« Corona, Corona, Corona… » is the new life motto the World is going through, Social distancing and isolation are the new normal, and distance working shape our everyday life. Most people had to give up their hobbies and usual occupations in order not to increase the infections. However, learning a language is still possible thanks to distance learning.

 With the Corona crisis breaking out in Europe, I was positively surprised by the few consequences in Russia, until the sudden news of the outbreak in Moscow. While Petersburg’s constant energy kept on flowing through the city as if it were in another world, Moscow has been shut down. Last week, it has been put under quarantine, just as our Lidenz & Denz centre there. As a preventive measure, our school in Petersburg went through the same processes.

By the middle of March, I was impressed by the differences of behavior between European countries and Russia: indeed, as the European countries started to close all institutions that could possibly reunite more than ten people at once, the Russian antipode let the flow of its infinite energy continue in its biggest cities, as Petersburg and Moscow. However, the latter soon started to undergo the same measures, but I could still freely explore the wonders Petersburg offers. However, as time went on, our school closed as a preventive measure and so did museums, coffee shops, bars, restaurants…We would, therefore, spend the rest of our days at home, taking online classes. My first reaction was rather negative, as I had trouble imagining I could progress as fast as did before with virtual classes. 

 To my surprise, the first class went very well. Indeed, the program we use, called Zoom, worked perfectly, and we didn’t waste time because due to technical issues. Being a very simple programme, everyone figured out the technical features right away: every morning, our teacher sends us a link and all we need to do is click on it, and we find ourselves in the class. The screen shows the person who speaks at a particular moment, while the rest of the participants are shown in smaller squares. This system really incites the participants to focus on the main speaker, i.e. the teacher.  

Being in a group class was another worry of mine within the “online classes” announcement. However, I still enjoyed the benefits of interacting with my classmates, trying to understand their mistakes and vice-versa. 

 We still learn Russian and get every day a little bit closer to figuring out this incredible grammar. Not only do we do this for us and our thirst for knowledge, but most importantly we don’t contribute to the further spreading of the virus by staying at home. Maybe we will avoid the crisis our families and friends in Europe are going through, and maybe the Russian country, which fascinates us to the point that we decided to learn its language, can avoid such disasters. Staying at home has become our most important weapon, and these new rules must be respected. But we should never give up on learning. 

This blog post is written by Kim Schierke.

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