As a fluent speaker of English, you play a very important role in the language immersion camp.
Day-to-day, the main focus of your work will be to supervise a group of children as they take part in daily activities. The group will be small (i.e. between 15-20 campers), and the campers (ages 10 to 15) will tend to come from globally-minded families, so you will find the kids curious and motivated. You will be managing them alongside one or two Russian co-counselors. These tend to be university students, focusing on pedagogy or childhood development, and are a pleasure to get to know and work with.
Each day's activities will vary, ranging from sports to theater to arts and crafts. You may also be asked to teach English in a classroom setting. The curriculum focuses on the material that is tested by the Cambridge English Language exams, a version of which campers take at the beginning and end of each session. Guidance as to how to lead these lessons and all materials will be provided.
On some of the weekends, the host organization will organize trips to nearby tourist attractions. In the past, these focused on the beautiful cities of the Golden Ring, in particular, Kostroma and Yaroslavl.
Summer camps are an all-day affair, with activities starting at around 8am and ending around 10pm. However, not all of these hours require your full and active participation, and some of this time is pretty low key. At the same time, it may be difficult to disengage yourself from your environment entirely, as the children may need your attention in the "off-hours" as well.
0800 - 0900 Wake up and morning exercises
0900 - 1000 Breakfast
1000 - noon Morning classes and activities
Noon - 1300 Lunch
1300 - 1400 Break
1400 - 1700 Afternoon activities
1700 - 1800 Dinner
1800 - 1900 Break
1900 - 2100 Evening activities
2100 - 2300 Wind down activities and planning
In the case of summer camps, we work with only one partner organization -- the International Youth Center (IYC). IYC is a non-profit located in the town of Nerekhta. It organizes educational, recreational, and social programs. The center is open year-round, as its programs are aimed at adults as well as children, e.g. packaged adventure and family holidays, community service projects, etc.
The center has been around for well over a decade. During this time, its camps have been attended by over 700 children, more than half of which were returnees from prior years. An experienced team oversees the day-to-day operations and manages a combined Russian and international staff. The center has a very distinct international orientation. As a reflection of this, English and Russian are both spoken.
The campgrounds have dormitory-type housing where you will stay together with other foreign and Russian staff. The facilities are used year-round for various programs and, as such, have all the modern conveniences. They are equipped with bunk beds and usually up to four people of the same gender share a room and a bathroom. A doctor is available on site.
Meals are provided several times per day in the camp cafeteria. Snacks are available as well, so you won't get hungry. The slideshow below will give you a sense of what to expect.
The dates are approximate and will be confirmed with you individually after your acceptance.
Costs include accommodations, meals, and in-country travel. They exclude the cost of travel to Russia, visas, and insurance. For details, see the timing and costs page.
Working in Nerekhta ended up solidifying my decision to invest in Russian for the rest of my college career. At the time, I only had two semesters of Russian and I ended up skipping an entire year once I returned. Both the counselors and campers were eager to befriend the English-speakers and teach us plenty of Russian words that you wouldn't learn in a classroom. Overall, it was a great program -- especially for the cost -- and I saw more of Russia than I did on my formal study abroad program in Russia later on.
- Kasia K. (George Washington University)
Spending a month in Nerekhta allowed me to improve my Russian skills and to see a different side of Russia. Even though I had only studied Russian for one year , I felt right at home. Making new friends, experiencing Russian culture, teaching great students, improving your Russian, seeing a different side of Russia - that's what this program is all about. Moreover, Crossroads Eurasia is a family. I still keep in contact with fellow volunteers as well as the coordinators. Nothing but good things to say.
- Nick A. (Georgetown University)
Key characteristics: Structured, low-cost
Best for: Beginners/ intermediate speakers
Duration: 1.5 months
Start dates: click for details
Spending time at a Russian summer camp is one of the best introductions to Russia you can have. Located in a rural corner near the stunning cities of the "Golden Ring", our summer camp will show you Russia like you've never seen it before -- children eager to befriend the guests from abroad and Russian colleagues looking forward to working with you. This is your chance to meet them and to see for yourself how personable and relatable Russia really is.
This program is perfect for anyone with up to an intermediate level of Russian (up to about 4 semesters' worth). You will hear a lot of Russian being spoken and get to know Russia in a friendly and structured atmosphere. This internship looks great on a resume, as it shows that you are serious about learning the language and are willing to challenge yourself to do so. As there are few day-to-day expenses, it is also an excellent option for anyone on a tight budget.