Lately I’ve taken to listening to the BBC in Russian. I’m hoping to increase my comprehension and vocabulary so that my weekly Russian lessons go a little smoother. So far it has really helped. What I’ve noticed is that people on the radio have a tendency to talk really fast, and to use a lot of colloquial expressions; both of these things are very useful for language acquisition.
One of my frustrations with learning Russian while living in Russia was the lack of real intensive practice there. You’d think that living in a culture and being immersed in daily life would give someone the best opportunity to learn a language, but it really isn’t enough to develop full fluency, unless you have a dedicated language teacher and a forum for asking questions and practicing. Plus, you can live in a country and even interact normally without actually speaking or listening that much, depending on your profession. I’m hoping that by immersing myself in the rapid-fire conversation of radio, I can push myself to the next level, even without the convenience of living in Russia.