Russian Post-beginners Conversation


Have you recently started learning Russian and want to continue the journey? Or perhaps you learnt Russian some time ago and want to refresh your skills?

This interactive post-beginners conversation course focuses on developing your speaking and listening skills in everyday situations. It is designed to reinforce novice-level speaking proficiency and develop conversational skills to a post-beginner level, necessary for deepening communication in Russian and understanding Russian culture and customs.

Target audience:
This course is for those with basic knowledge of Russia and the Russian language who would like to develop post-beginners-level conversational language skills and:

  • are interested in Russia and the language and culture
  • have a Russian-speaking partner or adopted children from Russia
  • are planning to visit Russia or its neighbouring states where Russian is spoken
  • are interested in international science, math, history, national security, foreign service, film and cultural studies, and the arts
  • would like to gain further knowledge of the Russian culture and way of life and about New Zealand–Russia connections.

Learning objectives:
By the end of the course, you will have:

  • enhanced your conversational and reading skills in Russian
  • gained a greater understanding of Russian grammar necessary for conversation
  • learnt more vocabulary and the linguistic and cultural competence to handle situations such as:
    • meeting people, talking about hobbies, professions, health, visiting people or inviting someone to their home
    • making enquiries, requesting things, visiting places (shops, restaurants, airports, stations)
    • talking about future plans and holidays.

Course outline:

Session 1: Let me tell you about myself / Why do I study Russian? Russian tongue twisters; Reading parallel texts on the topic. Mysterious Russian soul (video and discussion)
Session 2: Proverbs and sayings. Russian folklore (fairy tales). Reading parallel texts on the topic. Video and discussion on the topic.
Session 3: Shopping and restaurants. My favourite restaurant/shop in Wellington. Reading parallel texts on the topic. Russian hospitality (video and discussion)
Session 4: Weather, nature and travelling. Counties and nationalities. Reading parallel texts on the topic. Urban versus rural relations: city life and the Russian province and the Russian village (video and discussion)
Session 5: At the Doctor’s. Parts of the Body. Reading parallel texts on the topic. Video and discussion on the topic.
Session 6: What Russians eat and drink. Accepting or declining hospitality. My favourite Russian dish/recipe. Russian cuisine and traditional dishes (video and discussion)
Session 7: Talk about future plans; patterns and rhythm of life in the course of a year; the months of the year; school and university holidays; the business year
Session 8: Summary and discussion; presentation of certificates of achievement

There is a short break half-way through each session, and coffee/tea is provided.

Class limit:
This course is limited to a maximum of 18 participants, so please enrol early.

Olga Suvorova has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Moscow State University. She has extensive experience in working with international leaders in both the private and public sectors in New Zealand and Russia on cultural intelligence questions. Olga is married to a New Zealander and works in both New Zealand and Moscow.

‘Olga is lovely and friendly and includes various visits which add greatly to the quality of the course. She coped well with teaching students of vastly different abilities’ – 2015.

‘The course was a good balance of formal language instruction, culture and history and conversational language for a group with widely varying aptitudes and prior experience’ – 2015.

Relevant links:
An Introduction to Russian Language and Culture
Russian Intermediate Conversation
School of Languages and Cultures

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.