Advice needed for a young(ish)! language learner

Hi all,

I have a bit of a dilemma going on at the minute, and after having discussed it with my family and girlfriend I thought I’d throw it out there for the internet to have a bite at! I expect there are people on here much wiser than me, so it won’t do any harm! Apologies if I don’t explain myself very clearly, and the following is likely to be just a stream of consciousness…

Basically, I had originally planned to travel to Russia for 2 months from mid-March through to mid-May to complete an 8 week Russian language immersion course. I have been learning for just over a year now and would place myself at the higher-end of A2 level, perhaps touching B1 in some areas.

I want to fast-track my progress, and my ambition is to bring my level up to around C1 standard eventually, but I do know that it will be a long and difficult road.

My current employers would prefer me to go during the summer, and they have basically informed me that I will have to resign if I want to continue to go in March.

The catch is, I have already paid for my Visa and flights to Russia in March! This was because the original meetings with my employer suggested that they would be acceptable dates, and I wanted to try and get everything sorted as soon as possible. (In hindsight this was a naive thing to do, I am fully aware of that).

Given that I want to eventually get up to C1 level, I am aware that a single 2 month trip to Russia will not be enough to bring me to that level, and multiple trips may be required. I know that my employers are being kind and generous in the first place by even letting me go for a 2 month period, but I have no doubt that they would not let me go again.

My question is this, would it be better to just throw myself into Russian as much as possible for a year or so? By resigning and going on my originally-planned dates, I would then have the freedom to embark on another 2 month immersion course later in the year - perhaps in late summer. The problem with this would be that I would be eating into my savings, and I suppose that even after two 8 week immersion trips there is every possibility that I would still not be up to my desired level.

The other scenario would be to just go in the summer and write-off the original flight and visa costs. I would keep my job, and carry on earning when I got back. Essentially this would just prolong the inevitable, as I would probably resign the following year anyway in order to go back to Russia! However, in the intervening time my salary would allow me to carry on paying for lessons on iTalki and conversations on LingQ etc, and I would have more savings in the bank to fund the planned second trip to Russia.

Any comments are welcome, advice and criticism will be accepted!

Cheers, Josh

All things equal, I’d advise you to wait. If you’ll earn more money at your job than you’ll lose by renouncing to your visa/ticket flights, you may be better off by going in summer, when your level will be higher and you’ll really take advantage of your trip.
I myself have already been twice in Russia (for one month the first time, then a couple of weeks the second time). The first time was just before I began with Lingq (I’d gone through the Assimil course). The second one I think I was at around your current level. Although it was a wonderful experience and it did help my Russian, it wasn’t such a big boost.
I’ll be going back soon (again for one month) and this time I do expect my level to skyrocket because my vocabulary is so much larger.
My advice would be for you to study hard until summer, go to Russia when you’re at a good level (past B1, at least vocabulary-wise), save money and then go for a really long stay after you finally decide to quit your job. By that time, you’ll have a very good level and you’ll be able to really master the language.

For comparison, watch Steve’s considerations about when to go for an immersion in the target language:

In writing we very often hide the most important message into the last paragraph. Do you think you have done it here and thus have already answered your own question? Yours and @ftornay’s seems good advice :slight_smile:

Perhaps you could sell your tickets? Is that a possibility?

Hi both, thanks for your advice - really do appreciate it.

Cost-wise, if I was to go in the summer, I’d be around £580 out of pocket in all. This is because I wouldn’t benefit from the winter rates the immersion course company offers for March/April months. It’s a significant amount of money, but I guess I’d be far more likely to make it back if I was working than if I wasn’t!

Turns out I can re-book my flights too, but with a penalty booking charge. So that and the new visa costs aren’t too prohibitive, but still annoying!

All in all, going in the summer does seem to be the more sensible option, as hard and as frustrating it might be to write off lost money.

Maybe those extra few months of self-study will make up for the money that you initially lose right now ^^ who knows :wink:

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