Russian Slang and Idioms. Lesson 15.

Back to school words in RussianIt’s back to school time! If you are going back to school this season, I hope you are feeling refreshed after the long summer, and excited about your new studying term. I decided to dedicate today’s lesson to the back to school vocabulary in Russian to help you get into the season’s spirit. You’ve probably noticed that every store is preparing (or is already prepared) for the “back to school” season: tons of different notepads, colored pencils, pens, rulers, organizers are being displayed festively on the store shelves. Бери – не хочу!

If you are not familiar with this  Russian saying: “Бери – не хочу!”, it means “plenty of”, “abundance”, “enough” and is used to say that there is so much of something that it’s more than enough for everyone. Here, you learned a new Russian idiom just now!

Russian idiom

Well, I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, bought all your supplies by now, and are ready to learn Russian! Now, let’s learn some “back to school” vocabulary in Russian.

Let’s start with the basics:

Школа [SHKO-la] school
Колледж [KO-lyedsh] college
Училище [oo-CHEE-lee-shchye] specialized school, college
Институт [een-stee-TOOT] school, institution
Университет [oo-nee-vyer-see-TYET] university
Высшее учебное заведение [VIS-shee-ye oo-CHYEB-na-ye za-vee-DYE-nee-ye] institute of higher education

If shortened высшее учебное заведение becomes ВУЗ:
ВУЗ [VOOS] institute of higher education

The school year is usually divided into:

Четверть [CHYET-vyert’] quarter
Симестр [see-MYESTR] semester

Our teachers are:

Учитель [oo-CHEE-tyel’] teacher
Учительница [oo-CHEE-tyel’-nee-tsa] female teacher
Преподаватель [pree-pa-da-VA-tyel’] teacher, tutor, professor
Преподавательница [pree-pa-da-VA-tyel’-nee-tsa] teacher, professor

Домашнее задание [da-MASH-nyee-ye za-DA-nee-ye] homework
Упражнение [oop-razh-NYE-nee-ye] exercise


School supplies in Russian:

Карандаш [ka-ran-DASH] pencil
Ручка [ROOCH-ka] pen
Тетрадь [teet-RAT’] notebook, notepad
Блокнот [blak-NOT] notepad
Книга [KNEE-ga] book
Словарь [sla-VAR’] dictionary

Линейка [lee-NYEY-ka] ruler
Резинка [ree-ZEEN-ka] eraser

school words in Russian
Since we all are digital nowadays, here are a few digital words (learn more computer words in Russian in my article Speak like a Geek: Computer Words in Russian):

Планшет [plan-SHYET] tablet
Ноутбук [na-oot-BOOK] notebook, laptop
Компьютер [kam-P’YOO-tyer] computer
Мышка [MISH-ka] mouse

Парта [PAR-ta] desk
Класс [KLAS] classroom, grade
Аудитория [a-oo-dee-TO-ree-ya] classroom
Библиотека [beeb-lee-a-TYE-ka] library

Курс [KOORS] course
Предмет [preed-MYET] school subject

A few interesting verbs related to school and studying:

Учиться [oo-CHEE-tsa] to study
Учить [oo-CHEET’] to study, to teach
Изучать [ee-zoo-CHAT’] to study

Думать [DOO-mat’] think
Решать [ree-SHAT’] solve (a problem)
Понимать [pa-nee-MAT’] understand
Писать [pee-SAT’] write
Читать [chee-TAT’] read
Слушать [SLOO-shat’] listen
Рисовать [ree-sa-VAT’] draw

When it comes to the tests and exams, these are the Russian words you will need to know:
Экзамен [eek-ZA-myen] exam, test

Now let’s take a look at these two words cдавать and cдать. Сдавать indicates on the process and it means “taking the test”, while cдать indicates on the successful completion of the action, and in this case it means passing the test.

Сдавать экзамен [SDAT’ eek-ZA-meen] take the test
Сдать экзамен [SDAT’ eek-ZA-meen] pass the test

And, of course, there is sometimes this option as well…
Провалить экзамен [pra-va-LEET’ eek-ZA-myen] fail the test

Here is a quick infographic to help you practice some of the new words:


back to school in Russian infographic 600

These are all of the words I wanted to share with you. I hope you will enjoy this new season!

I’ll talk to you very soon!

Study with Maxim Achkasov


The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.