Testimonials

Vernon S.
Student (intermediate level)
New York, NY

"I just completed my Russian 2 class with the brilliant Ivan Savvine. if you don't know already, Russian is a HUGE challenge for nonnative speakers. This is my fourth language, this is by far THE hardest. Ivan made the enormous complexities of Russian grammar understandable by breaking them down into smaller manageable chunks. He has a thorough understanding of the language which is evident in the way he teaches and handles with ease the often confusing aspects (confusing even to native speakers) of Russian grammar. Interestingly enough, though he is from Russia he has a better grasp of English than people born here!

Before this course I understood very little of what I was reading in Russian. By the end I my reading and writing had improved tremendously."

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Emma
Student (advanced level)
New York, NY

I have been studying Russian in one form or another for many years and have had many, many teachers and tutors.  Ivan has been the best tutor I have ever had, by far.  He is unbelievably astute, intelligent, and conscientious.  Not only does he clearly know the nuances of Russian language pedagogy forward and backward (how to explain difficult grammatical concepts; how to differentiate between English and Russian grammar and syntax in a way that is helpful for a non-native speaker; what the best methods are for improving students' oral and written skills, etc), but he is incredibly sensitive to each students' individual needs, and especially to the emotional and psychological aspects of learning a new language.  In other words, Ivan knows very well that we speak better when we feel comfortable, supported, and encouraged, and he does an amazing job doing these things, while at the same time also being rigorous.  He tailors his lessons to his students' particular interests, and does work in between sessions to figure out what methods, readings, and exercises would be not only most helpful, but also most interesting, for each student.  I think I have never spoken Russian better than when I was speaking with Ivan.  It helps that he is a lovely, warm person and genuinely fun to talk to.  Please look no further for a Russian tutor!

Darian Anderson Worrell 
Opera Vocalist (Russian language coaching for stage)
Salzburg, Austria 

I was tasked with performing the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin as my Master’s Diplom Role at the Universität Mozarteum. This was going to be a daunting process. I had never sung in the Russian language, let alone perform one of the most revered pieces of the Opera Repertory. With direct prose as the libretto from none other than the father of Russian Literature, Alexander Pushkin, I had a huge undertaking to accomplish within a three month frame. I immediately sought the instruction and guidance from Ivan Savvine on how to dissect the libretto. Naturally we begun with the phonetics and dissecting the syntax of the Russian language. However, Mr. Savvine’s instruction did not stop there. What was truly mesmerizing was Mr. Savvine’s expansive knowledge of Literature, Art, Instrumental and Vocal Music which lent itself perfectly to the all encompassing world of Opera. My language inflection and declamation were not just based on the rules of pronunciation but encouraged and fueled through discussions on the character development from the first words uttered by Onegin right through to the ill-fated finale. Such fine tuned and developed instruction does not fade away with the studying and learning of a new language. It is instilled to the core of my connection with the Russian language, Music and Psyche. The proof is in the results! With the role of Eugene Onegin, I graduated with top honors with future engagements of this role to come! Forever indebted to Ivan Savvine!  

Natasha L.
Student (intermediate/advanced)
New York, NY

I have been working with Ivan for over a year now, and my Russian skills have improved dramatically over that time.Ivan is incredibly knowledgeable and adept at tailoring lessons to my specific needs and wants. He answers questions about the complicated Russian grammar constructions for me in ways that make it easy for me to synthesize. He is extremely patient and willing to explain things as many times as I need. He keeps the lessons very interesting, catering to my tastes and topics I'm interested in professionally. Ivan also provides me with a wealth of resources to keep my practice going all week long, including homework, but also practice tools which keep me motivated between lessons.
Ivan is professional but also flexible and understanding, which is important for me as a busy professional with many competing priorities. If you're looking for a Russian teacher or tutor who makes the language less intimidating, and easier to learn and who himself keeps things fun and interesting while bringing to the table an extremely well-rounded set of teaching skills, look no further.

