My Russian challenge
In three days I am leaving for Europe. One day in Berlin, two days in Riga, on business, and then roughly two weeks in Russia as the reward for my Russian learning.
I will spend one week in St. Petersburg, and then one week in Moscow. My only goal is to experience Russia first hand, and to raise the level of my Russian. I am hoping that being surrounded by Russian for two weeks will enable me to make a major breakthrough.
I believe that being in a Russian environment for two weeks will take my Russian to a new level. I will acquire a new relationship to the language. It will cease to be something that I study from a distance. For two weeks Russian will be real and present.
I am a great believer in going to the country where the language is spoken, but not when you start or are still stumbling in the language. Rather I believe the greatest benefit can be gained by visiting the country when you already have acquired some familiarity with the language on your own. This enables you to function in the language and you come away from this experience much more confident in your abilities. That has been my experience with other languages. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes with Russian.