What my students are saying
I'd like to say thank you to all my students that trust me their Russian studies and I'm especially thankful to those who were willing to share their experience in public! :)
No matter what level your Russian is Marina can help you to improve it
“Marina Yuryevna’s instruction is excellent. Her knowledge of the intricacies of the Russian language is exceptional, and her depth of understanding of the Russian history and culture is unusual even among those born in Russia. She is a master of choosing texts and exercises to target any skill level or area of interest. No matter what level your Russian is she can help you to improve it.”
Genevieve // USG Employee, Washington, DC
Marina’s method of instruction was extremely effective
“Marina’s method of instruction was extremely effective. I have had many Russian courses over the years, but never learned so much in so short time. Her targeted and concentrated focus on specific topics gave me the confidence to speak more fluently on a range of issues.
Even though I am an advanced student, her grammar reviews were efficient and very helpful. It was obvious that she put a lot of effort and time into preparing lessons. Further, Marina’s general level of erudition gives her an understanding of cultural references beyond that of even most native speakers, and her students greatly benefit from this.”
Ronald // USG Employee, Washington, DC
Marina is the best Russian instructor I’ve had in my language learning career
“I cannot say enough about Marina’s abilities as a Russian language instructor. I worked with her for a mere two hours per week over the course of several months, and despite that paucity of time, I found my confidence in the language improve far beyond my expectations. She engaged us in discussions on a wide range of topics that were as productive as they were thought-provoking. Her thoughtful approach challenged us to speak Russian intelligently and at length on a wide variety of relevant topics that seemed inaccessible before.
She made the most of the principle that interesting content accelerating learning. Furthermore, she developed her own materials that presented words, roots and concepts together in uniquely logical ways that further enhance learning. She helped us set goals that were challenging yet realistic. I credit her materials and approach with my success on a recent comprehensive standardized exam. I can say without reservation that she is the best Russian instructor I’ve had in my language learning career, which has spanned several years of study at elite private and public universities and professional settings. Finally, Marina was always pleasant, positive and friendly. I wholeheartedly recommend her.”
Jeff // USG Employee, Washington, DC
Marina’s method of teaching led to a very perceptible improvement in my language skills
“I was Marina’s student for several months during 2015 and found her teaching skills to be formidable. Marina challenged me to work hard to master the materials provided and achieve a higher level of speaking, reading and understanding Russian.
Marina’s thorough organization of lesson plans enabled the class time to flow smoothly and also helped me to be organized in my study. The lessons were conducted on a very high level, similar to a university course. Reading material was accompanied by vocabulary lists and grammar exercises, and these were reviewed in class. Both contemporary and historical issues were covered, which added depth to my knowledge of the language and culture. Marina provided video clips to reinforce the lesson material and engender further class discussion. Marina spoke at the normal rate and professional level for a native speaker of Russian, which was a challenge to follow, but gradually became easier as my comprehension improved.”
Suzanna // USG Employee, Washington, DC
I would strongly recommend Ms. Koker in any teaching position
“Ms. Koker undertook tremendous efforts in instructing me and other students in our intermediate-advanced class in Russian reading, speaking, and listening comprehension skills and preparing us for a rigorous examination. She went to a great deal of trouble to find sophisticated reading and prepare exercises that reinforced and checked our retention of vocabulary. The reading and exercises were at a challenging level appropriate for our class.
She tailored her instruction and used computer equipment in a helpful and appropriate way to reinforce the vocabulary and grammatical patterns. She also challenged us with speaking assignments that enlarged our vocabularies and speaking skills. Shortly after taking her class, I tested at a facility and received very high scores. I believe this was directly a result of Ms. Koker’s teaching skills. With 5 being the highest possible score, I received a 3 in both speaking and listening and 4+ in reading. I would strongly recommend Ms. Koker in any teaching position for Russian learners, from any level ranging from beginner to advanced.”
Martin // USG Employee, Washington, DC
I hope that Marina winds up with TONS of students. It was a true honor to study with her
“It was a pleasure having Marina as my teacher. I thought those plain sheets of printer paper I’d get from her at the end of each class were invaluable. She would record there every new word (to include those we should have used instead) that came up during conversation, and draw little labeled graphic that explained the verbs of motions we used. I ESPECIALLY liked how she structured lesson “clusters” around general themes, complete with excellent vocabulary lists and short phrases. That is exactly how people learn languages – not big abstract buildings, but concrete block by block.
