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UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

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Student Testimonials

Hear from some of our students about their experience of learning a language at SSEES!

Alice - Finnish Language Course 

I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.“I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.I began learning Finnish at SSEES in 2019 after marrying my Finnish husband. I'm not naturally great at languages, but I immediately felt confident and relaxed in the informal atmosphere. We began by exchanging very basic Finnish greetings and questions, and finding out why everyone was studying Finnish - for most people it was because of Finnish family or partner, though for a few others it was for something they were studying. Kristina is an incredibly calm, compassionate teacher who immediately recognises what we need, or what we need to work on. We work from a book and the course is not examined, which is great for avoiding stress. When Covid hit, we switched to learning on Teams and we started to work really well together online. I've now had to stop my lessons because of moving abroad and needing to focus on another language, but I feel really encouraged and I rather miss everybody. Finnish is an extremely difficult language, but you'll be taken through slowly, gently and with really nice support.

 

Costas - Slovak Language Course

I have been studying the Slovak language at UCL now for three semesters. I initially was quite apprehensive about taking the course as I had heard that the Slovak language is grammatically very difficult and I thought I would struggle, but that has not been the case. So far the course has been an absolute delight and each lesson has become something to look forward to every week. Vlasta Rebrosova, our tutor, does an amazing job at breaking down the grammar so that it is easily understood and memorable. I would not have learnt so much within such a short time frame had it not been for her exemplary in-depth knowledge, patience, teaching style and passion for teaching. I thoroughly recommend the course for anyone looking to learn this wonderful Slavonic language.

 

Matt - Hungarian Language Course

I’ve been studying Hungarian with UCL for 3 years and have really enjoyed it. The teachers are all very friendly and clearly have a passion for helping people learn Hungarian. It isn’t an easy language but having Rita cheerily keep me moving forward and always offering extra help has been wonderful.

 

Cindy - Serbian Language Course

I've been trying to teach myself Serbian for the past decade. My partner is Serbian and as language is such a strong part of identity and culture, I really wanted to learn and share in that aspect. And yet, until starting the classes at SSEES, I'd made barely any progress.

The last three years at SSEES have seen me improve my Serbian dramatically, despite the pandemic, being pregnant, having a baby and being pregnant with my second during that time. Every teacher we had has been brilliant in their own way.

In particular, Ana (for the upper intermediate and further levels) is a passionate, creative, and extremely knowledgeable teacher. The teaching materials are the right mix of information, grammar, practice, and challenge. She knows how to keep the classes interesting and varied, how to keep her students involved and talking - picking each of us up at the level we're at. She uses lots of background information on language and culture; and keeps things playful by adding the occasional game or competition to the lesson. I very much look forward to next term!

 

Rachel - Romanian Language Course 

I need to speak Romanian to speak to in-laws. It's hard to find classes for Romanian but I am so glad that I found this one. I have learned such a lot from the tutors who really go the extra mile to get everyone in the class involved and engaged. They make a huge effort to make the classes interesting and accessible.  The move to online classes was done really well. I really recommend learning Romanian here. 

 

Lisa - Albanian Language Course 

I have been studying Albanian with UCL since October 2019, initially with Mirela at beginner's level and currently with Mirkena at lower intermediate level. Both are fantastic teachers and I have enjoyed the course immensely so far. The lessons are always interactive and engaging, with a mixture of speaking, listening, reading and writing, as well as learning about the culture and dialects of Albania. I would highly recommend studying languages with UCL. 

 

Alan - Polish Language Course 

I have been studying Polish for 3 years with SSEES and I’m now at the advanced level. I was really happy to discover I could study here because it wasn’t possible beyond the beginner level in my locality - SSEES is really the only option for me. The lessons have been great, covering all the essential grammar but also giving me a chance to speak, listen, read and write. The lessons have been led by excellent and dedicated course tutors. I also really appreciate being able to study alongside a group of very keen students; again this is hard to find anywhere else. When the courses first moved online due to the pandemic, I was worried, but actually they have worked out really well. Our tutor adapted the lessons to the new environment and I am still making lots of progress and getting to work on all the different skills. All in all, I am very glad to have discovered the SSEES courses. 

 

Katie - Ukrainian Language Course 

I have been studying Ukrainian as part of the SSEES language short courses for the past year and a half. Our wonderful teacher, Olga, ensures the classes are always interesting, challenging and relevant, and there is a strong focus on verbal communication. Course materials are supplemented with topical news articles, short videos and songs, and texts about Ukrainian literature, history and culture. Olga creatively adapted the classes to the current online format, encouraging us to create and share presentations to practise our written and speaking skills. I would highly recommend the course to anyone thinking of studying Ukrainian! 

 

Agi - Albanian Language Course   

Përshëndetje! The Albanian course with Mirela exceeded my expectations significantly. It has been a truly invaluable learning experience for me. I gained a lot of cultural knowledge and practical vocabulary that have been beneficial to me since I have started. I have learnt so much from Mirela’s guidance throughout each lesson of the course. I am thankful for the teacher’s patience, in particular, whilst explaining the challenging Albanian grammar. Personally, I have been enjoying the online learning which made the whole learning experience being even possible. The lessons each week are really well organised and filled with different activities – listening, speaking, spelling, reading and even some games like Bingo or snakes and ladders – all in Albanian! Mësimi më pëlqen shumë sepse unë mund të flas shqip. Unë edi, nganjëhërë, bëj ndonjë gabim kur flas shqip por mësuesja ime shpjegon me hollësi çdo gjë që ne nuk e kuptojmë edhe klasa duket shumë interesante. I am looking forward to, hopefully, stay online with UCL for another course next year! Faleminderit shumë. Gjithë të mirat! 

