Maria arranged for me a shorter welcome program, as I was only able to be in St. Petersburg for two and a half weeks prior to heading to Estonia, and it was a really great experience. When we first started to discuss what I might like to do in St. Petersburg, I had requested for her to find something photography related for me, if possible. And she did just that. My program consisted of photographing three classical concerts in various palaces in St. Petersburg, as well as visiting some of the places where she arranges for her students to intern, stay and study Russian language. We also went on an excursion to Lomonosov with her father and I went to see Aida at Mariinskiy Theatre and another modern show at a local theatre. Maria arranged transportation for me from the airport to my accommodations and checked up on me regularly to make sure I was getting along all right, since my Russian language is not so good.
All in all, it was a very cultural time for me. Photographing the concerts was a really great experience because it’s something a foreigner wouldn’t otherwise be able to do in Russia, without having someone to arrange it. My first concert was in Pushkin and I was rowed over to the tiny island where the concert would be in a little row boat, with all my gear. They were happy with my work and so I was invited to photograph two more concerts - both of which were also fantastic! So I was able to gain new experience to add to my resume and more photos for my portfolio, all while enjoying classical music in Russian palaces.
Maria also gave me a Russian cooking lesson and taught me how to make Syrniki (Russian cheese fritters). When I made for my friends at a dinner party there, they gave me the thumbs up and said I did an excellent job! Now I can make them at home here in the US. The hospitality that Maria showed to me while I was there was very wonderful - she is very passionate about her work and in making sure that her interns are happy in their placements, accommodations and that they have a good Russian experience.
Feel free to contact me on FaceBook to request some information or to see some picturesBook the same