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BBQ Land

If you’re planning to do an internship at CREF when the days are nice and sunny, you’re going to undoubtedly be witness to an amazing sight in the parks here. As soon as the snow begins to melt and the weather becomes warm, groups of friends and families gather around portable barbecue grills everywhere. In some places the grills are so numerous that they fill the air with a hazy mist (туман – tuman), lending the whole scene a romantic quality. You have to understood, a picnic (пикник – picnic) without kebabs (шашлыки – shashliki), it’s just…. niet! Like the Russian sauna or picking mushrooms, the art of the “shashlik” is an integral part of Russian popular culture. More than just a part of the culture, actually, it is its own universe. On the Internet, for example, one can even find the barbecue encyclopedia (шашлычная энциклопедия – shashlichnaya entsiklapedia), which should give you an idea of how big a deal it is! CREF would like to provide you with the right words, a tried and tested recipe (рецепт – retsept) that has proven itself many times over, in order to increase the esteem your Russian friends hold you in when you invite them out for a barbecue (пригласить на шашлыки – priglasit na shashliki). Read more

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Special offer on 90-minute individual lessons at CREF!

Benefits:

-10% discount for a 10 lessons or more

-20% discount for a 20 lessons or more

-30% discount for a 30 lessons or more

This offer is available only on individual 90-minute lessons taking place at CREF (Moscow, Malaya Lubyanka st. 16) between April 2 and June 1, 2018. Lessons on which the discount is applied cannot be canceled or postponed.

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New intensive group for beginners: 2nd april 

Looking for a quick and efficient way of learning Russian?

СREF is here for you ! Enroll now in our Intensive program for beginners that starts on April 2!

We will show you how easy and enjoyable the Russian language really is 🙂

To register or get more information, call +7(495)5454745 or write to russian@cref.ru

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INTERVIEW WITH OUR STUDENTS: PASCAL

Pascal, a Frenchman living in Russia, has been studying Russian at CREF for the past two years. He was kind enough to talk to us about his impressions regarding the Russian language, Russia and CREF.

Cref: Hello, Pascal! So tell us, what brought you to Moscow?

Pascal: Hello! Well, I met my Russian girlfriend in France. When I retired shortly thereafter, I decided to join her here in Moscow, where she currently works.

Cref: Were you already familiar with Russia?

Pascal: Not at all! Well, apart from what I had seen in the media! I had never been to Russia and I did not speak any Russian.

Cref: So you decided to learn Russian once you were here?

Pascal: Yes, that is right. Initially, I signed up for six-week intensive courses at Moscow State University, but they were not easy to follow because the instructor would explain everything in English and I my English is not very good. Fortunately, some French-speaking students helped me with the coursework. Then, I discovered CREF, which offers customized individual lessons and visa assistance. I felt that was a more convenient way for me to start life anew here.

Cref: Did you find Russian difficult at first?

Pascal: Not really, but then again I love Russian, its intonation, vocabulary, the way it’s written, even if the declensions might be a little complicated. What I like is that I can now understand Russians when they speak, and they can understand me when I speak.

Cref: Do you have any advice for those who are learning or would like to learn Russian?

Pascal: You cannot pick it up, as you would English. In France, English is everywhere, while Russian is almost non-existent. Everything is new and you have to start from scratch. Of course, you should never give up, even if you feel you are too old to be learning a new language. I would also recommend not rushing through it. Take time to absorb the fundamentals before moving forward.

Cref: What do you think about Moscow?

Pascal: I learned that life here is not what I expected it to be. I mean that in a positive sense, because, coming from France, one would hear rather negative things. There is plenty of space, many things to see, lots of activities and entertainment venues. Even if there is a certain level of individualism, the collective impulses here are very alluring. One does not feel suffocated like in Paris, and I like that.

Cref: What are some of your favorite places in Moscow?

Pascal: VDNK Park. There are many things to do there both in the summer and in the winter. There is an aquarium, for example, as well as several interesting museums like the one for the sculptor Tsereteli or for the army. Zariadie Park, which opened recently, provides views of the churches from Varvarka Street. If you are not averse to spending a bit of money, you could try the 72nd Floor restaurant in Moscow City.

Cref: Do you like any food in particular?