Kelsey
Student (intermediate/advanced)
New York, NY
 

I have been studying Russian for nearly two years now with Ivan, and I can honestly say that I don't think my skill level would be anywhere near the level it is without him. Ivan's patience is nothing short of a saint despite the infinite number of mistakes that I've made over that two-year period. Ivan tailors our lesson plan to my level, and where I am professionally. I've learned so much that relates to my school and work, which is extremely helpful as I hope to incorporate the Russian language into my career. Ivan can explain any and all of the grammatical aspects of the Russian language that are different than my native English so that they make sense to me, and helps me practice them to get them ingrained into my memory. 

Even when we are not in a lesson, Ivan is always available by text or email to answer any number of questions about the homework and lessons that I have, or to help me navigate the waters of actual communication with people in Russian. He is such a warm and humorous teacher that I am never afraid to ask him questions, and he encourages me when I am frustrated about the complicated nature of Russian. 
If you are looking for a Russian teacher, no matter your level, I advise you to reach out to Ivan. You will not be disappointed!

Melanie
Student (intermediate)
New York, NY

I've been taking private lessons with Ivan for a bit over a year now, and I am astounded by how well I'm able to communicate in a language that, only a few years ago, I knew nothing of! He is enormously intelligent and extremely adept at recognizing my unique areas of struggle, then crafting lessons to address them, directly. He doesn't let up in areas where I need improvement and presents continual challenges, all while maintaining the most incredibly positive (often hilarious) and encouraging atmosphere. My lessons are always engaging, always enjoyable and I am now solidly conversational in Russian with my Kiev-born parents-in-law! My husband could not be more impressed (both with my Russian--his first language--and with everything he overhears from Ivan when we work on Skype). I couldn't possibly recommend Ivan more highly.

Brad
Student (intermediate)
New York, NY

As a hobby I take five different language classes simultaneously on a weekly basis (7-8 classes) using 5 different tutors. I have also gone to a language school (ie BERLITZ) and have had numerous other teachers over the years. 

Point being, that I am pretty adept at vetting out only the best tutors. And I want to say that Ivan ranks up there are being one of the best that I have ever had.

I have really taken enormous benefit from his 'all-round" approach to teaching which includes a big focus on grammar as well as listening to audio, doing reading and writing exercises, conversations, and, helping me to create every day conversations which I can use daily in New York. I am constantly delighted and bemused at the reaction that many Russians have had in New York when I open my mouth to speak and this has really helped motivate me to push myself harder. I have actually seen more progress in the shortest period of time learning and using Russian than any of the other languages.

Daina 
Student (beginner)
New York, NY

Ivan is an extremely competent teacher of Russian; he structures the curriculum intuitively, explains grammatical rules crispy, and is always well prepared for our lessons. Moreover, he is energetic at the end of a long day, reliable, and accommodating as conflicts arise.

Learning Russian with Ivan has been a pleasure and I'm very satisfied with how much we've accomplished in the first six months.

Laura and Mike
Students (intermediate/heritage speaker)
New York, NY

Ivan has been a really wonderful teacher to both me and my husband, Mike. Mike is a native speaker but needed help with grammar and the complex case system whereas I was learning the basics. Ivan manages to
gear our lessons to our differing levels in a way that engages us both, which is a challenge!

Ivan is very funny and helps us make sense of the weird quirks of Russian grammar. We are really enjoying learning from him and hope to keep studying until mastery!

 
Nick
Student (intermediate)
New York, NY

Ivan is everything I'd want in an instructor. During the two years that I've studied with him, he's been remarkably perceptive about my weak spots (and my strengths), and he tailors lessons and homework assignments accordingly. He knows just what I need to work on. His background in linguistics helps immensely. When he teaches vocabulary, he explains etymology, demonstrating the connections between the word at hand and other words I already know. When he teaches grammatical concepts, he can always convey how Russian differs structurally from English. In a word, it's holistic. And when we're concentrating on conversation skills, or drilling on grammatical rules that I'm trying to memorize, his patience seems endless.

He's also been gracious and flexible about scheduling. During periods when I've needed to pause my lessons, he's always found time for me when I wanted to resume. He seems to have a real devotion to teaching. I can't recommend him highly enough.