My idea was to reproduce the experience that I had in Poland in 2007 in the AIESEC's "Peace project" - deep cultural immersion, language barrier, new friends and cultural shock.
So, thanks to Kamil (my friend from Warsaw) I got to know about an exchange program in the city of Petrozavodsk, in the far lands of Karelia (8 hours by train going North from St. Petersburg) - as depicted in the map. The program includes Russian language course and cultural activities. More details about the program in here: www.enjoyrussian.com
I landed in St. Petersburg on 2nd of June, flying from Warsaw in the modern LOT Polish airlines Embraer jets and then taking the night train to Petrozavodsk. I've never been so far away from my mom. :)
I have only two pocket phrasal books of Russian language with me and of course nearly no one here speaks the English language... why would they?The first days are being hard not only because of the language barrier but also because of the bureaucracy in Russia. I couldn't buy a simcard yet because even for pre-paid phones they require passport with local residence registration and it takes few days for the program organisers to provide the necessary documents. I only have my Polish number with me for now.
Monday (4th June) was my first day in the school and I met my colleagues from different parts of the world: USA, Great Britain, Japan, Austria, Canada, Italy and of course I'm the only latino-boy in the group. :)
The overall experience is outstanding and so far everything is going according to the plan.
I created an album of photos which will be increasing day by day with new photos, so stay tuned!
The first photos are already there: