Russian mission update: iTalki challenge almost done!

Hey everyone! With less than 2 weeks to go before the iTalki New Year’s Challenge concludes I’m missing just 4 hours of lessons. In the post today I’ll give you a short update as well as let you listen in on my latest tutoring session.

iTalki Challenge Update

The iTalki Challenge started on the 15th of January and participants had to finish 20 hours of tutoring before February 28th. I took up the challenge, because I had been having a bit of a slow December, so I felt like a boost was needed.

And a boost I got!

Doing more than 16 hours of Russian lessons in just a month is super intense. I talked briefly about how to take your italki tutoring to the next level a few posts back, but I think I reached my critical mass of number of lessons in shortest time. I think having daily lessons is great, but for me I just need a tiny break (say a day at least) to process what just happened. I feel like with daily lessons, I just can’t.

Anyway, it’s been very helpful and my Russian is stronger than ever – which is super cool. I often play against Russian speakers in my favourite video game; Dota 2 and being able to translate for my fellow teammates is quite exciting. I still have a long term plan to get involved with the community on a higher level, but I need to be a bit stronger in the language first.

A big part of my journey here on Actual Fluency is transparency, and I’d like to share another lesson with you today. This was recorded on the 10th of February and is a whole hour long. I don’t expect anyone to sit through it all, but if you want to get a general idea of my level in Russian after 11 months – this is your chance:

What I still struggle with in Russian

1. Certain cases – Obviously Russian is a case language with many endings/variations to memorise, so this doesn’t worry me too much. I can feel each lesson I get more and more endings right, but it is still difficult. However this is also one of the cooler parts of the language. I remember my sense of awe, way back in the beginning when I heard the sentence;

тебя Элза сделала? (You Elsa made?)

Granted, this concept isn’t unique to Russian, as German has the freedom of word order as well, but with my primary 2 languages being Danish and English this freedom is quite cool.

A big help to anyone learning Russian is to memorise the case pronouns early in the process. I took a lazy will-learn-when-I-need-it approach and this means I struggle a bit with the lesser used pronouns. Luckily Russian is quite regular so there are few surprises.

2. Vocabulary – Since focusing on tutoring lessons I have barely done anything related to vocabulary acquisition. Of course I have been learning words during my tutoring, but the words per hour is quite a lot less during tutoring sessions. Once I’ve completed the iTalki challenge I’m going to take a short break and get back to adding more vocab to my language. I feel like this is one of the things holding me back now.

How is your language learning going? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


PS. There’s still about a week left to support the Actual Fluency Podcast. Why not pick up a polyglot package valued at over $200 for just $50? Click here to find out more.


  • Julia vaconsin

    I also have 4 more hours to do. If it wasn’t for the challenge I’d take a break right now. It is a bit much and I miss the time to process and study in between sessions.