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Testimonials

"I look forward to my weekly sessions!"

I love working with my Cloudberry teacher! She is well-skilled as a teacher, has a warm and encouraging manner, and clearly loves her work. My Russian is relatively advanced, so our lessons are conducted fully in Russian. Our general format for the sessions is that my teacher assigns a movie to watch beforehand (which gives me listening practice at home), and then the film gives us a point of focus for the meetings. I get lots of conversation practice each time, targeted grammar work when needed, and great lessons in Soviet and Russian culture. For example, my teacher often points out quotations from the movies that have entered the Russian vernacular, and we’ve had some wonderful discussions about the differences between Russian and American societies. We also spend a lot of time working on word choice and sentence structure, so that I am using constructions that sound Russian rather than American. Ksenia works hard to make the lessons as interesting and useful to me as possible. Early on, she asked whether I would prefer my homework to be movies or texts (I opted for movies because my listening needs more work than my reading), and the choice of movie is always tailored to my interest and level while simultaneously offering greater exposure to Russian culture. My progress under Ksenia’s guidance has been remarkable. I’ve definitely made greater strides in our weekly 1.5 hour sessions than I would have in a 3hr/week traditional classroom setting. My initial reason for working with Ksenia was to fill a quarter when my university wasn’t offering a language course at my level, in the hopes of not losing ground. As it turns out, my sessions with my Cloudberry teacher are significantly more enjoyable and effective than traditional classes. She’s fantastic!

Jessica Hinds-Bond, PhD student at Northwestern University

 

Studies post-Soviet and contemporary Russian theatre

"We love singing the Gray and White Goose song in Russian!"

Elio: My favorite word is 'zelyonyi' (зелёный). I like to play games and find "lampa" and "flag" in our classroom!

Nina: My favorite Russian word is 'sabaka' (собака). I like playing the games with the Russian nesting dolls. And my brother and I love singing in Russian, especially Vilka Loshka (Fork and Spoon) and the Gray and White Goose songs!

Nina (10 y.o.) and Elio (4 y.o.)

"Smart and a joy to work with"

My teacher helped me prepare for a trip to Ukraine to visit my fiancee. Although we had only three sessions, she helped me make the most of them and prepare for conversations and situations that might arise. She was patient as I struggled and gave me a big boost in confidence. I hope to work with her more in the future.

David, Advertising Executive

"Very good and instantly likable "

I had an excellent instructor. I first began to dabble in the Russian language over 10 years ago. While working with my Cloudberry teacher, I learned more Russian than all the preceding years combined. She plans lessons well. Perfect for the self-motivated linguist, she can work at an accelerated rate if you are up for it. Aside from her skill, she is simply an exceptional person; I'm very happy to know her.

Neil Edwards, Opera Singer

"Fun and engaging! "

I am very pleased with how our whole family has been involved in learning Russian. I am pleasantly surprised when my kids remember Russian words that I didn't even realize they had learned. They especially like learning through games and songs.

Nicole Bussard, Business Strategist

"Great for Bilingual Kids!! "

Families raising bilingual children are well aware of the challenges involved. Mothers want to be able to speak with their children in their native language and share their cultural heritage with them. But it can be hard to motivate children living in an English-speaking environment. As a result, even if they understand the language, they respond in English and often have no desire to read or write in the other language. They prefer to play baseball or basketball with their friends. That's exactly how my three sons acted. Our Russian teacher brought motivation and structure – two things that are essential for bilingual education. She built lessons around my sons' interests and weaknesses. She also brought a lot of cultural knowledge about modern Russia and took an exciting approach to teaching grammar. I'm very happy with the results and highly recommend this student-centered and highly-customized approach.

Irene Baral, MD