I think Marina’s personal interaction and substantive knowledge of the language – and how to teach it – are wonderful. I hope that Marina winds up with TONS of students. It was a true honor to study with her. She is an excellent teacher, and I cannot thank her enough for the structure, encouragement and creativity that she introduced to our class.”
Jennifer // USG Employee, Washington, DC
We terribly missed Marina when she was gone
“Marina was a stand-out instructor for directly answering our questions in class, rather than deferring them or discouraging us from asking. Whenever we had a question, she would stop and explain the concept another way. She clearly provided lessons objectives for each day so we could measure our own progress.
By paying attention to our needs, the speed with which we were picking up concepts, and the activities that worked for us, Marina was able to tailor teaching materials to our needs. She clearly conveyed her high expectations, while creating a positive classroom atmosphere in which mastering basic communication in Russian always seemed like an achievable goal, even on our limited timetable. ”
Catherine // USG Employee, Washington, DC
Bill Bonilla // Attorney, Washington, DC
Fr. David // Holy Cross Monastery, WV
I realized I had just listened to the normal pace and understood it
Two big weaknesses plagued me: the inability to comprehend normal Russian pace and I translated into English both speaking and listening.
By August 2020 (after 4 months in the club), I noticed both were changing and today (in December 2020) have changed completely.
I have been an on/off student of Russian whose last Russian experience ended 26 years ago. Since then I have been, mostly, watching Russian videos with Russian subs. I decided long ago I wanted to do and see some special things in Russia so I needed study. Movies alone would not do.
Then in January 2020, I found a link for Conversational Russian Club "Metro." while looking for a new course with new material, style, or a “new method.”
I liked the Metro concept compared to quite a few others I have tried.
- Lessons have no spoken English.
- The subjects are from everyday life but the foundation is usable anywhere.
- Use of colloquial expressions is big for me.
- The lessons are short enough to keep my interest but are indeed full of new material plus some reuse of earlier terms.
- There are fast and slow-paced central spoken lessons.
- Written exercises excellently reinforce the spoken central portion.
- There is a group call every month that is more than just practice as you watch others improve as well. The spoken portion, either speed, is done in a clearly professional tireless easy to listen to voice.
Two big weaknesses plagued me:
- the inability to comprehend normal Russian pace
- I translated into English both speaking and listening.
By August (after 4 months in the club), I noticed both were changing and today have changed completely.
Russian people who haven’t seen me for a while, ask me what I have been doing to achieve the improvement. I also believe the easing of my prize-winning accent is bonus.
I find there are changes, in a big way, to my vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and thus the ability to communicate in both directions.
I also can follow at a much faster pace than before. Enough so, one day I heard a lesson in my car and after I heard the slow portion start, I realized I had just listened to the normal portion and understood it.
I feel anyone who has the basic foundation of grammar will find a surge in vocab and style enough in the first month, to envision what completing the whole “Metro” series will do for them.
ANTHONY LYVER // Retired engineer, Canada
I now feel much more confident and I’m better able to express myself
What I particularly appreciate is Marina’s dedication and cheerful benevolence, her attention and reactivity. She is accessible to her students, who may refer to her when they have doubts. Whenever I asked her a question, I got a quick, accurate and helpful answer.
I started studying Russian four years ago, but I worked alone off and on.
Self-study isn’t stimulating and I didn’t make much progress.
I joined the Metro Club 9 months ago. I appreciate receiving podcasts and reading material every week. It encourages me to work regularly. The club offers a wide range of topics and several lessons on a specific topic. It helps me to learn more about Russian culture and way of life.
The courses are tailored to constantly reinforce what we have just learned.
Listening to the podcasts greatly helped me to develop my listening comprehension.
It’s very rewarding to see that you understand better and better every week.
The reading material with grammar notes, word clusters and infographics offers a strong basis for developing your understanding and speaking skills.
I now feel much more confident and I’m better able to express myself.
What I particularly appreciate is Marina’ dedication and cheerful benevolence, her attention and reactivity. She is accessible to her students, who may refer to her when they have doubts. Whenever I asked her a question, I got a quick, accurate and helpful answer.
That is invaluable.
I would recommend the program to motivated, intermediate students, who are ready to work regularly, at least four or five hours a week, in order to reach an advanced level.
