‘To be able to manage, it’s useful to speak Russian’

25 February 2021
door Regina Coeli

Paul van Deuren took a Russian course at Regina Coeli about a year and a half ago. Because of COVID-19, he spent less time in Russia than he would have liked. But, now that the Russian lockdown is over, he’s working at the McDermott office in Moscow again. We reflect with him on learning the Russian language.

How does a Dutchman end up in Moscow?

‘I have been involved in various projects in Russia for McDermott since the beginning of 2001. These were quite long-term projects. Later on, I made the switch to operations, and now I’m responsible for the EMEA region.’

You came to Regina Coeli for Russian training in 2019. How did you manage in Russia before then?

‘Knowledge of English among Russians is minimal, so to be able to manage, it’s useful to speak Russian. In principle, we do everything with interpreters here in the organisation. In the past, I took some courses in Russian. When I started in my operational role here, I wanted to learn the language better so I could do more socially in Moscow, like playing sports. For that reason, I went to Regina Coeli. But due to COVID-19, not much has come of my plans here yet.’

How hard is it to learn Russian?

‘The script isn’t that difficult; I had it down in two hours. But writing it is. I don’t think its pronunciation is especially difficult for the Dutch. Russian is a reasonably phonetic language, apart from a few rules that you have to know. The cases can be tricky. They’re a lot more complicated than those of German.’

How did you like the training at Regina Coeli?

‘It was the best training I’ve ever had. It’s nice that everything is included during the training so that you don’t have to worry about anything else the whole time. The language trainers were very good. My level had been underestimated before the training, but that was no problem at all. The language trainers adjusted the programme accordingly.

And how is your Russian now?

‘Because of COVID-19, I have been to Russia less than I wanted. My level isn’t yet good enough to fully lean on it in business, but I can manage well in everyday life.’

Are you curious about a Russian course? Read all about it on the course page.

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