Friday, 20 November 2009

Study trip to St. Petersburg: 29.10.2009 – 01.11.2009

St. Petersburg, located on the Neva River, is the most northern city with more than 1 million inhabitants of the world. Founded by Tsar Peter te Great, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years. After Moscow it is the country’s second largest city with 4.6 million inhabitants. St. Petersburg is a major European capital of culture and trade. With its historic centre and monuments the city constitutes an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And within this beautiful historical city the eight participants of this year’s student trip to Russia were having a great time full of culture, business schedules and nightlife.

The participants were from IB, LIKO as well as exchange students from 8 countries: Tuire Viita-Aho, Magdalena Pichler, Kaja Voigt, Valeria Agafonova, Henri Memonen, Anne Moerman, Ivana Matysikova, Jinsung Seo, and their teacher Mikel Garant.

During the course, the students got acquainted with each other as well as Russian culture in general. The course focus was on business culture and the business environment in Russia.

The students got a closer look to the impressing culture while visiting the Hermitage, Yusupov’s Palace, the Peter & Paul Fortress and the remarkable St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Also, some went to the Marinsky Theater for Ballet, others went to the Jazz Philharmonic in addition to having many other cultural experiences.

But the trip was not just about admiring the city; it was also for understanding the Russian business culture. Therefore, the students first met Snezhana Alexeeva and Juha Ruosteenoja, managers from the Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky. First they saw the whole hotel and afterwards Mr. Ruosteenoja explained his experiences of establishing, running, and marketing a Finnish company in St. Petersburg. The visit was both enjoyable and enlightening.

Later, there was a meeting with Natalia Yakovleva, head of finance department TNB-line – a shipping freight forwarding company, as well as with the guest speakers Evgeny Bogdanov, Sergei Kaparis and Anton Pavlov from Rumpu Consulting - a closely-knit team of engineers with their precise specialization in different construction areas: from architecture to engineering.

The round-table discussion was a very interesting and informative conversation in the hotel’s 8th floor with a great view to the city. It focused on the reality of doing business in contemporary Russia. The students learned a great deal from the guest speakers and some were interested in doing their study or work exchange in Russia as a result.

Aikamatkat handled the travel arrangements. Fortunately, there were no emergencies in St. Petersburg – but they were there – just in case. They helped with the visa and information about the city before the journey and arranged the cultural program. They did everything very well.

Mike Garant also met Daria Kozlova from Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University to discus the West Finland FIRST intensive study program in St. Petersburg planed for spring 2010 as well as future cooperation.

The group came back to Finland on the 1. November – all excited and happy about this unforgettable trip to the amazing city of St. Petersburg.

By: Kaja Voigt

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