CATHERINE GAUDIOT // Retired university English professor, France
Marina wants you to understand and speak the language as a native
The program is very unique. The podcasts truly train your ear to pick up the language the way natives talk. I listen to the same podcasts daily during breakfast and see how my brain is trained by the end of the week. The quick native speech from Monday seems normal speed by Friday.
Good day to all! My name is Michael and I have been learning Russian on and off for 7 years. I had previously tried self-study with Rosetta Stone, as well as some textbooks, and while living in Moscow, I had tried various teachers.
I stumbled upon METRO club before it launched and have participated since Day 1. At the time I felt I was at a high A2, low B1 level and METRO club was exactly what I needed. It required some extra work on my part to maximize the usefulness of the materials presented but it has been well worth it. I like the multiple tiered approach
– Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The weekly podcasts provide an insight into not just the language but the culture. As someone that lives and works in Moscow, I’ve noticed myself immediately using a concept I learned from the lessons.
I’ve also been doing private lessons with Marina for over half a year. The private lessons have helped to fill in my knowledge gap about cases, while the podcasts provide a more general knowledge base. I’ve noticed an improvement in my listening and speaking, as well as reading and understanding. The writing is still a work in progress but its also not the focus of this course.
The program is very unique. All of the materials are created by Marina which means she knows how to teach/explain the materials. She isn’t using someone else’s textbook and just doing boring exercises with you. Most importantly, the podcasts truly train your ear to pick up the language the way natives talk and that is very important.
Marina also clearly explains how to use the materials. First to listen to the podcasts before even looking at the text, to see how much you can understand. The podcasts are presented at two speeds, one normal and one slower. I listen to the same weekly podcasts daily during breakfast and can understand how my brain is trained by the end of the week. The quick native speech from Monday seems normal speed by Friday and the slower speech from Monday seems like a turtle by the end of the week. But the slower speech is very useful for understanding where the stress is in the word.
Overall, Marina is easily the best teacher I have ever had with Russian. She knows the language inside and out and can answer any questions I have regarding history or context of certain words. She also focuses on the stress in the word, as well as government forms (which words/grammar come after certain verbs) and that is not something most teachers even discuss. She wants you to understand and speak the language as a native from the outset of your studies.
I would recommend METRO Club to anyone that has a general foundation of vocabulary, a cursory understanding of the grammar, and is ready for the next step. But even if you aren’t ready for the next step, private lessons with Marina will help you up your level quickly to understand the podcasts.
Marina gives you all the tools to be successful and it is up to you to use them wisely. I could be far more advanced if I would spend more time with the materials than I do, but I am very satisfied with my current progress and would recommend Marina and her METRO club to anyone interested in learning the language.
MICHAEL LUTZ // English teacher, Moscow
I was able to communicate with hosts and strangers in Russia
I really value how the METRO Club is an all-in-one package, and the “7- Step” method is the road map! I follow the steps at my own pace, adapt my studies to the busy circumstances of daily life while building both my Russian speaking, listening and reading abilities, and my self-confidence.
I took one semester of Russian in college. The rest of my study time has been with the Russian Mobile Academy – about 30 hours in 2018-2019 and then in the METRO Club since April 2020.
I really value how the METRO Club is an all-in-one package. First, I get to hear spoken Russian podcasts about topics that arise in everyday speech. I can refer to them again and again because these are the topics that I want to talk about with Russian speakers. An accompanying written lesson breaks down each podcast into bite-sized pieces, and the Seven Step Method is the road map! I follow the steps at my own pace, all the while building both my Russian speaking and reading abilities, and my self-confidence. A special bonus to the METRO Club is that there is an option to have Zoom lessons online with its founder, Dr. Marina Koker.
Since beginning my studies at the RMA, I have made two multi-week trips to Russia to visit religious and cultural sites. I was able to communicate with hosts and strangers while there because of everything I learned at the RMA. Additionally, I can now listen to and read Russian language content online in a way that I could not before.
Learning Russian is a marathon, not a sprint. With the RMA/METRO Club I go at my own pace, adapting my studies to the busy circumstances of daily life without feeling like I am failing or falling behind.
I would recommend RMA/METRO Club to anybody who wants to learn Russian in a way that lasts a lifetime!
