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Busuu Review

Tuesday, February 7th

2023 Russian Lesson Reviews

Busuu Review 4 Star Rating

Busuu

4 Star Rating
  • Learn Russian for travel or for general studies
  • 14-day money-back guarantee on paid memberships
  • Placement test available for more advanced Russian students
  • Personalized study plans with Premium Plus membership
  • Certification testing available

Busuu is an endangered language in Cameroon - and it's also the name of a great language learning platform. An independent study revealed that using Busuu's Premium service for just 22 hours delivers the equivalent of a full semester of college Russian lessons - at a fraction of the cost.

Answer several questions to create no-cost account

To get started with Busuu, you'll create a free account with your name and email address (or any email address and name, since Busuu doesn't require you to verify your account to use their service). Next, specify if you're studying Russian to help with your education, develop professionally, learn for fun and culture, communicate with friends and family, or feel like a local when you travel. This will help you get lessons best suited for your goals. Then, indicate what fluency level you'd like to achieve: Beginner A1 (introductions and simple questions), Elementary A2 (socializing in Russian), Intermediate B1 (able to talk about favorite foods, movies, TV shows, etc.), or Upper Intermediate B2 (able to understand most of a TV show or movie).

Get a study plan

You'll also be asked which days of the week you plan to study, at what time of day, and for how many minutes, as well as whether or not you want Busuu to give you study reminders. At that point, Busuu should provide you with a study plan - but our results were a little off. For example, we were told that to go from an absolute beginner to a B2 level of fluency, it would be possible in a single day. We think they meant to put it as a year into the future, because short of a Matrix-like download of Russian directly into the brain, there's just no way to learn that much in 24 hours.

Lessons for travel or for general learning

As an aside, we appreciate how Busuu breaks their Russian lessons down into "complete" and "for travel" : why learn advanced verb conjugations and vocabulary you won't need if your focus is getting around in the country and having a terrific vacation?

Study any level at any time

Let's say you're starting Russian from the beginning. What can you expect when using Busuu? First off, there is TONS of free content! At the Beginner A1 level alone, there are more than 60 lessons to work through, ranging from basics like the Russian alphabet and introductions to noun genders and pronunciation exercises for hard and soft consonants. Across the four language levels offered here, there are nearly 150 total lessons to study - and it's helpful that you can move around at will and study any topic regardless of order. That's one perk offered by Busuu that you won't necessarily find elsewhere: the ability to study what you need, when you need it. If you've already got some experience with the language, Busuu can help you review what you know and still keep learning new things.

Best Russian Lessons

Costs

  • Free for Basic membership
  • Premium membership: $9.99/month
  • Premium Plus membership: $13.99/month
  • Discounts available when you pay for 12 or 24 months in advance

Get a paid plan for the most features

As you work through Busuu's free content, you'll start to see that not all features are enabled unless you pay for a subscription. Premium costs $9.99/month and gives you the ability to access your Russian lessons in offline mode, includes in-depth grammar lessons, and uses AI to customize your review sessions. Premium Plus is $13.99/month, and you'll need that tier if you want a personalized study plan, to get your fluency level certified through official tests offered by McGraw Hill, or to get feedback on your spoken and written Russian from other Busuu users (though you can give feedback to others if you just have a basic account, and you can also get limited feedback on your Russian responses to Busuu's Photos of the Week). You can also save money if you pay for your Busuu subscription on a 12- or 24-month plan instead of month-to-month.

One language at a time with free plans

One small disadvantage to using Busuu: if you plan on studying more than just Russian, you'll have to choose a paid membership. Their free Basic account only lets you access one language at a time, unfortunately.

Watch out for automatic renewals

Busuu gets mixed reviews from students. We found more than 10,000 ratings from users, and only half of them gave this platform a perfect five stars. About 20% of Busuu's ratings were average, poor or bad - but most complaints centered around the company's limited 14-day refund policy and automatic renewals. If you pay for an annual or a 2-year membership and you miss the reminder email about your upcoming renewal, you won't get a refund if you didn't want to re-up your plan.

Worth it to try it out for free

There's still plenty to love about Busuu. Not many Russian language providers give you as much content across so many levels, at absolutely no charge. You could easily use Busuu for years and not run out of things to learn, even without a paid membership. Give Busuu's basic account a try, and if you decide to subscribe, we recommend you start with a month-to-month plan so that you're not out very much money if you forget to cancel. (You can always upgrade to a 12-month plan later if you want the bigger discounts!)

What's the Best Way to Learn Russian?

