Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Concordia Language Villages, part 6: What We Learned

Welcome to the latest post on our family's recent experience at Concordia Language Villages' Lesnoe Ozero Russian family camp! So far, we've discussed what CLV is and what makes it different from other language camps, how to prepare and pack for a week (or more) at camp, the gorgeous Lesnoe Ozero Russian camp setting, what a day at camp looks like, and all about the delicious food!

Today, I'm going to talk about the learning process and what we actually learned. Don't expect this to be a long Russian lesson. Instead, I want to keep the information helpful to anyone wondering if the cost of camp in any of the 15 languages offered by CLV is worth it. (Spoiler alert: we think so!)

We've had many friends and family ask how much Russian we knew before camp and how much we knew at the end of the camp. Let me start with a bit about each family member's language backgrounds.

Niels was born in the Netherlands. His native language is Dutch. Growing up, he learned English starting at a young age in school, but really became fluent by watching TV and movies. In the Netherlands TV is subtitled in Dutch, but not dubbed, so he heard English, even when he was reading the Dutch translation. The Dutch school system also introduced German and French. Before camp, Niels would say he is fluent in Dutch and English, proficient in German, and has a working knowledge of French. He knew no Russian other than da, nyet, and the names of some Russian rockets.

I (Jen) was born in the US, in Minnesota, about 3 hours from Concordia. Growing up, I had a natural love of language (I was a professional writer before my brain injury). I learned a little Spanish from Sesame Street and friends of my dad, but not enough that I felt comfortable saying anything but numbers. It wasn't until high school that I started studying French. I took two years in high school, and two years in college. Despite the fact that I was even a French education major at one point, Niels' French is much better than mine. I graduated from college with a degree in Linguistics (the study of languages). My senior thesis was a translation of John 1 in the Bible from Greek to Nepalese. I tell people that I know a little about a lot of languages, but am not fluent in anything other than English. In addition to my formal studies in French, Latin, and Greek, I also dabbled in Spanish and ASL before meeting my Dutch husband eight years ago. I would say that now my Dutch is passable. One of my greatest achievements in recent years was a trip to the store in Holland by myself, where I was able to get everything I needed, speaking only in Dutch, and without native speakers switching to English because they could tell I didn't know Dutch. Before camp, I had no Russian language knowledge, other than playing with the Lola's ABC train in Russian for a few weeks. 

Our son has been learning both English and Dutch since birth. He is several grade levels ahead of his age peers in English with vocabulary, reading, and spelling. He is on par with his Dutch peers in reading, but lags a bit with speaking and writing. He has inherited his daddy's natural ear for languages, so he speaks and reads Dutch without an accent. He has taken short intro classes in Spanish and ASL, and has had some exposure to French, German, and Russian from friends who have stayed with us at different times. Before camp, his Russian was mostly limited to space terms.

In an earlier post, I talked about some of the reasons people come to Concordia Language Villages. Certainly, language learning is a huge motivation, whether it's to get a leg up in school, to make travel easier, to communicate with family, or just out of a pure love of language. But Concordia is more than just language study. It's also about immersing oneself in another culture and exploring the food, history, arts, and unique contributions to the world that speakers of that language make to the world. As parents, we feel that one of the greatest attributes of CLV is that it partners with us in teaching our child to be a citizen of the world. 

We didn't have any expectation that we would come away fluent in Russian at the end of our week, but we did want to gain the ability to sound out Cyrillic letters, feel confident that we could have a basic conversation with Russian speakers, and learn more about a part of the world none of us has (yet) explored. In that respect, camp was a smashing success!

The teaching method is slightly different for parents and kids, but in a nutshell, kids have a full immersion experience with no English except for cases of medical emergencies or safety issues, and maybe the reflection time with the counselors each day. The camp staff recognizes that parents come for different reasons and have different needs to connect with work or home. Plus, we're older and don't learn as easily. So, there is lots of grace for us to dive in or check out as much as we'd like. 

Another reason parents are occasionally addressed in English is because at family camp, the parents are their child's primary caretaker. We don't go through counselor training, so we get an English cheat sheet to know what's going on!

On the first night, we filled out a form explaining our language experience. These were used to place us in our groups. All three of us were put in the beginner groups. 

