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Do as Phillips Academy students do – 5 things you should definitely see and try when in Russia

Back in June Enjoy Russian school was happy to welcome in Petrozavodsk a group of students from Phillips Academy, Andover, USA. 1 Russian summer Camp, 10 participants, 2 American tutors and 2 Russian teachers, thousands of pictures and new Russian words! Let’s recall summer days and take a look at 5 things our Russian learners from America liked the most.

  • Excursion to the Museum of Fine Arts. It was not only informative but also interactive. After excursion with a guide, who told about iconography, Russian and Karelian painters boys and girls took part in a master class. They made Karelian souvenirs by their own – eco-bags with traditional Karelian ornament.
  • Trip to the marble canyon Ruskeala was one of the highlights. Good weather, sunshine and beautiful views on the way accompanied our group. Mountain park, that is another name of this place, was the main resource of marble, all palaces in Saint-Petersburg are made from marble, that was mined in Ruskeala. Nowadays you can take an excursion with a guide around the canyon and even watch the underground life of it.
  • Do you know a traditional Karelian musical instrument Kantele? And students of Phillips Academy even tried to play. They’ve been to workshops of “House of Kantele”, and also learned about the creation of traditional costumes and kantele. After that they enjoyed dancing traditional Karelian and Finish dances.
  • “House of dolls” is another interesting place to learn more about Russian culture. The central exhibition hall is devoted to the Russian fairy tales. The special hall named “Karelian spirits and Brownies of Kizhi” is a favorite place of visitors. In this place you are getting to the world of Russian folk house and nature spirits: brownies, witches, leshy (wood demon), vodyanoy (water demon), rusalka (undine) and many others.
  • To visit Petrozavodsk and not to take a walk on Kizhi Island is a big oversight. Kizhi Island is an open-air museum and UNESCO heritage. Just take a look, such great photos were taken by our group there! Also, they tried to make traditional belts, which were in Karelian villages.

Do we have anything to add to the list? YES, WE DO! In their free time participants enjoyed time with volunteers and Russian hosts – cooked delicacies, went to cafes and exhibitions, movies and food parties.

Let’s ask students what Russian experience they liked the most:

Sophia Witt: I had a very pleasant time and my Russian language skills grew. I would definitely return. It is an amazing experience if you want to grow your understanding of Russian language and culture.
Going to the dacha and the banya with my host family is the most remarkable episode.

Emma Kaplon: I grew more comfortable just having a conversation or being able to stare my opinion and learned about foods which I didn’t know before. I think the most helpful things were the debates and asking people for directions. The volunteers were very helpful. I spent a lot of time with them and I grew so much with my language skills, forgetting a lot of time about the language barrier and just feeling like teenagers having a normal conversation.

Sima Shmuylovich: My host family was amazing! Highlight of the trip I love them. All my requirements were met and they did so much more than they had to. Really went above and beyond. I really enjoyed the traditional dancing class and the ballet. I’s a great chance to learn so much, enjoy yourself and you get to see Russia from a more insider perspective.

We made this video right after Ben presented his SONG IN RUSSIAN on the last day of classes: