeze more hours in a day!
The best teaching methods available will be used to aid you. Like I said - it's a pain in the butt to find proper resources and teachers for Russian/Ukrainian. Fortunately, it's easy enough to apply the methods that effective English teachers use to these languages! We use a communicative method, where you will spend a majority of the time speaking the language, while we provide corrections, explanations, and new grammar points or vocabulary for you to use. Not to mention I will teach you all the tricks of the trade that I picked up in my own studies in order to facilitate your language acquisition.
Sounds awesome, so... what are the details?
Alright, so you're probably wondering - this all sounds good, but I want to know the specifics. How does this work? What exactly will I be doing? What does it cost, and what's included with the price?
Here is everything included in our program:
1) Lessons - Every weekday you will receive two hours of formal lessons a day, divided into two parts with a break in between. These are conducted by Natasha (the native speaker), with occasional help from me to explain some grammar rules or help with beginner students.
2) Room and board - Rent, utilities, internet and two meals a day (plus food to make yourself lunch) are included in the price. Although sometimes you'll be helping in the kitchen if Natasha decides to give you a language lesson on cooking. Consider this a bonus!
3) Activities - Want to learn how to create handmade arts and crafts? Cook traditional Ukrainian and Russian food? Play chess with old men in the park? Volunteer with children? Make vodka? Yeah, we can do all of this stuff - in your target language. And we'll show you how to do this stuff too!
4) Excursions - Every weekend we try to go somewhere or see something new, and will take you along for the ride. Visiting a village, hiking in Crimea or the Carpathians, or checking out other cities (or countries!) that speak your target language.
5) Formal Testing Preparation - If you're interested, we'll train you up to pass official, internationally recognized exams (such as the Russian ТРКИ) to prove to future employers and universities that you are in fact fully capable of operating in your target language.
6) Inclusion into our vast network of local support. - Most importantly, we'll get you settled into the culture, connected with native speakers, and try our best to get you integrated with society. Our ultimate aim is to get you to the point where you can operate independently in your target language - that means finding a job, friends, and groups of people that you can truly connect with.
The short list of what's NOT included:
1) Transportation - you need to get yourself here and back. We can help with giving advice on how to do so on the cheap, or ideas on how to raise money, but ultimately this is on your tab. This also includes getting around in the city (we just walk), or joining us on excursions to our cities - don't sweat it too much though, since train tickets are pretty darn cheap here. (A ticket across the country costs about $20, one way)
2) Incidentals - This means toiletries and food/drinks beyond what we give you in your daily meals. Believe me when I say that we eat (and drink) VERY WELL here in House Rogue, but if you insist on going to a restaurant then you'll pay for it yourself. (Okay, fine, I'll invite you to a bar or cafe sometimes and buy you a round. I'm not a miser.)
3) Insurance - This is Ukraine! Life is a risk. If you want insurance, you'll have to buy it yourself, unfortunately. If you get sick, we'll make sure to feed you lots of tea and garlic - works every time!
cut to the chase! how much does it cost?
A bajillion dollars.
Hah! Kidding! That's only the VALUE of what you'll be getting from our program! Actual prices are below:
For one person: $600 a month
For two (sharing one room): $1000
Not bad, considering far less inclusive, less "immersive", and generally less interesting language programs can cost up to $2500-$4000 a month! This time, I'm not kidding.
Damn, that's a lot...
I know. $4000 a month is robbery!
Oh, you mean our prices?!
Look, consider what you're getting - the $600 pays for essentially everything necessary to live a very comfortable, productive life here in Ukraine. That covers your own room, delicious food, and salary for a full-time, personal native language teacher. Back stateside, I paid a grand in rent just for a crappy, barren apartment half an hour away from my work. It's a good deal, trust me.
Still can't cover the price? There's a couple options.
1) We can set you up with a job here to help supplement your income a bit. The options range from utilizing your native language (English teacher, anyone?) which pays pretty well, or something in your target language (working in a restaurant/shop) which pays absolutely crap, but gives you more practice. In fact, we even developed a Work and Study program for those interested in going the teaching route. Check it out!
2) Do you have something else to offer us? A skill you can teach? A timeshare in the Bahamas? We're open to bargaining, within reason.
But really, $600 is a fraction of the cost of similar programs, which in turn offer a fraction of the experience we're providing.
Fine, fine. But I still want to learn more!
Of course, of course. We've barely scraped the surface!
Take a look at that sidebar on the right. There you'll find more specific answers about where you'll be living, what you'll be doing, who we are and what this is all about.
And if you still have questions, take a look at this handy-dandy FAQ we've created, which covers every possible question you may have about the program. Of course, once you decide to take the plunge, your first step will be to...
So you can simply fill out this form located here, and we'll drop you a line and have a Skype conversation to see if we'd be a good fit for each other. I'll even dress up for the interview (please note, you're not required to dress up. Also - dressing up for me means "wear pants.")
That being said, we look forward to meeting you and taking you under our wing(s)!
Всего хорошего и до скорої зустрічі!
- R & L
Work and Study Program!
Broke, but still want to study? Supplement your income with work as an English teacher while building on your language skills!
Learn about our Work and Study program here!
the ultimate faq for immersion candidates now available!
Want to know what to expect from our immersion program in clear detail? Check out this handy FAQ, filled with tantalizing insight into your future adventures in Eastern Europe!
Lviv - city of legend
Everything you need to know about our lovely city is located here, in this useful breakdown of what to expect from the cultural heartland of Ukraine.
get in touch
Feel free to contact us using this convenient questionnaire, in order to ask questions or sign up for our sweet program!