Learning the unlearnable


I’ve now been living in Kiev for two weeks, having relocated from Sevastopol. It’s a bustling metropolis, with something always going on and lots of friendly people to talk to at every turn.

Or is there?

As anyone who’s been abroad knows, lots of people talk funny, making strange sounds and wave their hands around in ways unlike people back home. If they do speak English, they speak it in a strange way you’re not used to and also see the world in a different way. In a situation like this, there are two choices. First of all, you can let the friendly minority of people keep talking to you in English and keep you own views of the world. Or, you can immerse yourself in the local language and culture and speak to the friendly majority, opening a whole new world of possibilities.

My approach to language learning has always been based on 100% immersion (including no English on weekend if I can help it). Going out and talking to anyone and everyone, making new friends and learning about new ways of like. Because of this, I’ve been very successful with language learning.

It’s this idea of immersion that I now want to implement with others who are interested in learning but find it difficult to do so.

Why am I doing this? I’ve never met anyone who is as determined and passionate about language learning as me and I want to prove that my approach is transferable to others.

How can you do this? If you are a foreigner living in Kiev and want to learn Russian in a socialable and interactive way, not by sitting in a classroom then get in touch and I’ll show you it’s possible!


I have a clear aim in life - to learn languages and to help others learn as well. I want to share my knowledge and experiences in the hope that others can turn a daunting process of language learning into an enjoyable adventure. I want this blog to be a tool that people can use together for the benefit of learning languages to share their own common experiences. No one is perfect, especially me! For this reason I appreciate any and all comments and criticism to help improve this site (of course, I won't shy away from positive ideas as well). Feel free to write in any language - if I can't speak it, I'll make an effort to reply anyway!

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Posted in Language experiences, Teaching, Ukraine living
3 comments on “Learning the unlearnable
  1. Borys says:

    Hi, James! I agree with you, that for studding any foreign language you should try to speak with people and don’t afraid that somebody misunderstood you or you will look ridiculous. As seamen, when I have time in port to go out from ship, I always try to have conversation with different people. That is why, I relax from my thoughts about missing home and hardness of seamen life and definitely have good chance to develop my English speaking skills.
    Thank you for your articles and hints about studding English! I am looking forward for your next topic.


    • James says:

      I’m glad you’ve found my ideas useful! You’re completely right that the most imporant thing to do with language learning is just speak to people, and if you’re only somewhere for a short period of time for work then you’ll never see them again. Most of the time, other people are more afraid of you then you are of them!


  2. […] I’ve written before recently I’ve been working hard on speaking Ukrainian now that I’ve relocated to Kiev. During […]


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