As a followup to the celebration of the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia in which we participated by hosting a group of Russians, we hosted a group of Russian students. This was sanctioned by FFI and run as an official Friendship Force exchange. The students were sponsored by the school that one of the ambassadors from the 2007 runs.
Hosting this group turned out to be quite challenging.The group had some difficulty in setting dates, it took some time to get FFI approval, and few FFNCA members were able to be involved. Fortunately, we were able to recruit hosts from outside the club who turned out to be very enthusiastic. One of them worked as a document translator and is fluent in Russian.
We had a full week (actually nine days and nights because another group that had planned to take the group for several days wasn’t able to do so) of activities, including touring the Capitol, visiting the Air and Space and Native American museums, touring Luray Caverns, meeting with students at Luray High School and American University, bowling, touring the monuments, visiting the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, shopping at Potomac Mills (twice!), visiting a corn maze to go riding, and more. One of the most memorable events was the Russian meal the students cooked for us. Everyone participated, from the youngest (age 11) on. Their knowledge and skill at cooking amazed us and the variety of dishes was grand.