Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude (noun): pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune

I have a friend who’s American. I like her a lot: we’ve eaten meals together, seen plays together, and talked about Russian history and politics together. Oh, did I mention that she’s a fellow Russian language learner?

But I’m also jealous of her because she has done loads of study abroad programs all over Europe. She’s spent the past consecutive fourteen months or so in various European countries, and one of those countries happens to be Russia.

All in all, she has spent approximately six months (by my estimation) in Russian-speaking countries. People automatically assume that she speaks better Russian than I do because I have not studied abroad in a Russian-speaking country.

The thing is, my friend does not speak very good Russian. She still makes basic grammar and spelling errors. She places the stress on the incorrect syllable in certain words. Her pronunciation in general is not that great. (I fully admit that mine is not perfect, either.) Is it terrible that I have a tinge of schadenfreude about the fact that, even after all over her studying abroad, I still manage to speak better Russian than she does?

Zsuzsi posted about a similar situation, when one’s hard-earned language abilities go unnoticed. I suppose there is not much one can do, aside from holding one’s head high and hoping that high-level language abilities will speak for themselves.

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