I am deeply grateful for the FLAS program, which allowed me to return to St. Petersburg to continue my studies of the Russian language. Last summer, I enrolled in the Derzhavin Institute, and I enjoyed the challenge of studying in at this very strong institution. For the study of a foreign language, immersion is key, and I found that my interactions with my host family, the instructors, and friends outside of class to be just as valuable as my classroom studies and essential in the improving the ability to communicate.
St. Petersburg in the summer is a beautiful and vibrant city. Personally, I was drawn to the art galleries and performance venues. If you have an interest in classical music, I recommend seeing the opera and ballet at any of the three stages in the Mariinsky Theatre complex. Also, the New Stage of the Alexanderin Theatre periodically offers performances of experimental electronic music. If you are interested in visual art, I recommend the Hermitage complex (not just the Winter Palace!), the Russian Museum, and the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum.
Thornton Miller is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Musicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.