Fiona Hill is a British-American expert on Russian affairs. She speaks Russian fluently. She was born and raised in a coal mining community in the North East of England and still retains her robust northern English accent.
She has no family connections to Russia but decided to learn Russian on the advice of an uncle who, at a time of rising tensions between the West and the Soviet Union, thought that promoting understanding between the two sides would be fruitful. As the daughter of a struggling coal miner, she was granted funding by a coal miner’s union to begin her studies of the Russian language and was then accepted into the Russian language program at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
She spent a year studying at the Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow and she earned a master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University. She then went on to be appointed to the US National Security Council and to advise three presidents of the United States on Russian and European affairs. She has also worked in a number of foreign relations institutions and think-tanks. She authored several books about Russia including an autobiography entitled “There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century” published in 2021.
We have reached out to Fiona asking her what is her secret for language learning success and for her Five Top Language Learning Tips. We will get back to you when we hear back from her. Stay tuned.