FR. DAVID // Monk, Holy Cross Monastery, West Virginia
Learning how to say things as Russians say them was a critical step
What makes this program truly unique is Marina’s “7 Step System” of learning, which prioritizes listening. By forcing myself to listen intently—and only later adding the reading of the words—my ability to identify all of the words in long string of quickly-passing syllables dramatically improved.
I had been studying Russian off and on for about 3 years before joining the Conversational Russian METRO Club. I had substantial gaps in my knowledge and ongoing trouble engaging in even very simple conversations. After a few months in the METRO Club, I noticed that I was doing much better at understanding the spoken word and was able to speak more confidently. The Club’s format of having regular opportunities to practice speaking with other students proved both enjoyable and productive.
But what makes this program truly unique is Marina’s 7 Step system of learning, which prioritizes listening. As a visual learner, my comprehension of written text was always much better than my understanding of speech. However, by forcing myself to listen intently—and only later adding the reading of the words—my ability to identify all of the words in long string of quickly-passing syllables dramatically improved.
Another characteristic aspect of this program is its incorporation of colloquialisms and emphasis on natural, flowing Russian speech. Learning how to say things as Russians say them was a critical step for enhancing my ability to follow a conversation, which has decreased my reliance on body language and non-verbal signals.
Although this program isn’t for beginners, those who have a basic understanding of the Russian language would greatly benefit from the Conversation Russian METRO Club. I enthusiastically recommend this Club to all who, like myself, had trouble moving beyond the rudiments of Russian but wish to grow in their understanding and appreciation of this rich language.
FR. PHILARET // Monk, Holy Cross Monastery, West Virginia
Professionally developed learning materials are outstanding
Russian Metro Club allows me to advance my language skills at my convenience without a dependence upon fast Internet. Conversational Russian Metro Club is reasonably priced and its professionally developed learning materials are outstanding. I heartily recommend Conversational Russian Metro Club for all A2 - C learners who prefer independent study
When I moved to a mountain from a large city, I searched for an effective way to continue my Russian study. My Internet is very poor so Skype was out of the question. Even my telephone doesn't work at times. Luckily, I found Conversational Russian Metro Club. It allows me to advance my language skills at my convenience without a dependence upon fast Internet. Conversational Russian Metro Club is reasonably priced and its professionally developed learning materials are outstanding. In short, they focus on all facets of life in Russia, family, school, work, daily routine, home, leisure tie, etc. Conversational Russian Metro Club's Marina Koker, PhD, includes readings in both regular and slow speeds, key vocabulary definitions and model sentences, idioms, grammar and other learning aids. She even harnessed the interactive learning power of Quizlet to allow members to reinforce vocabulary used in the weekly lessons. I heartily recommend Conversational Russian Metro Club for all A2 - C learners who prefer independent study
BOBBY HAYES // United States
I’m very satisfied with the very innovative and original Russian Metro Club
The Russian used in the audios as well as in the written lessons is authentic and engaging. For a B2 learner as myself it’s nice to find challenging content that allows me to expand my knowledge. I like that the podcasts are spoken in both fast and slow Russian, and the PDFs are dynamic and designed in a way that facilitates the learning process.
I’m very satisfied with the very innovative and original Russian Metro Club. The Russian used in the audios as well as in the written lessons is authentic and engaging. For a B2 learner as myself it’s nice to find challenging content that allows me to expand my knowledge. I like that the podcasts are spoken in both fast and slow Russian, and the PDFs are dynamic and designed in a way that facilitates the learning process. So do the cards in the Quizlet app. I love Russian Metro Club and starkly recommend it to intermediate learners to take their Russian to the next level.
YOSSI BARZILAI // Spain
The teaching methodology works perfectly for me
The level of support and flexibility has been tremendous. However, the main reason I joined is because the teaching methodology works perfectly for me. I’ve had several teachers before and I never felt close to making progress because of a lack of continuity of context or planning. This method is fun, practical and packed with learning content used everyday. I knew I would like it, it wasn’t even a gamble.
Zouheir Fathallah // Russia
Marina's course is exactly what I was looking for
I have been learning russian for a long time, but have not made any more progress. Marina's course is exactly what I was looking for. With this course I'm systematically expanding my vocabulary and the grammar topics are consolidated. And because the course is built brain-friendly, you learn very quickly. There is also a chat and a speaking club to reinforce what you have learnt. I highly recommend this course.
