top of page

Interview with

Elena Kocheva

Name: Elena Kocheva
Nationality or Ethnicity: Russian
Where do you live?: Germany
Languages: Russian, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, (and a little bit of Greek :)

Member since:


1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?

I always thought that learning languages was fun. But I have always been more of a mathematician and for some reason I thought that you are either a mathematician or you study languages and these are so different things. So when I decided to choose a career, I chose computer science, not languages, although I had always been interested in languages. I started studying English at school and that was the standard route through university and school education. But I decided to study Italian when I saw a video on Ted Talks with the author of the book «The Defining Decade» (

So I decided that I needed to do something interesting with my life. And for some reason, the first interesting thing that came to mind was learning a new foreign language. I had to choose between Italian and French, and I chose Italian because I had just come back from a trip to Italy and France. And the Italians were so cool, so active, so eager to help that I thought I wanted to learn the language of this country. And later, Italian music was my great passion, thanks to which I learned my first foreign language, Italian.

I started studying Spanish because I was interested in how exactly I could learn a new language quickly, which is very similar because it is also from the Romance group. I was interested in finding some of my own approaches that would help me learn it. As a result, I did it within nine months of starting to study the language. French has always been my love and I started thinking about it and studying it when I was 12 years old and saw the musical Notre Dame de Paris. I even invented a method of memorising words at that time. As it turned out, it was called "mnemonics" all over the world. 

French has always been my great love, but for some reason it was not my destiny, because every time I started to study it, something happened. For example, when I started to learn French and even attended group classes at B2.2 level, I had to move to Germany and interrupt my French studies. In Germany I started to learn German and it became my big problem because it was very difficult. I encountered so many difficulties that I didn't even expect when I was learning languages at home for fun.

2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?

I would like to practise French a lot more because I keep trying to get back to it, but for some reason I have no luck with it :) Something always happens when I study it. So I would really like to learn French and maybe do more Spanish and Italian too.

3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?

I would really like to learn Greek because Greek interests me so much, like reading a physics textbook, because physics uses a lot of symbols from the Greek language. And for me it's like studying new scriptures that I don't know yet, or like discovering a new world that doesn't exist for me yet. I also would like to learn Ukrainian because I have a lot of Ukrainian relatives and some of my roots are there. And I would like to understand this language, which is very similar to Russian, but which I unfortunately still do not understand either by ear or in writing.

4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?

For me, the sexiest language is French. Probably because it is still very unknown to me ;) I haven't reached the real C1 level yet, which I would really like to do.

5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?

The greatest pleasure for me is to be able to go to any country in Europe and understand what is going on almost everywhere. Once, when I already spoke Spanish, Italian, English and a little French, I came to Germany and realised that there is a big difference between travelling without knowing the language and travelling with it. There is a much greater opportunity to communicate with new people, find out what is going on around you, go to some local parties and of course it is very cool to be able to communicate with people who happen to only speak one mother tongue. And that opens a lot of doors to different stories, different fates of people, different situations.

6. Some people say the world is really just going to have a few languages left in a 100 years, do you think this is really true?

I think it depends a lot on how careful people are with languages. I think globalisation will not happen because 100 years is not that long. And it seems to me that a lot of people are sensitive to these languages. And I really don't want them to die out because it shows how different we really are.

7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?

I think it's really cool when a person wants to learn several foreign languages. They say that when you learn a new foreign language, you acquire a new part of your soul that lives in that foreign language. And to be honest, I think this is true. And I wish people who want to learn many foreign languages that they can do so, and not necessarily reach a super cool professional level in each language. I compare it to feeling like you are in front of a big buffet of desserts. And you don't have to eat a whole cake if you can try different sweets and understand exactly what you want to learn to cook well, so don't deny yourself anything and try :)

bottom of page