Villagers in four-week high school credit sessions at Lesnoe Ozero gain an academic year’s worth of language and culture skills through an immersion experience embedded in daily life, featuring a variety of cultural activities as well as formal study and assessment (minimum of 180 instructional hours; accredited by AdvancED). Emphasis is on literacy and oracy. Open to students entering grades 9-12 of all proficiency levels. Credit classes are taught by one qualified teacher and usually have six to eight students. While lessons are interactive, hands-on and fun, they are also serious study, and very intense.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are classes like?
Because of our small classes, we can take you from your current level of Russian and guide you through a year of coursework in a month’s time. Our program is intense and fast-paced, fun and interactive. What sets us apart is our focus on helping you use your Russian in many aspects of village life outside the “classroom.”

On any given day, you might participate in a mock fashion show, sharpen your negotiation skills while trying to convince the camp Babushka that you really have eaten enough, or gather some oral history from staff who experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What if I don’t know Russian?
You will not be alone. Each summer we get a number of students with little to no Russian, in addition to many more proficient students who enjoy serving as guides and navigators for beginners. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick it up, and how easily you’ll understand where to go and what to do, thanks to staff who are highly skilled and specifically trained in language immersion methodology. In fact, after a week, most beginners are ready to take our immersion challenge and become a “hero of the Russian language,” a voluntary opportunity to speak only Russian all day long.

What if I speak Russian at home or grew up speaking Russian?
The credit program has a dedicated curriculum that addresses the learning goals of our heritage students. You will explore the Russian language with a teacher from a Russian-speaking country, and you might find yourself re-enacting a Pushkin play you read in class, debating politics or imagining the story behind a famous Russian painting. Learn more about the heritage program.

What do we do besides class?

While Lesnoe Ozero is an intensive language immersion experience, we are also at our core a camp: we swim, canoe, camp out and roast marshmallows around the campfire. You will also have the chance to make khokhloma, practice archery, learn to dance the troika, debate in Model UN or sit by the shore of the lake reading poetry. Oh, and we do it all in Russian!

What do we eat?
Our кухня is amazing! We eat authentic cuisine from all over the Russian-speaking world. Borscht, pelmeni and blini are some of our favorites — plus, of course, the tasty Russian snack foods available in our kiosk.

What is the site like?
Our program is unique in its beautiful natural surroundings. We are nestled in the north woods of Minnesota, on the shores of Turtle River Lake, which allows us to offer swimming and boating activities. Our site is a little taste of Russia with our log cabins, banya, gardens and a rich ecosystem in our protected wetlands — affectionately known as “Baba Yaga’s Swamp.”

Who are our teachers?
Our teachers come from diverse backgrounds, but share a love of the Russian language and making learning enjoyable. The majority of our faculty hold graduate degrees and are native or highly proficient speakers.

Will the credit program help me in college?
Lesnoe Ozero is excellent preparation for a college Russian program. Whether you are a beginner who wants to go into your first college class with confidence, or an advanced speaker who wants to make sure you can test out of the basic language requirements, the intensity and depth of the Lesnoe Ozero program can get you where you need to go.

Typical Day

Time Activity
8:00-8:20 Доброе утро (wake up)
8:30-8:40 Подъём флага (flag raising)
8:50-9:10 Завтрак (breakfast)
9:30-9:50 Уборка (cabin cleaning time)
10:00-10:45 Урок (language class)
10:50-11:35 Урок (language class)
11:35-11:45 Полдник (snack)
11:45-12:30 Урок (language class)
12:40-13:15 Пение (singing)
13:25-14:00 Обед (lunch)
14:10-14:55 Свободное время I (free time)
14:55-15:40 Тихий час (quiet hour)
15:45-16:30 Свободное время II (free time)
16:35-17:20 Час культуры II (culture hour)
17:30-18:15 Урок (language class)
18:25-18:35 Спуск флага/почта (flag lowering and mail)
18:45-19:15 Ужин (supper)
19:35-19:50 Костёр (campfire)
20:00-20:45 Вечерняя программа (evening program)
20:55-21:25 Время заниматься (study hall)
21:55-22:10 Земство (cabin meeting)
22:10 Спокойной ночи! (bedtime!)