The kids at family camp focused on speaking and understanding Russian in the same way that kids would learn their first language. We adults focused on reading as well as speaking and understanding, like we would if we were traveling to Russia and needed to be able to get around, find the sign to the bathroom and other important things. 

In our first class, we were introduced to the Cyrillic alphabet. 

And cheat sheets.

Every language has its challenges. Part of the trick with Russian is that with Cyrillic letters, some look and sounds like English letters and some are completely new. That's fairly easy. But some letters look like English letters but sound like something else. Others sound like English letters, but look different in Cyrillic. Those are the ones that will trip you up. The payoff is that many words, once you sound them out, sound like their English counterparts. By the end of our first lesson, we were already reading!

During other lessons, we decided what we wanted to study. Sometimes we translated the lyrics of the songs we sang throughout the day. Other times we worked on conversational phrases. I was impressed by how much I understood after only a few days worth of lessons. I can really see how it's possible for the four-week students to earn a year's worth of academic credit. 

One of the things that really made the linguistics major in me listen up is the way our brains process learning a new language. Our teacher told us, as we were experiencing the phenomenon, that our brains learn a second language through our first. This is why so many people feel the need to translate everything they are learning into their native language. Eventually, though, you break through that wall and can think immediately in the second language. But where it gets interesting is that you learn your third language through your second language, and so on. When I didn't know a word in Russian, my mind came up with words in Dutch I didn't even realize I knew. And now that I think about it, when I am speaking Dutch, I am more likely to sprinkle in French than English if I don't know a word. Fascinating.

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero Blog
The young beginners, according to our 6-year-old, just played. Unbeknownst to him, the play was actually learning. As they played games and sang songs, Russian became more familiar. 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero Blog
But camp is more than lessons. We were surrounded by Russian words, maps, signs, and songs. We learned culture through music, videos, books, art, sports, games, nature and food. 

There is a rhythm and redundancy in our day that helps us see patterns. We learn to anticipate what's next because this is the song we sing when we raise the flag. When we hear "свет, камера, съемка!"(Lights, camera, action), and see staffers making the corresponding motions, we know that they are going to act out the components of our meal. We are greeted several times a day, formally before each session and informally as we walk around camp. 

Like anything else, you get out of camp what you put into it. If, as a parent, you are looking for a beautiful place to unwind while your kids get to learn a new language, make new friends, and have lots of fun things to do, family camp will give you what you need. If your goal is to learn a new language together, you have lots of opportunities to jump in and learn as much as you can soak up. 

Niels and I agree that one of the best parts of camp for was building friendships with other global-minded families. We loved the formal and informal discussions we had with the other parents at camp. 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog
By the last day, several of us were talking about staying in touch, visiting, and connecting through social media. 

This was our son's first experience at an outdoor camp. It was also his first opportunity to see what a sleep away camp looks like. Many parents attend family camp before sending their children to CLV on their own. We were thrilled to watch our son grow in confidence as the week went on. For the first day or so, he mostly stuck to us and was overwhelmed by all the activity choices. By the end of the week, he was wanting to sit by his friends during meals and gatherings. This is huge for him! He also loved being outside. My nature-loving husband is very happy with  that. 

You can learn more about the CLV method on the Concordia Language Villages website. 

You can see more photos of our week at Lesnoe Ozero on Facebook.

Other posts in this series:

If you have any other questions about Concordia Language Villages, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it.

I was not compensated for writing any post in this series. My motivation was to provide the kind of information I was looking to find. Consider this my very verbose evaluation. Keep in mind that our family attended the Russian camp, so some details may vary for those attending one of the other language villages. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Concordia Language Villages, part 5: The Food

Welcome to the latest post on our family's recent adventure at Concordia Language Villages' Lesnoe Ozero Russian family camp! To recap, my first post explained what CLV is and what makes it different from other language camps. In the second post, I shared how to prepare and pack for a week (or more) at camp. In the third post, I took you on a (short) tour of Bemidji, MN and the gorgeous Lesnoe Ozero Russian camp setting. Yesterday's post took readers through a day at camp.

Today I will show and tell you all about the food!

I've mentioned before that my motivation for writing this series is to offer up the information I wanted to find before we decided to attend camp. There are many glowing reviews on the different camp-related sites. And the CLV website is packed with very helpful, albeit biased, information. I did find a series written by another blogger last year. Her posts on Concordia Language Villageswhy to attend, how to pack, how camp was the same as when she was a kid, and how it was now different, not only whet my appetite for camp, but also inspired more questions!

