B1 Dialog #61 Canadian about living in Russia

Today we are going to share with you some notes about living in Russia from a Canadian guy named Justin. He’s lived in Russia for a long time and it’s really interesting to find out what kind of things surprised him a lot when he first came to our country! 

How to work with the dialog?

  1. Listen to the dialog and read the PDF transcript. Turn on subtitles if necessary.
  2. Listen to the dialog again, repeating the questions and answers aloud (!!!).
  3. Come up with your own answers to the questions. Use PDF vocabulary if needed.
  4. Listen to the questions and answer them aloud (!!!), with a correct intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.
  5. Go back to the video from time to time and repeat the exercise.

Canadian about living in Russia

(1) Everyone reads books!

Yeah it’s true. Russians like reading. Now it’s even more convenient, because people can use electronic books and it’s not necessary to bring real books with you. It’s really nice. Rinat, what kind of book do you read now?

(2) If you walk the street without wearing a hat in the winter, any Russian babushka will say to you: “Hey, where’s your hat! Are you crazy?”

😄😄😄 I don’t think that any babushka says that, but it might happen to you in Russia indeed. And not only in Russia I think. The point is that winters in Russia are much colder than in the US or Canada for example. So it’s better to wear a hat of course.

(3) Russian girls walk everywhere on high heels. Even in the icy winter!

I wouldn’t say that all Russian girls walk everywhere on high heels, especially in the winter! Maybe it was so several years ago, but today’s fashion is different and everybody wears comfortable shoes.

(4) Beer was not considered as an alcohol drink in Russia till 2011.

Yeah it’s true! I think it was just some formal mistake in our regulations, but it’s a fact. Only in 2011 a former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev changed that.

(5) Don’t whistle in the building, there will be no money!

It’s a Russian superstition. Our ancestors believed that evil spirits communicate with the help of whistles. This is the language of bad spirits. And, if someone in the house begins to whistle, he invites all these spirits inside. And they begin to manage the house. 

(6) In Russia, dogs say not RUFF but ГАФ!

For a Russian it’s not convenient to say RUFF, so we have adapted dogs’ barking to our language. We say ГАФ!

(7) When Russians ask you “How are you?” they really want to know about that

Yeah I think we take this question more seriously than Americans. But it’s up to you whether you want to give a long answer or not. It’s not necessary of course. And mostly we ask “Как дела?” only to start the conversation. 

(8) Men don’t wear bright clothes in Russia

It depends on people. But in general it’s true. Men don’t like wearing bright clothes in Russia. I don’t know why.

(9) Russian smiles don’t have eyes!

I never write smiles with eyes. I think it’s more convenient and faster. What about you guys? Tell us in the comment section!

(10) Russians don’t go Dutch when celebrating someone’s birthday. Usually a person whose birthday it is pays for everyone.

Yeah it’s a very common thing in Russia. I don’t know if it’s good or not. But guests usually get the presents. 

Russian people prefer saying long toasts rather than short “Cheers!”

I don’t think it’s always so. I don’t like saying long toasts for example. But anyway we say more than just “Cheers!” when proposing a toast. It’s true.