“Instilling love for the Russian language and Russian culture is a great happiness for me,” — Milena Shcherbakova, Master student at the Russian Language Institute, RUDN University

“Instilling love for the Russian language and Russian culture is a great happiness for me,” — Milena Shcherbakova, Master student at the Russian Language Institute, RUDN University

Read an interview about the development of digital technologies, teaching and fulfilling dreams.

Milena, you did bachelor’s at RUDN University, why did you choose the master’s program here too?

I always liked it here because of the quality of education, a wide range of disciplines, the depth of knowledge and the teachers’ involvement. Honestly, I considered other options — linguistics at MGIMO or Moscow State University. But on the last day of submitting documents, I learned about a new direction of the master’s program at RUDN Russian Language Institute. So I applied for “Digital Innovations in Philology”, where humanitarian competences are combined with technical ones.

Digital philologist sounds cool. Tell me how you took the risk

I was planning on becoming a translator, but the classics are becoming a thing of the past. In my third year, I seriously thought about IT. Now I have an opportunity to move on to new areas of scientific research — computer and cognitive linguistics, having a philological base,

What digital innovation excites you most?

The work of electronic dictionaries. Over the past 10 years, machine translation has improved so much that it has become a powerful competitor to humans. Already in the third year, we tried it and it took us just a few minutes — the automatically generated text turned out to be so coherent that we did not even have to edit it. I started wondering how innovative technologies can be effectively used in teaching languages.

By the way, what inspired you to teach?

Since childhood, I have wanted to become a teacher. I began giving private lessons, then teaching at a school. At that time, working at the university was my innermost and elusive dream. In my bachelor’s degree, I started doing science and this helped me to get a tuition-free place in the master’s program, and then get a job at the Department of the Russian Language No. 5 (RUDN Institute of the Russian Language).

I can’t even tell you how cool it is to fulfill a dream. This is a great achievement for me personally. And realizing that both a scientific and a teaching career is open to you is even more amazing. I like teaching the culture of speech to foreigners, explaining to them not only the grammar of the Russian language, but also the nuances of etiquette. In additional classes, I introduce them to the traditions of the peoples of Russia. It is such pleasure to hear them talk with burning eyes about the customs of their native country, the values of the people and their families!

Among the many scientific events, which conferences do you remember the most?

Once I spoke at a conference on intercultural communication with a report on linguistics in the field of IT. Usually I dealt only with grammar and translation theory, and this was the first time I developed this topic. It was especially nice to hear the praise from the participants.

Another conference was in Turkey on the methodology of teaching Russian as a foreign language. My supervisor spoke in Turkey, and I did it remotely. Unexpectedly, native speakers of Russian, English, Turkish languages became interested in our report.

What charges your batteries?

Communication with people. That is why I especially appreciate my work, because I communicate with students a lot.

It is also my desire for everything new, unusual, not enough studied in work and study. I participate in conferences, round tables, and I also listen to lectures from a completely different field. I always choose the complicated and unfamiliar.

What is your dream job?

A teacher, and I chose this profession a long time ago. The activity and enthusiasm of schoolchildren or students is a positive charge for every day. And to instill love for the Russian language and Russian culture is a great happiness for me.

What is your motto for life?

“Through thorns to knowledge” is a slightly transformed “per aspera ad astra”. It is not necessary to strive for the stars, because the “stars” are a metaphor for power, success, ambitious fulfillment of desires. It is knowledge that remains forever whether you study, research or teach.

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