Susi Gobeli // Switzerland
The teaching methodology works perfectly for me
Words cannot express how much I enjoyed and looked forward to my on-line tutoring sessions with Russian tutor, Marina Koker, who unraveled mysterious Russian grammar. Even one Friday when I was totally drained from the week and didn’t want to think about any more Russian, we had our session, and I repeatedly told her how glad I was that we didn’t cancel.
I’m not a young “whippersnapper” and have a Master’s in Applied Linguistics, yet not ashamed to admit that I struggled in the DLI Russian course. Luckily for me, Marina did more than "fill in ALL the blanks" that the instructors left for the students to figure out; she explained grammatical concepts AND the reasoning behind them, so they made sense in my mind. Because of her teaching methodology, she made learning and understanding Russian exciting and a lot less stressful for me.
Fortunately, Marina doesn't follow the instructors' standard "memorize . . . . " mantra. I have years of experience with several other foreign languages as a heritage and adult learner and never had to memorize what I studied. Grammar concepts and vocabulary made sense and found them easy to remember. Even now with Russian, I still don't memorize; I have to either learn/understand concepts or remember vocabulary/conjugation for long term recognition. For example, we were taught money amounts (rubles), time of day (o'clock), and years (age) at different points in the program, but no connection was made (at least not in my head) until Marina demonstrated the connection, formula, and pattern between them.
When I see looooong Russian words with more than 10 letters, I instantly freeze and start telling myself “nope, not gonna try it” and RUN! However, Marina empowered me to learn and pronounce long words with a lot less apprehension. She showed me how to deconstruct them into prefix/root/suffix, learn the meaning of each part, and to spell them. For example [pre-po-da-VA-tel] is a college professor, and “tel” at the end of the word means someone who does something (not sure if that’s 100% proof).
After explaining and practicing a new topic, Marina would ask me to explain it in my own words to ascertain my acumen of the material. She also helped me with homework and strengthening my weakest ability – listening comprehension. Marina helped me identify words by focusing on parts of speech and how a sentence (string of words together) sounds differently than the same words individually.
Marina was incessantly stringent about proper pronunciation, since syllable stress can alter the meaning of a word, such as with “a REcord player” and “reCORD a message.” So, I would repeat words several times, so that my ear, eye, and mouth remembered the word in concert.
My classmates know I'm a giving person by nature, and I always wanted to tell them about how awesome Marina was. But I was also a little greedy and didn't want any obstacles when I scheduled MY two-hour sessions with MY tutor several days a week. The first hour was just the warmup! Moreover, she always typed up notes from our sessions, which I would review to further reinforce our session. Admittedly, I always shared Marina's insightful lessons and notes with my classmates to help them learn and understand Russian more easily and with less frustration.
Lastly, choosing an unfamiliar person from a list to help you with something, is always like playing Russian roulette - you don’t know what the outcome will be. But I am so glad that I chose Marina to be MY tutor.
Caecenia marcel // USG Employee, Washington, DC
The Metro Club provides a practical approach to learning Russian
I have a Russian background, but my Russian was limited to conversational Russian with my relatives, and now only with my mother. We frequently intersperse American words. Before joining Metro Club, I was not studying. I tried reviewing my grammar books but learning modern Russian via grammar books is extremely cumbersome and dull.
I decided to join Metro Club after reading Marina’s approach to learning Russian. I thought that her approach was exactly what I needed.
The Metro Club program is excellent. The approach provides a practical approach to learning Russian. The materials are logically presented and are interesting to work with.
As for my private lessons with Marina, I can say, without reservation, that Marina is by far the best teacher I have ever had. Quite obviously, she is extremely knowledgeable regarding the Russian language, but in addition, she knows how to teach the language. She has quickly determined my level and focused her approach in a way that maximizes my learning.
Now not only has my comprehension improved, but I feel much more comfortable engaging in conversations. Russians have noticed because instead of switching to English, conversations now continue in Russian. Subsequent conversations start and continue in Russian.
I give Metro Club my highest and unreserved recommendation. If you want to learn Russian, this is the program for you. Also, if you can, you should not hesitate to work directly with Marina. You will be glad you did!
Paul Kozachenko // Lawyer, United States
Online Russian language school for Russian learners at Intermediate and higher levels.