Globalization is Here

The world is getting smaller and smaller. A plane can take us to the other side of the world in less than a day. A message reaches a friend thousands of kilometers away in a few seconds. The connections between individuals, institutions, companies and governments are these days more frequent than ever before. We know this phenomenon by the name globalization.

I am right now in a perfect spot to observe globalization in action, working at the international office of ITMO as an intern. This great opportunity is offered to me by the Finnish National Agency for Education from my home country Finland. The reason why I chose ITMO for my internship is the good reputation of the university. Also when comparing different universities, the website of ITMO really stood out and gave me a professional image of the university.

ITMO has a lot of international activities going on and an enthusiastic group of employees working on them full-time (so far I remember the names of maybe half of them). Every year there are lots of foreign students coming to ITMO for an exchange semester or to get a full degree. In fact, so far around 1500 foreign students from 71 countries studied at ITMO. Also many local students get their chance to experience an exchange period in a foreign university. The employees of the International Office are taking care of all these mobility processes.

And that is not all. At the International Office, the international visibility of ITMO is being managed. From the website in English to the brochures in Chinese, the materials are created here. And let’s not forget about the mobility of the teachers, professors and researchers. And the international events such as conferences. And the summer schools for foreign students. And so on. I am quite sure that even though I am here for already three weeks, I didn’t come across all the international activities of the university yet.

It is hard to imagine that only a little more than 25 years ago in the soviet times traveling outside the country was extremely rare. Crossing the border both ways was restricted because of the political regime. In this sense, Russia was maybe a little left behind in the process of globalization. In my opinion, the country is catching up the lost time very fast and the amount of international activities of ITMO University is a great example of this progress.

In the globalizing world understanding international relations is crucial. Whether it is through traveling, studying, volunteering or working, experiencing a foreign country always widens your perspective. International experience and language skills are often an asset in job hunting. Moreover, societies need individuals who have firsthand knowledge of foreign countries to work in all the institutions and companies. In this way, if you decide to go abroad, there are benefits both for you individually and for your home and target countries.

I myself have studied on exchange in Russia in the past. That experience already got me a nice part time job back home in Finland, and now this internship at ITMO. Since I started studying Russian language in high school, I have dreamt of making my own contribution to the international relations between Europe and Russia. Step by step my dream is coming true. I am not planning to stop acquiring international experiences, because I believe that there are a lot of great opportunities to come.

Here is my message. If you have a chance to go abroad, take it! You will do a favor not only to yourself, but to your home country and to the country you are going to visit. And on top of everything, it is a lot of fun!

Intern at International Educational Programs Department