With impeccable skills in speaking English and native Russian, Sergey Gordeev presented to a library filled to the brim with Staten Island Tech students on March 16th. With great detail and vigor, he talked about his travels and the projects he has worked on as an announcer on international television. Traveling all over his home country, he was able to recite bits of trivia that painted a picture of the sights he’d seen on his travels as well as the rich history in every corner.
Studying English from the young age of 14, Mr. Gordeev went to the very prestigious “Russian Harvard”: Mrs. Ushakova’s nickname for Moscow State University. It was there that Gordeev studied English and eventually surpassed his professor with his English skills. After working as a Russian-English interpreter, Sergey eventually moved to America and went to a Texas university on a scholarship and then Columbia University. Afterwards, he started his career as a television speaker, appearing on channels like Fox and National Geographic. He played clips of his travels from National Geographic, where he spoke about the deep history of cities in Russia.
After his inspirational speech, where he stressed the importance of communication and doing what you love, I had the opportunity to speak with him quickly while he was passing to his next presentation with Ms. Maslyukova.
Q: You talked about how important language and communication is, I was just wondering if you ever studied or are interested in possibly studying another language?
A: Yeah, I have studied French because when I was in university we had a foreign language requirement. My native language was Russian, so they wouldn’t let me use Russian. Their native language was English, so I had to pick something else. I picked French and I have a decent command of the language but not like, y’know, awesome.
Q: Of all your travels, has there been one that has stood out to you?
A: Yes. What stood out to me actually, and it sounds weird, but I am from Russia, I was in Moscow, but I like got a chance to travel around Moscow and I think what’s very beautiful just as an experience, if you’re from somewhere it doesn’t mean you know where you’re from. You know what I mean? So like, rediscovering your own place which you think you know but you don’t until you take time to actually take in different parts of it, that’s a beautiful experience. To me, actually, the highlight for me was getting to know my country while traveling around.
Q: You seem so well versed in history, was that another one of your passions as well?
A: That is something that I ended up knowing a lot about because each place you visit you can only understand in context. You cannot understand the United States outside of the context that 300 years ago it was just a colony and before that it was just another colony, and before that it was indigenous people. So you can’t understand the U.S. without knowing it is only a 300 years young country of immigrants. Wherever you go educate yourself about where you’re going and your understanding of the place will be completely different.
And after that, he was rushed into another class to inspire a new set of students. It was great to see how dedication and commitment to one thing can lead to so many opportunities for someone. You can watch his National Geographic installments about Russian history, including how Russians make tea, here.