Embrace your spirit of adventure and join us for a virtual Russian language adventure filled with fun, laughter and learning. Villagers learn language, culture and global perspectives through their counselors, who hail from all corners of the globe. There are endless opportunities for villagers’ individuality to shine when they join us for a Lesnoe Ozero Virtual Village.
At the Russian Virtual Village, you’ll learn Russian in a virtual learning community setting. Language classes are tailored to learners of all ages and stages — whether you’re looking for an early introduction or an intensive language program, we’ll meet your level of language and help you to advance during your time at Lesnoe Ozero.
At a Lesnoe Ozero Virtual Village session, you may create khokhloma style art, take a virtual ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway or learn Russian-style tea-making. Activities are based in Russian culture and utilized to further villagers’ language acquisition.
In order to best take advantage of this interactive experience, you will need the resources necessary for e-learning (reliable internet access, a device per villager with a webcam and microphone) and any individual adaptive devices needed; headphones are recommended but not required. Use of Chromebooks is not recommended as villagers cannot access all the features of the Virtual Village platform. As a program of Concordia College, we are coordinating our efforts with the college so that all virtual platforms will have the necessary and appropriate security features to protect the privacy of users, including compliance with FERPA and COPPA.
In addition to need-based scholarships offered through the Passport Fund, the Russian Language Village is offering merit-based Global Excellence Awards. Youth interested in attending a Virtual Village program in the summer can apply for a chance to receive a $100-$200 award. Priority consideration will be given to new participants and villagers from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented at Lesnoe Ozero. Priority deadline is June 15. Please submit this form to apply.
Sara Marruffo-Blodget, Virtual One-Week Program Lead
Sara has been on staff at Lesnoe Ozero since summer 2007. She has held many roles, including credit teacher, non-credit facilitator, and curriculum developer. She studied Russian Language and Culture at Mount Holyoke College and has an MA in Language Teaching Studies from the University of Oregon, focusing on Russian as a second language, as well as novice-level language learners. In addition to her work at Lesnoe Ozero, she has worked at summer camps in both Moscow and Tyumen, Russia. During the school year, she teaches middle school Spanish in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her family.
Mary Masha Bleeker, Club Lesnoe Ozero Lead Teacher
Masha has been on staff at Lesnoe Ozero for over 15 years. She started as a teacher in the two-week heritage program and has worked as an art program director, mentor counselor and assistant dean. She has also worked as an office assistant in the Concordia Language Villages Moorhead office as well as a Business Manager at Lac du Bois, Bemidji. She began her Concordia Language Villages journey as a villager at Sēn Lín Hú, the Chinese Language Village, and then as a participant in the college program at Lac du Bois. Masha was born in Donetsk, Ukraine, and graduated from a music academy, where she specialized in classical piano and vocal performance and sang in a Ukrainian folk ensemble. Russian and Ukrainian are her native languages. Masha has always been passionate about Slavic folk art, and after moving to the U.S., she studied at The Art Institute International of Minnesota.
She worked for several years at the City of Lakes Waldorf School as a visiting art instructor and currently runs the Russian Family Weekend programs during the school year. When she’s not working for Concordia Language Villages, she lives in Seattle, Wash. with her family.