One area I was very interested in learning about beforehand was the food. I enjoy cooking and like to make foods from other cultures. The only Russian food we had had before attending camp was pelmeni, which we made from scratch when our family hosted a student from Moldova last year. (By the way, it's delicious!)

I am very fortunate that our son will eat almost anything we serve him. We weren't concerned that he wouldn't at least try new foods. (If he doesn't like something, we've taught him to still thank the chef for their work: "Thank you for making this. No more, please, I don't prefer it." It's pretty sweet when he remembers to say it). However, I was concerned for his dairy allergy.

I mentioned in the packing post that CLV does an excellent job of working with campers who have food restrictions. Our son can have dairy that is cooked, which makes life much easier than when all dairy was off-limits. I noted his allergy on his health forms and talked to someone from camp before we arrived, After our arrival, the nurse reviewed his allergy information with us, and the chef spoke to us before our first meal. Even the staffers outside the kitchen were aware of his allergies. The counselor in charge of cooking class reviewed the recipe with me to confirm what was okay, and the staffers who sat at our table each meal made sure D had safe milk to drink. I felt very confident that everyone at camp was concerned about our son's safety! 

Our kitchen staff made all the culturally-appropriate food from scratch each day. It's a huge job to make meals for the hundred or so campers and staff eating three meals and a snack or two each day, so we have mad love for this crew.

Now, with those preliminaries out of the way, let's get to the food, shall we? 


After the staff shows us what we are going to eat, the food is brought out to each table and we eat family-style. No one will go hungry at camp. Even if someone doesn't prefer the main part of the meal, there's plenty of other things to eat. That said, I'll start with my son's least favorite food from camp, каша (kasha) or oatmeal. Can you see how excited he was? He filled up on bread with jam and fresh fruit on kasha mornings.

On the other hand, his favorite breakfasts were the ones that included кексы (keksy) muffins, scrambled eggs, melon, and сосиска (sosiska) sausage. And every meal had fresh-baked bread with butter and jam.

Another example of a good morning was the day we were served hash browns and hard boiled eggs with our fruit and bread. 


Except for the night we celebrated New Year, lunch was our biggest meal of the day, and it was served in three courses. The first course was a salad or soup.

For our very first meal, we had the most well-known Russian soup, борщ (borscht). I had never tried this beet soup before, but was pleasantly surprised. My first lesson in Russian camp was that many Russians add sour cream to soup. (This explains why we used so much when our Moldovan friend stayed with us!)

Another traditional Russian soup is щи (shchi), a cabbage soup made with spinach, sorrel, dill, carrots...and topped with sour cream. The recipe came from the Russian Heritage Cookbook, which looks like a book I need to put on my wish list.

Other days we had soup that was more familiar, like cream of broccoli...

...and tomato. 

The salads we were served didn't have lettuce or spinach, but were mostly vegetable salads featuring any combination of cucumbers, radishes, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, onions, dill, and apples.

After our first course, a meat course was served. There were some vegetarians at camp and they had their own main courses available. However, there was plenty to eat even if you skipped the main course.

My favorite meal was served on the first full day, тушеная курица с капустой (tusshenaya kuritsa s kapustoy), or braised chicken with cabbage. Don't let the simplistic look fool you, it's really good. The chicken and cabbage is seasoned with dill, paprika, and cayenne pepper. I've already made this once since we've been home and it will have a regular place in our meal rotation.

We enjoyed another chicken cabbage casserole that was a big hit. I think the main difference between this one and the one from the day before is that this one doesn't have dill. Maybe. At any rate, check out that happy boy's face!

Another day we had бефстроганов (beef stroganoff). I've made this at home, so it was welcomed with gusto.

Our last lunch was smaller, so our stomachs would have plenty of room to enjoy the feast we would enjoy later that night when we celebrated New Year. We have quiche often, so we enjoyed this meal very much.

The third course was a favorite: dessert!!

On the first day, we were served some flaky cookies called quark (farmer cheese) cookies. I started to enjoy mine before I thought of taking a picture. I asked my space-obsessed son what quark was and he told me that it was the smallest known particle of matter. While that could have some implications here, this quark is actually a dairy product. We had an lively conversation about quark later in the week with some of the native speakers. Know I understand that quark is like a drier cottage cheese. It is used in both Russia and Europe (especially Germany-speaking countries), but apparently there is a distinction between the two that I didn't quite understand!

