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Is it possible to survive in Russia without knowing the Russian language: stories of tourists and immigrants

With an extremely limited number of English-speaking Russians, life in Russia without knowledge of the Russian language can be a problem. However, there are some expats who do not care about learning the language.

Фото: Depositphotos

“I was returning home from work, and suddenly a metro worker stopped me. He asked for my travel card and passport. His face was serious, even insane. What's happening? What have I done? I asked people for help, but no one could translate from English. I was so scared, ”Lee Kyungwoo recalls.

After long attempts to explain herself, 33-year-old Li Kyung, who came to Russia from the Philippines to work as a nanny, was allowed to move on. However, she is not the only one who has faced the problem of “translation difficulties” in Russia.

First days

Those in the know recommend finding a Russian intermediary, at least at the stage of moving to Russia.

Renting a decent apartment, sorting documents, opening a bank account are areas where knowledge of the Russian language is crucial. Having a Russian assistant will help you a lot.

Most of the problems are related to bureaucracy, because there is no guarantee that staff will speak English or any other language.

Фото: Depositphotos

“I had the most unpleasant situation when I was trying to get a temporary residence. It turned out there was a problem with my registration. My Russian is not enough to understand this, so I kindly ask the woman if she can explain this to my wife (she is Russian). She realized it was my wife on the phone, but refused to talk to her, ”says Fernando Alves, a 40-year-old social media manager from Portugal.

However, if you take care of the basics, the beginner becomes much more autonomous, even if he does not speak Russian.

“Once you tune in to things like [taxi app] Yandex Taxi, a decent SIM card, a bank account and something like a social circle, it’s not difficult to live here,” said 23-year-old Ben Fusi from Essex, England. who works as a teacher in Moscow.

Some manage to lead such a lifestyle for years.

“I have been living in Moscow for almost 7 years. Russians always ask: "How will you teach a child who does not speak English if you do not speak Russian ?!" or “You need to learn the language if you live here! How do you survive ?! " But as soon as they hear how long I have been here, they usually shut up, ”said Bree Marie Antonova, 30, who moved to Russia from California.

It turns out that you can survive in Russia, even if you do not speak Russian. But what about a comfortable life?

To make friends

Most of the people interviewed for this article complain that it is difficult for them to establish social connections when they can hardly make a contribution or understand the conversations that other people have in their presence.

Фото: Depositphotos

“It's hard to make friends. I have lived in other countries where I spontaneously made friends and found a common language, such as English, French, German or something similar, but here most people (also young people) speak only Russian, ”de Klin said.

Even for those who are trying to learn Russian, it is difficult to communicate at a more advanced level.

For some people, this becomes a real problem.

“I was so active in social life at home, but here in Moscow I don't have it. I often get bored in my free time. I really want to go to parties, but I'm afraid I won't be able to speak Russian when I order drinks at the bar. How do you introduce yourself? ”Lee Ken said.

Russian rumble

Some say that Russians become friendlier, more open and willing to help if they see you as a foreigner who is trying to speak Russian, even if your efforts are unsuccessful. To earn the sympathy of the Russians, you need to show them what you are trying.

“Once I was at a train station in Moscow and had no idea what to do. I knew where I was going, and that's all. One young man who knew a little English helped me buy a ticket, and then when I could not find the train, the officer directed me in the right direction. It was midnight and I am so grateful for the help they gave me, ”said Christy Cad from Ohio.

Cad was lucky to find the people who helped her.

“Russians don't like it when you don't even try [to speak Russian]. When you try, they understand more, so they help you more often. " пишет Facebook user Deira Baez de Ushakov.

And if Russian is too difficult for you, just imitate others. “Once you've mastered the Russian drone, you can get away with 70 percent of the time,” said Melanie Trombetta, 25, a graduate student in France.

“My hmm-hmm was the most effective against the ferocious grandmothers in the dorm.

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