Russian teacher, Ekatarina Kuhns, or “Katya,” is from Southwest Siberia, Russia. She’s a language teacher at Bridge, but she also knows what it’s like to be a language student, since she also speaks English and Korean, and is currently in the process of learning Spanish! Read more about Katya and find out her expert tips for students of any level.
Tell us about yourself, Katya. What’s your background?
I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies with concentration on South Korea. I had a chance to study two semesters abroad in Seoul, where I first started tutoring Russian to my fellow Korean students. After that, I went back to Russia and started a Russian discussion club for exchange students at my university. In addition, I have volunteered in Thailand and Italy, and worked at Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.
What made you decide to teach Russian?
Teaching Russian has always been something I would do for free just because I enjoy doing it. Since 2013, I have been tutoring foreign students with different language backgrounds. In the United States, I decided to pursue it as my career. It is an interesting challenge and I get excitement from it.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is to see when students get the “aha” moments. Russian is not the easiest language to learn, and I admire their hard work.
What are your hobbies outside class?
Two of my favorite hobbies are travelling abroad and learning new languages. Whenever I go, I try to pick up some phrases in a local language and use them on the spot. Also, I like being out in the wilderness. I love hiking, camping, cycling and many other outdoor activities.
What tips do you have for beginner students?
Get as much as possible out of your classes. Ask questions, be curious, do the homework. Language learning is an active process. Not a single teacher on Earth will get the knowledge into your head unless you do it yourself.
What is the biggest obstacle for most people to learning a new language, and how can they overcome that?
I think most people focus on how much they still need to learn and it makes them feel overwhelmed. Instead, focus on how much you already know and actively use it in communications.
What can students do outside of class to improve their foreign language skills?
Get exposed to your new language. Listen to various podcasts and music, watch movies and YouTube videos, download language learning apps and dictionaries, chat with native speakers online or find native speakers in your city. Even changing your phone language from English to your target language will help a lot. Click for more ideas on learning outside of class.
You can study just about any language with Bridge in downtown Denver. Interested in learning more? Read an interview with one of our language students!