A group of Master students of TAMK International Business visited St. Petersburg 14-16 May 2015. St. Petersburg appeared to us as a modern and European big city, which reminded us of the great Russian history. Of course the current economic situation was shown too especially when moving further from the city centre. We had very interesting company presentations of Finpro and Sokos Hotels. Both company representatives told about Russia and doing business there, especially was interesting to hear about the future changes in the Sokos restaurants.
This northernmost metropolis is a huge and is populated almost the size of a Finland. The city has beautiful buildings especially along the Neva, the palaces and museums are in scope of its own (the Winter Palace, the Church of the Saviour on the Spilt Blood, St. Isaac’s Cathedral etc.) – a really one of the unforgettable places to visit. Many of us noticed that St. Petersburg had indications from Paris.
We were positively surprised that young Russians spoke well English in general. For example in coffee houses and restaurants there was always somebody who spoke English and that made the communication much easier. Plus the restaurant menus were in English too.
Our location in the city center and near the Nevsky Prospect was great. We were a walking distance to the main attractions, shops, good restaurants and night out. I think restaurants had good price-quality relation. A lot of places offered sushi and more Italian and French cuisine restaurants could be found in the center. Positive thing was that some stores were open 24/7. Since the weather was good, we took a cruise on one of the canal ships and experienced some excitement and beautiful scenery in that way.
Honest opinions of adult international students, but most of us for the first time in Russia
“What I experienced once again is that Russia is what it is, fascinating, unpredictable and surprising. What makes it fascinating, is the culture and the way how things works. Their rich culture and history are full of amazing stories. What comes to society and its functions, it is easy to see that Russia is not a fair, modern or democratic society, which take care of its citizens equally. That is why Russians are creative people who will find their ways to survive in unpredictable society. My experience is that Russia also always surprise you somehow, either positively or negatively.”
“I had heard and read a lot about Saint Petersburg before our trip. The more I found out the more nervous I was about it. Especially the news freaked me out so I completely stopped watching them about three weeks before the trip. It was nothing like I expected. It wasn't that difficult or slow to get past the customs as people had been telling, or then we were really lucky. The water in the shower wasn't brown. I didn't get mugged, killed or arrested and neither did anyone else in our group. The traffic in the city centre was surprisingly hectic, but I still wasn't as afraid as when crossing a road in Tampere. I was very positively surprised about Saint Petersburg. I really enjoyed our trip and especially the company. Although when planning the trip a few people were concerned about the location. I'm glad we did this, because otherwise likely many would have never gone to Russia.”
Good way to know each other better – a bus trip from Tampere to St. Petersburg
Trip was excellent way to get to know the team of project managers even better. Absolutely the only way actually! We had interesting talks during bus drive and in St Petersburg also. St Petersburg was lovely and beautiful, getting information from business trips gave more understanding of the Russian business culture.
Many thanks to all students, Russian student translators, excellent driver with excellent knowledge about St. Petersburg and especially thanks to our teachers Mauri and Kai for making this true with some pressure ! This is an educational trip, which we shall never forget!
Text collected and edited by Ursula Helsky-Lehtola, event coordinator at TAMK and Master student of International Project Management (IPM)