I began studying Russian at school when I was thirteen years old and ever since I have constantly be asked the question; 'Why do you study Russian?' Depending on who my audience is depends slightly on what my answer is.
A typical conversation will go a little something like this;
Conversant: So, what do you do?
Me: I've just finished doing an MA at UCL.
C: Oh, in what?
C: OH MY GOD! YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN?! Why did you choose that?
Me: Yes I do, my school had it as a language option. I took it, did it to GCSE, enjoy it, then A-Level, enjoyed it, decided to do it for BA Degree, loved it, so decided to do it for MA.
C: So, like, are you Russian?
Me: No, I'm from the West Country.
C: Oh, so not Russian then?
C: But, like, so why did you do it for Degree?
Me: (usualy reply) because I find the language a challenge, I love the literature, especially Tolstoy, and the cinema, and the culture, and well every thing about it is just interesting to me.
C: You must like Vodka then?
C: So you're been there?
Me: Yes, I lived in Moscow etc etc
C: Are you a Communist? You must be if you study Russian?
Me: ha! No! I'm a Conservative.
C: oh, *slightly stunned silence* but you speak Russian? Tell me some Russian!
So after about 10 years of this, or other very similar conversations, I have decided to change my answer. From now on if I am asked why it is that I study Russian I shall simply reply; 'Because I have a massive vodka addiction, I love snow, and Russian pop stars like Sergei Lazarev are really attractive.' In short, alcohol, snow and hot men. I will then direct their attention, should this conversation take place near my iPhone, to this video, although those of a sensative disposition may want to look away now;
Disclaimer: If you are a potential future employer then my answer to why I study Russian will be a much more sensible, educated and professional answer. Also if you are a potential future employer please hire me!