The second day we had what I thought was going to be my favorite dessert of the week, Шарлотка (sharlotka), or Russian apple cake. I will definitely be making this at home!

But the next day, there was a collective "OOOHHHH!" when this deliciousness came out of the kitchen. спартак (spartak) is a chocolate layer cake that tastes as incredible as it is looks. D has already asked me to make this for his next birthday. Fun fact: Sparktak means Spartacus, so it's also a very popular sports team name.


Our last meal of the day, with the exception of our New Year's banquet, was lighter than our lunch meal, I've read that lunch should be your biggest meal of the day, so perhaps I will try to incorporate that idea at home this summer. 

Dinner on Tuesday featured фаршированный перец (farshirovannyy perets) stuffed pepper like my mom used to make. 

Another night we had breaded pork. Every meal included a vegetable (usually served a salad) and either rice or potatoes, and bread. 

Being in Minnesota, I expected at least one meal featuring fish. I choose not to eat fish or seafood, but I think Niels ate enough for me. 

After his try-it bite of fish, D opted for a pea sandwich instead. 

New Year's Banquet

On our last full night, everyone dressed up to celebrate New Years. In Russia, New Year is an even bigger event than Christmas, which is celebrated January 7. (We were visited by Father Frost and company after our dinner feast). 

The staff worked extra hard to make lots of different salads and hors d'oeuvres for us to enjoy before the main course. 

I believe the top salad in the collage below is the traditional салат Оливье (salat Oliv'yea), or Olivier Salad. It's a mayonnaise-based salad with potatoes, peas, ham, carrots, onions, and celery.

Niels piled up the goodies on his plate, not realizing that another course as coming!

Our main course was chicken Kiev with rise. It's been a long time since I've made this at home, so I will be adding it to my meal plan this month.

Dessert was a strawberry-cranberry whipped cream jelly roll cake.

Once again, as a parent, I was grateful for the staff's awareness of our son's dairy allergy. D was served this cake, which did not have uncooked dairy. 

I tried to help him taste test it, but apparently, he didn't need my help. 


Most of our snacks were healthy options like fruit or popcorn, but one day our lessons were divided up with the presentation of Пончики (ponchiki) or donuts. They look suspiciously like Dutch oliebollen, so Niels was pretty excited to try them! (Yes, they did taste the same, and yes, they were delicious). 

Overall, the food at camp far exceeded our expectations. It's a tall order to make a week (or more!) of meals for a large group of people. I didn't expect that we would love everything, but we liked a lot. On the first night, our son asked if pelmeni would be served. He was disappointed to learn that it wasn't made at family camp. I totally get it. It's very time-consuming to make for just our family, it would take all day to make enough for everyone in camp. That's why the credit-campers make it! Many hands make light work!

My only disappointment was that we didn't leave with a book of recipes (or links). I'm working on gathering some of my favorites, so look for links to be added to this page.

In the meantime, here are a few of my new favorite Russian food blogs:

I was most pleased with the way the kitchen staff worked around our son's dairy restrictions. After the last meal, D paid his respects to Tamara, who took such excellent care of us all!

You can see more photos of our week at Lesnoe Ozero on Facebook.

Other posts in this series:

If you have any other questions about Concordia Language Villages, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it.

I was not compensated for writing any post in this series. My motivation was to provide the kind of information I was looking to find. Consider this my very verbose evaluation. Keep in mind that our family attended the Russian camp, so some details may vary for those attending one of the other language villages. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Concordia Language Villages, part 4: A Day at Camp

This is post four on our family's recent experience at Concordia Language Villages' Lesnoe Ozero Russian family camp. My first post explained what CLV is and what makes it different from other language camps. In the second post, I shared how to prepare and pack for a week (or more) at camp. In my last post, I took you on a (short) tour of Bemidji, MN and the gorgeous Lesnoe Ozero Russian camp setting.

So, now that we are settled into our cabins, it's time to start learning a new language! As I mentioned in an earlier post, Concordia Language Villages offers immersion camps in 15 different languages (including English). Each camp varies slightly, but this is what a typical day looked like in Russian family camp.