If you're interested in learning the language, you likely already realize that it's going to be more challenging than some. First off, Russian uses a completely different alphabet, Cyrillic, from what you're using right now to read in English. Training your mind to recognize the new symbols and the sounds they make (or to make different sounds using letters that look similar between Cyrillc and the Roman alphabet) can take some time.

You'll also have to master a grammatical system that's quite different from English. Do you know the difference between the nominative case and the dative case? It's okay if you don't - because of the six cases used in Russian, we only use three in modern English.

The Best Russian Lessons Compare Russian Lessons Compare Russian Lesson Reviews What are the best Russian Lessons Best Russian Lesson Reviews

Russian Lesson FAQ

A lot! Estimates range from 150-250 million people around the globe who speak Russian as their first language. It's one of the six official languages designated by the UN (along with Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, French and Spanish), the most spoken native language in Europe, and the most geographically widespread language in all of Eurasia. Russian is the official language of Russia (of course), Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and widely used in most of the former USSR nations.
Yes, but with few exceptions, Russian speakers all understand each other. People often refer to the "literary language" of Russian, used in all major cities throughout Russia. Beyond that, you'll find regional accents and vocabulary - but the type of Russian you'll learn in any class will be the commonly-accepted one.
We'll be honest: it's challenging! From the Cyrillic alphabet to grammatical differences, Russian is quite different from English, and we don't really borrow enough vocabulary from Russian for it to be familiar as we learn it. It's not quite as hard as Arabic, Japanese or Chinese (according to the US State Department, anyway!), and if you work diligently and consistently, you should be able to learn as much Russian as you like.
You have to start by learning the Cyrillic alphabet. It's got 33 letters, some of which are familiar from our Latin alphabet, and some that will be completely new - and most of which won't be pronounced the same as what you use in English! From there, basic vocabulary will help you with day-to-day needs like asking for directions or buying things in the market, but shape your learning according to how you plan to use Russian (on vacation, in business, and so on).
Unless you live in a college town, it might be your only option! Russian lessons aren't easy to come by in person, so going with an online platform ensures that you can learn when and where you like, for as long as you wish. They're also much more affordable than college tuition!
If you're studying Russian online, you will need to enable the language on your computer. Search for the steps you'll have to take on your operating system (PC or Mac). Otherwise, there are online Russian keyboard sites where you can copy-paste characters one by one (but that will get a little tedious).
They're quite affordable. You can choose between two options: monthly subscriptions or one-time purchase. Most month-to-month plans are less than $25/month, while one-off Russian lesson packages are anywhere from $50 to $700. All of the Russian lesson programs we found were much cheaper than paying for a semester of college tuition!
That varies. For monthly subscriptions, you may be able to cancel your recurring payments without a refund of what you paid previously. If you buy a package of Russian lessons (online, CDs), you may be protected by a 30- or 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to understand the terms of any Russian language platform you're considering before you make your purchase, and take advantage of any free lesson samples or trial periods the service offers.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Feeling discouraged? Don't be! Russian is ranked as a Level III language by the US State Department, marking it merely as a "hard" language and not as difficult as Level IV languages like Arabic or Chinese. Whew! And with the right type of Russian lessons, you could find yourself reading, writing, understanding and speaking the language more fluently than you imagined.

So, what makes a Russian language program the "right type" ? Some of that depends on you. Do you learn best by reading detailed explanations of grammar or by learning useful words and phrases in context? Do you like your learning to feel like playing games or do you prefer a more straightforward, traditional approach? If you're not sure about the answers to any of those questions, that's fine: most Russian lessons have a free lesson or give you limited access to the platform so you can try it for yourself. Put a few providers to the test and see which ones keep coming to mind - or which approach helps what you've learned to "stick" the best!

Generally speaking, there are a few factors that can make a particular system for learning Russian better than another. Those include:

  • Ease of Use. How intuitive is it to move through each lesson, and from one topic to another? Is it clear what you're supposed to learn next? The more comfortable you are with the app, materials, or however the Russian lessons are delivered, the more likely you are to stick with it and keep making progress.
  • Value. Some Russian lessons involve a monthly or yearly subscription, while others have a one-time cost. How much will you get for what you pay? Will you have enough content to keep you busy for as long as you intend to study the language? Does your paid membership or one-off fee add a significant number of features or materials beyond what the service may offer for free?
  • Refund Policy. If you purchase a long-term subscription or pay for an entire program upfront, can you get your money back if it doesn't live up to your expectations?
  • Reputation. Have other people been successful using the service to learn Russian?

TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top resources for learning Russian online. We're confident that this information will help you choose the Russian lessons that will boost your fluency in no time!

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