Saturday, April 4, 2015

Interview with a Russian interpreter & traveler - Ekaterina Zakharov

I am proud to host the beautiful and accomplished Ekaterina "Kate" Zakharov (nee Demko).  Our grandmothers were half-sisters, so that makes us cousins. Kate comes from a family of medical professionals, though she chose a different path for herself - of international relations and linguistics. Right now she is working for the Smolensk City Council, where she and her colleagues are responsible for the development of international and inter-regional relations.

MJN: You come from a family of medics, yet you chose a different professional path. At what point in your life did you discover your passion for languages and cultures?

EZ: I really come from a family of medics. My parents, my brother and his wife, my grandmother, my uncle and my aunt – all of them are medics. But one trip to Germany has changed my future. I was 14 years old. My classmates and me went to Germany in the framework of a student exchange. I lived in a German family and at that time I fell in love with German language and German culture. After that I began to put more efforts to study of foreign languages. At every time I fell in love with any language after communication with native speakers.

MJN: Having traveled so much, if you could pick one country where you would settle for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?

EZ: I’m really happy, that my job is connected with traveling. Thank my job I have an opportunity to see the world and to get new friends in different countries. I often think about the country where I would like to settle for the rest of my life. Unfortunately I haven’t seen many countries to choose the best. And I can answer the following: at the present I would like to stay here in Russia, but I will be glad to have the chance to travel at any time.

MJN: I know you spent some time in Poland. My father is Polish, so I retained some of the culture. It's a Slavic language, so you can understand most of it even if you never studied it. Yet the spelling seems very difficult, at least to me. What did you find most challenging about learning Polish?

EZ: Thank my job I got the chance to know many interesting people including people from Poland. One day I decided to learn Polish. (I accompanied one polish music band. There were 5 young and attractive musicians). Many Russians think that Russian and Polish are identical languages. But it is not the truth. I can speak German, English and a little Polish and I can say that grammar in Polish is difficult. Of course there are any same details in both languages, but spelling and topic “Tenses” are different and difficult. I like Polish pronunciation very much!

MJN: Tell us about the time you spent in Germany. How long did you stay there? Was it with a host family or a group of other students?

EZ: I always visit Germany on business! Every time I stay there for 5-7 days. But it is not enough! I love this country very much: its language, culture, people, customs. I have got many friends there. I visited many cities, saw many interesting people, took part in different interesting events and projects. Every year I’m going to travel to Germany private. I hope I will do it this year. I feel that this nation is close to my heart. I would like to thank for this feeling all my friends and well-known people from the Hagen city.

MJN: What do you think Russia could learn from other countries? Are there any traditions you would like to see incorporated into Russian culture?

EZ: Every country has its own unique traditions. Old Russian traditions are very interesting and unique too. And I don’t think that it’s a good idea to borrow traditions in other countries. People must keep old traditions. But every nation has its own features of character. And I think that here Russians could learn much more from other nations.

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