Lesnoe Ozero Blog

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Oh, the Places You'll Go (With Russian)

Published: May 15, 2018

We've all seen how Lesnoe Ozero offers a rewarding experience for Villagers of all ages -- but did you know that Russian can open many doors beyond Minnesota? We talked to Nadia "Nadia" Braun and Yasha "Yasha" Hoffman, both of whom will be Fulbright Scholars during the next academic year, to learn more about how the skills they gained at Lesnoe Ozero will help them in their upcoming adventures. 

What is your experience with Lesnoe Ozero?

Nadia: I started going to Lesnoe Ozero when I was 10. My mom had been a counselor there many years before, and she knew what a fantastic community it was. I loved my first camp experience and went back multiple times, including for high school credit. And then in college I came back to work in the kitchen.

Yasha at Lesnoe Ozero

Yasha: I was a camper for 5 years, and then a staff member in 2016 where I did social media, blogging, and photography.

What opportunities have you had to use and develop your Russian since Lesnoe Ozero?

Nadia: At the end of high school I received a National Security Language Initiative for Youth grant to study Russian in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia for a summer. That experience led me to continue studying Russian in college, including study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Yasha: I was a Russian major at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and I also participated in the Russian Flagship Program that the university has. As part of that, I studied abroad in Kazakhstan after my freshman year in the summer of 2015.

What will you be doing with your Fulbright grant?

Nadia: I will be doing an English Teaching Assistantship in Omsk, Russia! This means I will be teaching English while also serving as a cultural ambassador to the U.S.

Omsk, Russia

Yasha: I'll be a Fulbright Scholar in Almaty, Kazakhstan where I will be affiliated with Kurmangazy National conservatory. There, I'll be studying composition and the music of Kazakhstani Jews. I also want to delve into sound studies by examining how what one hears in the city can clue us into aspects of history and culture.

What's one cool thing you're hoping to get out of your time with Fulbright?

Nadia: I'm really excited to connect with the community at the university I'm placed at and the city at large. I'm also really excited to be in Siberia because I have never been to that part of Russia before!

Yasha: I'm hoping to have time to advance my craft of composition since during college I had so many other responsibilities. I'm also hoping to meet many cool musicians and artists to learn from and collaborate with!

Congratulations, Nadia and Yasha! We're proud of your accomplishments!