That really clears things up for you, right? Welcome to the world of immersion! 

Fortunately for campers who are not part of family camp, there is a Russian-speaking (and reading) counselor in the cabin with them to let them know that 7:30 is the start of the day. ("Good morning" on the schedule above). For those of us in family camp, we either used or took advantage of the native speakers around us before we went to bed the first night or resorted to Google translate! 

This is a good time to mention that most of the families at family camp had a personal connection to a Russian-speaking country, whether a parent emigrated to the US, or because the family adopted a child from Russia. In either case, these heritage families came to camp to give their children (and American spouses) exposure to Russian language and culture. In our small group of new Russian speakers, we also had a dad who brought his family to camp as a vacation, bringing to mind the time he spent in Russia as an exchange student. Another father's child randomly checked out a video on Russia as a young boy. An obsession with Russia followed and now the family comes to camp together to nurture his interest. Our family came to Russian camp because Dutch--our family's second language--is not offered. We left the language decision up to our son. He chose Russian because of his love of  space and Russia's place in the history of space exploration. We heard that less-common languages share this trait. Spanish and French camps, in particular, are more likely to have families attending due to other motivations.

Between our utter lack of Russian exposure ("Sputnik" and "Vostok" are not so helpful in a meal setting) and my brain injury, we felt okay with sneaking peeks at Google Translate. But honestly, the staff do such an impressive job acting out and communicating their meaning that after that first overwhelming first day, I mostly only took my phone out to snap pictures, make notes, and look up recipes for the delicious food we were enjoying!

Speaking of food--my next post will be all about the food!--we didn't have much time between the start of the day and the raising of the Russian flag at 8am. While everyone at least changed out of their PJ's, camp in general, and mornings in particular, are very casual.


Throughout the day, we saw signs like this to reinforce the rhythms of the day. On the first morning, I couldn't read a word of this sign. By the end of the week, the unfamiliar markings on the signs turned into letters with sounds I could make, and some letters formed words I could actually recognize. That was a pretty exciting realization!

Because the immersion method at CLV is purposely evoking a sense of being abroad, we raise our host country's flag each morning and sing the national anthem of that country. I'm hoping that campers from other villages will eventually chime in, but in Russian camp, we used the Russian flag each day. I'm curious if in other camps, where multiple countries speak the target language, different flags are raised each day. 

As an international family, global citizenship is a character trait we value. Corralling an over-stimulated, sleep-deprived six-year-old is no easy task, but we did (mostly) manage to teach him to respect the flag and anthem time.

After the flag was flying, we headed in to St. Petersburg for breakfast. The dining room is decorated with Russian art and flags from Russian-speaking countries. 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog
At lunch, we sat with our family group and leaders. This is when mail is delivered, so we sit in our "houses" to make delivery easy. During Family camp there wasn't a lot of mail to deliver, but one day we did write a note to D, which he thought was really cool.

Most meals we sat next to the Moldovan flag at the front of the room. We hosted a student from Moldova last fall, so ti was a nice way to feel connected to him again. D was happy to wear his appliqued Moldovan flag shirt, just one in a growing number of flag shirts I have made for him. 

Each meal followed the same  routine. We were greeted by a few of the counselors, and we greeted them in return. We talked about the meal we were about to eat, with the staff acting out and showing each item. We sang a meal song and had a moment of silence for everyone to say thanks in their own way.

Our meals were really, really, good. I'll devote a whole post to food tomorrow, but here's a peek at my favorite meal, chicken tushenaya kapusta (chicken with braised cabbage). Russian food includes a lot of beige: potatoes, bread, and sour cream are served at nearly every meal. But the flavor of this chicken dish was incredible. I've already made it once since we've returned home and it was a huge hit. Imagine chicken seasoned with paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, and dill....Mmmm, вкусно!

After our meal, we sang a song of thanks. There were several, but this one was my favorite, perhaps because the tune ("Faith of our Fathers") was familiar. 

After our meal, staffers came up and acted out what the next few hours would entail. Every morning campers were challenged to put on a special name tag indicating that they would be attempting to speak only in the target language (again, English is acceptable in matters of safety). This was just one of the ways CLV caters to individual language levels. The "hero challenge" was a bit too overwhelming for our little guy, but many of his new friends took part. The rest of us sang a song to encourage the brave campers.