 

Tom  - Polish Language Course 

Cześć! While I've only been studying Polish with Sandra for six months, I feel that my progress over this period has been phenomenal. Sandra is by far and away the best language teacher I've ever learnt with - every lesson is well structured, consolidates previous material, while pushing you to progress further. Often language acquisition can plateau; Sandra tailors class material to ensure you are constantly developing new skills and a deeper cultural awareness, leading to a sense of constant improvement that is immensely rewarding. I could not recommend these classes more highly - dzięki za wszystko! 

 

Sara - Albanian Language Course 

 I am really enjoying the lessons so far - they are a great blend of practical elements (such as grammar and vocabulary) and wider information about the culture to help us understand the broader context. 

 

Mirela is patient and positive with students and always strives to get the best from us. She includes interactive elements in the lessons to keep us engaged and is always willing to answer our random questions and to tailor the lessons to the things we find most useful - thanks Mirela! 

 

Kasia - Russian Language Course 

The Russian Upper Intermediate class with Tatiana Garipova took on a fresh approach to learning a new language. Tatiana uses a combination of her own material with images, text, audio and break out groups while dipping in a out of the workbook. Informal group discussions allow for real application of the language while questions and grammar are welcomed and a main feature of the course.   

 

Dylan - Latvian Language Course 

I completed the beginner's Latvian course this year taught by Chris and, overall, thought it was excellent. Chris provided a great number of resources and taught the fundamentals of the grammar at a good pace, making sure that all the students were involved. He set a good level of homework and, in the later terms, was happy to tailor the course to the interests of those involved. I learned a lot and will be signing up to the intermediate course this coming year. 

 

Steve - Slovene Language Course

I have been learning Slovene under the excellent guidance of Romana Sustar (and previously, Maja Rančigaj) from intermediate to the current advanced plus level. I’m grateful to SSEES for offering me this exceptional experience. Learning Slovene has enabled me to open a wide window onto Slovenian life, society, politics and culture, something I could only glimpse with a superficial comprehension beforehand. On this basis I have been able to pursue academic interests, establish professional relationships and form durable friendships. SSEES provides an essential connection to less widely-known languages and as such contributes enormously to goodwill and understanding between nations.  I want to take Slovene as far as I can and I hope that SSEES will continue to support me as I pursue my learning.

 

Helen - Bulgarian Language Course 

I moved to SSES as my previous institute did not offer classes beyond a basic level in Bulgarian - I now feel so much more confident and relaxed in speaking the language.  

The course strikes a good balance between all elements -  grammar, speaking, listening, reading + writing. The vocabulary covered is consistently reviewed to ensure it is relevant to our needs. 

Resources are current and interesting and often include an authentic flavour of Bulgarian culture and history. 

The course tutor - Deyan is a skilful linguist who incorporates a huge variety of techniques to keep motivation and enjoyment levels high. He gives most generously of his time and  uses technology efficiently to support our learning. 

His creative approach to online lessons has produced some unexpected bonuses e.g. tutor lead screen share notes allowing the class to focus on listening and speaking skills. I am impressed by the progress of everyone in the class.  

 

Sarah - Georgian Language Course 

I've had a wonderful year learning Georgian! Keti always makes the lessons fun and engaging - she puts an emphasis not only on the language itself but also on culture, about which she is incredibly knowledgeable. We talked about films, history, food and music - I learned so much and laughed a lot while doing it. 

 

Even with having online classes all year, we always had a variety of different exercises - listening, reading, writing and speaking, with small group and pair work as well as all class exercises. It really helps to keep the classes engaging. I now have an excellent base to get by in Georgian on my next trip. გმადლობთ ქეთი!  

 

James - Lithuanian Language Course 

I have really enjoyed learning Lithuanian at UCL for the last three years. Julija is a brilliant teacher - she makes each class interesting and enjoyable. My knowledge of the language improves with every lesson. I am able to speak basic Lithuanian with my partner and her family and I have made good friends with other students on the course. Overall, the evening classes have surpassed my expectation and that is down to the excellent teaching by Julija.

 

Henry - Russian Language Course 

I very much appreciate the high quality and consistency of Tatiana’s teaching by Zoom and her course and class materials, and feel I’ve learned a great deal during this year of her Lower Advanced Russian language class, which has been most enjoyable. Tatiana has developed excellent teaching materials, which she always provides one week ahead of each class (thereby enabling preparation in advance), and also provides notes of the class straight afterwards, responds comprehensively to queries and delivers swift feedback on all homework. She has a great sense of humour too - I cannot recommend her classes more highly!  

 

John - Macedonian Language Course 

Ana's language teaching skills are second to none. She is an excellent tutor, and every class with her has been more than enjoyable. She makes every session fun and lively and engaging. She is very patient with her students and always creates an environment where you can feel comfortable in making mistakes - something which is key in order to master any language. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time learning Macedonian with her.

 

Mika - Slovene Language Course 

The Slovene course with Maja Rancigaj Benes is one of the best courses I've ever taken. It's an excellent mix between all the things you need to have when learning a language: talking, writing, listening and grammar. Slovenian is a difficult language and it's due to Maja's teaching abilities – explaining very well, knowing when it's good to change the subject or exercise – and her personal relationship with us – her kindness, her patience, her humour – that I still enjoy learning Slovene. Hvala lepa za vse, Maja!