Wednesday, 15 February 2012

So different and so new – you will never know what’s inside

Russia, Russia..our dear old neighbor Russia. Many of us have strong opinions about it, yet still so few have real-life experience about this beautiful country. In the title I am quoting a video clip shown to us exchange students in a marketing class in Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance. Very good four minutes of introduction to the Russian state of mind.

Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance

After being able to fight through the incredible amount of bureaucracy, some grumpy customer service ladies and other frustration-triggering peculiarities, such as endless amount of queuing basically everywhere you go; the student life in Saint Petersburg can at its best be awesome and life changing. This is the land of plenty in terms of art, architecture, progulkas (= wandering around the city with cool people) and cheap vodka. In addition to endless amount of student parties and mingling with other exchange students, if you are lucky enough to befriend locals, you can find yourself starting to unravel the mystery of being a Russian,and making forever lasting memories while at it, like I did.

St Petes is a hidden gem for which too many people turn a blind eye. Choosing this city as the destination of my exchange semester is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Besides the obvious, exchange studies, my main goal for the exchange was to get a grasp of Russian state of mind and perhaps be able to see how things are in their point of view. This, I figured, will not only benefit me professionally, but personally as well.

Chilling out in the good company

Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, or more casually Finec, is one of the most respected universities in Russia. The good reputation is not only visible when talking with locals, but also in the conditions that are provided for the foreign exchange students.

The exchange semester is conducted fully in English, and those with language skills can choose to attend courses in Russian language. There are also a lot of international open lectures arranged by Master of international Business Administration program (MiBA) about current topics such as economic crisis and sustainability issues. The lecturers in such events are typically visiting professors from European universities.

Sadly, everything has to come to an end, and so did my exchange semester - but in life, when one chapter ends, another one begins. And as sad as it is to leave my life in Russia behind, I am eagerly looking forward to the next chapter which is about my internship in New York. All the best!

Text and photos: Salla Seppälä, International Business student in TAMK

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