Photo credit: Lesnoe Ozero's Facebook page
After breakfast, we headed to our cabin for about 30 minutes to clean up our cottages (or ourselves)!  From there, we met up in Red Square before heading into our lesson time. 

On the first night, we filled out surveys on our knowledge of Russian language. Since we knew nothing, we were put with other adult absolute beginners. 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog

While camp is clearly geared to kids, adults are not an afterthought. The staff recognizes that many of us are using vacation time to be here with our families, but may not be able to be unavailable for an entire week. The staff leaves it up to each adult to participate as much (or as little) as they'd like. Many parents attended every session. Others enjoyed the beautiful outdoor office as they keep up with work. Some parents (hello!) took advantage of downtime not afforded at home in the summertime. 

Part of this grace shown to parents included the ability to use English during lesson time. We older learners don't learn as easily, so occasionally our teacher would explain the finer points of language in English. And give us cheats like this. 

For kids, language lessons were a total immersion experience that looked an awful lot like fun and games. In fact, when we asked our son what he did during lesson time, he just cocked his head, and said, "Well, we just played and had fun." 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog
We get a break in our lesson-filled morning for a snack. Most days, we are offered something healthy like a piece of fruit. One morning though, my Dutch husband was absolutely giddy to see that Russians also love oliebollen or as the Russians call it пончик (Ponchik). Perhaps world peace can be attained through donuts. 

During the break, we could see the kids running around, playing tug of war, jump road, exploring the caterpillars on trees, observing a mama turtle laying eggs (!), or playing on a giant chess board. 

After lessons, we head back to St. Petersburg for lunch and a preview of our afternoon, which includes my favorite time, тихий час (tikhiy chas), or  quiet hour. I usually napped or caught up on the world during this time. Other approved activities include reading (in the target language), writing letters, and other quiet activities. 

After the much-needed quiet hour, campers enjoyed 45 minutes of free time. The camp is set up to give attendees free time and down time...but not too much! There's plenty of fun things to do that take advantage of the lake setting and celebrate Russian culture, from swimming, boating, playing soccer, volleyball, badminton, chess, or checkers, reading a book from the library, practicing archery, painting nesting dolls, dressing up in costumes, playing music on the piano, hanging out with new friends, or taking a nap!

It was still cool when we were at camp, and we couldn't convince our son that no sharks were in the lake, but it was a beautiful beach to admire nonetheless. 

After free time, campers selected a cultural activity to explore. Cooking was very popular, as were the sports and arts. Parents were invited to gather at these times to learn about different areas of Russia, holidays, or to just compare notes on how we are raising global citizens.

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog
After culture hour, campers gathered to sing Russian songs. This song about Grandma and her two geese was a favorite. 

From the large gathering room in St. Petersburg, we walked outside to lower the flag (and sing the anthem), before coming back inside for dinner. After dinner, had another selection of culture hour choices before our evening program. Our nightly activities included things like watching a cartoon or tv show in Russian, and learning about a holiday or important cities. 

One show that we really liked is called Masha and the Bear. We've been watching it a lot since we've been home, and it's easy to follow, even if you don't know Russian!

For adults, this clip from KBH (similar to Saturday Night Live) is a satire on the influence of friends in high places. 

The most exciting night for our son was the day we celebrated Soviet space history.

His other favorite thing was the campfire. Considering that our son gravitates toward indoor interests, we loved seeing him embrace the great outdoors. 

Photo Credit: Lesnoe Ozero blog
Other than the first day--when we arrived in the afternoon, settled into our cabin, enjoyed dinner, and toured the camp--and the last day, when we left around noon, most days followed this basic schedule. The one exception was the night we dressed up to celebrate New Year. Every camp has one dressy occasion, and it was nice to see everyone look a little more like what they probably look like in the real world (not me, I live in yoga pants!). 

At the end of each evening, we enjoyed a leisurely walk back to our cabins to end our day. 

You can see more photos of our week at Lesnoe Ozero on Facebook.

Other posts in this series:

If you have any other questions about Concordia Language Villages, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it.

I was not compensated for writing any post in this series. My motivation was to provide the kind of information I was looking to find. Consider this my very verbose evaluation. Keep in mind that our family attended the Russian camp, so some details may vary for those attending one of the other language villages. 

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