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Mail Bag Contest Winner

 Добрый день!

Welcome to the new section of our blog, The Mail Bag.  This is where we’ll share stories from our listeners in the endeavors with Russian.   We hope stories from fellow students can help motivate and inspire you to begin learning Russian or give you that extra needed push and renewed sense of strength when you think it’s impossible to get become more proficient!

This week we’d like to introduce you to Gill Brown, from .  Gill had this to say about her studies:

Gill, avid listener of RussianPod101!“I started learning Russian for fun in January 2008 when I purchased my first IPOD!  A friend had downloaded a very easy Russian course which came as a podcast which was basically 3 minutes a week.  I thought it would be fun to try out these podcasts and found them a bit of a novelty with a new IPOD.  I generally have an interest in language learning and try to learn some foreign words when I travel to a new country,  but only very basics.  I found that I was very quickly learning the basics of Russian and completed this 10-week course easily, leaving me wanting to learn more.  So much so that when it finished, I really missed it!

A few months after I started learning Russian, I was on holiday whereby the language was written in Cyrillic.  I surprised myself by being able to read street signs!  Although Russian was not the language, the initial course and my speedily-growing enthusiasm and interest in Russian certainly helped me out!

I continued with my quest to learn Russian and was given extra motivation by the fact that I would be visiting Russia in the middle of 2009.  Library books were now my main source of information as well as listening to Russian and Russian songs to try and pick up words as well as various other podcasts.

In around July 2008, I discovered by accident when I was searching within ITunes for more Russian courses.  I download the first course and started to listen – I was immediately addicted.  The best feature of RussianPod101 is the fact that it is mainly audio.  I am a very busy person and find I have little time to sit down and study, whereas I listen the weekly podcasts “on the go”.

The feature of RussianPod101 which helps me the most is the Review Track.  I usually play this track on repeat mode because the repetition of words helps me to memorize the best.  When I am travelling to work on public transport or even when I am in the kitchen, I can continue to learn.  The repetition of the words is fantastic and to have the vocabulary singled out into one track means that I can then go back to the conversation track and fully understand it.  I also find the forum immensely helpful and regular post questions and messages there.

I really enjoy the two presenters, Anna and Erik.  They are perfect!  They are very clear in their speech and make the lessons so much fun. Their personal experiences are brought into the weekly lessons along with their cultural insights.  I thoroughly enjoy the humour.  My favourite was Erik singing a couple of weeks ago.  Their voices are so distinctive, I find that when I am trying to remember words away from the podcasts, I remember the words in either Anna or Erik’s voices which really helps me to get the pronunciation right!  The fact that Anna from Uzbekistan  speaks another language so well – English – and that motivates me to learn a foreign language as well as her.
The supplement to these courses, Survival Phrases is also fantastic.  I wish it would start up again.  I am now so confident that, when I visit Russia, I will be able to communicate very easily with so many travel language basics.

My only criticism – I wish the lessons were more often.  A week is a long time to wait for episode of my favorite podcast!”

This is an ongoing project, so please share your stories!  You may send these to with the subject line: “Mail Bag Story”.  Our favorite stories will win one month of free premium service and be posted here to be shared with others!

Until next time, keep studying!