Pascal: I like to cook meat or fish and then add cheese or mayonnaise on top. I also like borsch (cabbage and beet soup).

Cref: What is your favorite Russian word?

Pascal: Любовь (Liubov) – “love”, of course!

Cref: What are three things you like, and three things you would like to see improved, about your lessons at CREF?

Pascal: I really like how friendly the atmosphere is, how flexible the schedule can be, as well as the highly competent teaching staff. It is also quite convenient that everyone speaks French, since this helps me avoid misunderstandings. In terms of improvements? Frankly, I cannot think of anything.

We would like to thank Pascal for sharing his impressions and his appreciation of our work! We wish him continued progress with his Russian studies and hope he continues to enjoy his new life in Moscow!

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In short

Curious about what mysterious initials like OOO, ТАСС or ДПС stand for? Then read on, as CREF reveals the meanings of the many abbreviations and acronyms that you often encounter in Russia.

During election time, while debates rage in the media, or SMI as it is known in Russian – СМИ – Средства массовой информации (srédstva mássovoy infarmátsii), it is the TSIK, or “Central Electoral Commission” – ЦИК – Центральная избирательная коммиссия (tsentralnaya izbiratelnaya kamissia), as it is often referred to, that is responsible for the smooth running of operations. Read more

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Cinema

Lights, camera, action!

When it’s cold outside, really cold, and there’s a lot of snow, it’s a good idea to get cozy and watch a move, don’t you think? CREF will serve as your usher – билетëр (biletiyor) and guide for today’s show. Get ready! Lights!

While browsing through blockbusters – блокба́стеры (blakbastery), arthouse films – а́вторское кино (avtorskoi kino), shown at various film festivals throughout the year, and live broadcasts – в прямо́й трансля́ции (v primoy translatsii) of theatre and opera pieces, your gaze falls upon a Russian comedy – комеди́йный фи́льм (camedeeny film). You have made an excellent choice.  There is no better way to identify cultural differences and similarities than this: what parts of the film make everyone laugh – все смею́тся (vse smeyootsa), what parts do you alone laugh at, and what parts does everyone laugh at except you.  Read more

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GROUP LESSONS FOR EXPATS: GROUP BEGINNER (three times weekly)

On the 12th of February we will open a new Group lessons for expats and for complete beginners! This option is adapted to suit the daily schedule of expat families. Lessons will be held during the evenings (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday – 18:00-19:30).

Join us at CREF school in the city center of Moscow and you will improve your Russian language skills with the best teachers of Russian.

To register, call us at +7 (495) 545 4745 or russian@cref.ru

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NEW BEGINNERS GROUP – FEBRUARY 5

A NEW BEGINNERS GROUP

It is time to learn Russian! Enroll in a new group for beginners that starts on February 5!

Join us at CREF school in the city center of Moscow and you will improve your Russian language skills with the best teachers of Russian !

Free trial lesson included !

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Tenacity

It is often said that one needs a certain amount of courage – му́жество (moozhestva) to face the long Russian winter. So, if you’re already in Russia or are planning to visit this winter, CREF would like to offer to recharge your optimism by giving you a bunch of helpful expressions on the themes of courage and tenacity.

There was once a time, in Russia, when children from the nobility were educated by private French tutors. One stubborn myth – сто́йкий миф (stoiki mif) holds that these private tutors had all arrived after the revolution of 1789 and that they weren’t actually qualified to teach – преподава́ть (prepadavaat). Even if it’s true that a portion of the French that offered their services in Russia were not up to the mark, there were many others who were very successful in the education of children from the highest echelons of Russian nobility, even that of future Tsars, like Alexander the First, for example. Read more

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Russian culture

Russian culture – русская культура (roosskaya kultoora) – experienced a golden age in the 19th century, followed by a silver age in the 20th century, producing, during these two centuries, an enormous amount talent. Besides, it is possible to learn something about Russian culture, even if you have not been to Russia. In fact, Russia has produced several world-famous celebrities – знамени́ты (znamineetee). CREF would like to present a small review of Russian culture, accompanied by some useful vocabulary.

You have probably heard – слы́шали (slishali) about at least one of the following artists: Chagall, Tchaïkovski, Dostoïevski and Stanislavski.

Read more