Busuu Russian Review: Can You Learn Russian Through This App?

By Ari Helderman
May 2, 2022

It’s a funny thing: naming your language app after an almost extinct African language. I guess the creators of the app just wanted a name for their app that sounds al right – or they might have been onto something with the name. Trying to make sure that languages don’t go insane – one speaker at a time. If you’re interested in using apps for language learning – then there’s one app that we haven’t yet talked about: Busuu. And especially for Russian. So if you like to use apps for learning Russian, then don’t miss this Busuu Russian review today!

Busuu Russian review

As we said in the introduction, Busuu is an app that can teach you a whole bunch of languages (among: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Spanish (European and Mexican), and Turkish). So you can use it not just for Russian.

Now, the app comes in 2 tiers: free and premium. While I haven’t checked out the premium version, it comes with some extra features such as more in-depth grammar explanations and quizzes to test your knowledge.

However, as with most free apps/trials of Russian courses. Why not try it out before you sign up? You’ll get a good feeling for how the app/course works + you’ll learn some new things. And since there are many different methods out there… why not try a couple and see which one click the most with you?

The app mainly works as a flashcard deck. As you know flashcards – and the added spaced repetition are one of the most effective ways to learn vocabulary. So let’s find out if Busuu does this well enough if you’re learning Russian.

Watch this video where I tell you in Russian (with English subtitles) 9 reasons why Russian is actually easy to learn.

2 Types of people that will benefit from learning Russian with Busuu

In general I feel that there are 2 types of people that would benefit the most from using Busuu for learning Russian. Here they are – see if you identify:

  • People that are new to learning Russian and want to get a quick overview of a couple of common-used phrases/words – if you’re flying to Russia in a couple weeks/months, and your Russian isn’t up to par yet, then I highly recommend you download Busuu to at least learn the basics of Russian. You won’t have to be fluent when you get there, but Busuu will help you get down the basics such as introducing yourself, saying hi/goodbye and will help you make a good impression.
  • People that knew some Russian before but want a quick refresher course – if you’ve done Russian courses before and are looking for an easy way to get your knowledge back, apps are good for that. And Busuu can be of a lot of help.

5 Benefits of the Busuu method

#1Native speakers correct your speech

We haven’t touched on this one today – but it’s the main strength of what sets Busuu apart from other language apps such as Memrise or Duolingo. You see, with Busuu you can get personalized feedback on how YOU pronounce a word.

The way this works is pretty ingenuine – like many other crowdsourced ideas. Since most people who want to learn a new language speak 1 or 2 languages fluent themselves – they can easily give feedback to someone who is learning their own native language. So let’s say you’re English and you’re learning Russian. There are a lot of Russian people out there who want to learn English. So they’re on the app too – but learning English. So you give them feedback on their pronunciation – while they give you yours.

#2 Conversations with native speakers

In the same vein, you also can have conversations with native speakers. This is always a good thing, although the quality of speakers might be a bit less than if you’d be actually paying for a lesson (through Italki for instance). But this is a good feature nonetheless and can help you a lot if you’re hard-pressed to get some practice in Russian.

#3 App – so you can learn it anywhere

Might be obvious – but apps have a serious advantage over desktop courses. You can literally practice anywhere. In the line for the grocery store? Why not do a quick 5-minute lesson? Sitting in the train/metro/bus commuting to work? Again same story – you’d be crazy not to use this valuable time to do a Russian lesson.

busuu review
Busuu Russian review: The main benefit of learning Russian through an app is that you can practice literally anywhere!

#4 Good overview of each lessons structure

Having good structure in a course is a very important thing – especially if you’re just starting out with a language. You don’t know what you don’t know and therefore it’s the apps role to guide your through the process of learning the basics. Busuu does this well with a clear overview of what you’re going to learn before each lesson.

Plus each lesson is structured in such a way that it builds upon material in the last lesson. This is called scaffolding and allows you to make a lot of progress in a short period of time.

If you’re looking for a more effective way to learn Russian, you can try Russianpod101.

#5 Good for learning vocabulary

Since it’s a flashcard app, it’s a good way for learning vocabulary – especially speaking vocabulary. Even though the mnemonics sections at times aren’t as good as the Memrise app, the fact that you’re getting feedback on your spoken Russian is very valuable. Especially in the beginning since you won’t ingrain a specific mistake into your brain.

Conclusion Busuu Russian review

Signing up for Busuu is a pretty no-brainer. The free version is free, so why not check out the app yourself? You’ll validate everything you’ve read in this Busuu Russian review + you’ll learn some valuable Russian lessons.

Although, like we said earlier: I think the main group of people who’d benefit from this app are beginner learners who want to get the basics down. If this is you, then I highly recommend you check out the Busuu website.

P.S. If you’re a more intermediate learner and want to get to fluency faster – I’d recommend you sign up for Russianpod101. It’s paid – but does a better job at the intermediate levels of learning Russian.

What should you do next?

Learning Russian does NOT need to be difficult. All you need is a solid plan that helps you improve the following things daily:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

That's ALL you need. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll already be making great progress in your Russian skills.

And the best part? If you improve a little bit every day, soon these practices will become daily habits.

And then you will start making progress on autopilot.

This means that learning Russian is now a part of your daily routine. So you won’t even need discipline anymore to get yourself to practice.

If you like the idea of this, but don’t know where to start, go here for more information.

About the Author

My name is Ari Helderman and I help people learn Russian through videos and blog posts where I share my experience.   I have been learning Russian since 2016. I often get mistaken for a native speaker these days, so I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't if you want to speak Russian well.

Ari Helderman