Exchange student from Kazakhstan
My Exchange Semester: New Opportunities, Knowledge and Friendships
The nearly three months of my stay in St. Petersburg as an exchange student has gone in an instant. I have experienced incredible emotions from the city and studying at ITMO during these last few months. St. Petersburg became especially comfortable for me thanks to people that I met at university. This is also the merit of the incredible Buddy system team that not only helps to get to know the city, but also invests all its efforts in creating a friendly atmosphere among students.
ITMO University has been a partner university of the L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University for several years. I have heard a lot of positive feedback from the professors of my Department of Radio Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications and undergraduates who completed a research internship at ITMO. I applied for the exchange program at ITMO with no hesitation when I found out about the opportunity to study there online due to restrictive measures. In the middle of summer, I was surprised and delighted to hear about the possibility of actually going to St. Petersburg to study.
Upon arriving in St. Petersburg, I was amazed by the beauty of the city — every building, every street has a unique history. The first event organized by the Buddy club was a bus sightseeing tour, where I saw historic buildings and found out many interesting facts about cultural sites. This tour through St. Petersburg opened my eyes to its glory. I also met exchange students and buddies (student tutors) who helped us on the trip and supervised the tour.
The Buddy club also organized an interesting excursion along rivers and canals. Thanks to such tours, you get to see the city in a completely different light. It does not look like the way you have memorized it from before. And it's amazing that the club organizes large events for such a huge amount of students, where everyone becomes closer to the history and culture of Russia.
I got to know many exchange students better at the first elective course "Intercultural communication," which was taught by Irina Shmeleva. We got acquainted with the cultural aspects and values of each country. The students themselves were guides in this process. This course, in many ways, helped to understand the main features of intercultural communication in different countries and gave a wonderful opportunity to get to know each of the guys closer.
We all keep in touch thanks to the events held by the Buddy club. We are always looking forward to the National Nights, which are organized almost every week. On these days we get acquainted with each country and culture separately. This is an incredible opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the country from a representative of this country, who chooses what to tell about the place and what information to share with us.
Now many exchange students and buddies are not just acquaintances or groupmates, they become friends, with whom we are able to discuss our interests and who are eager to help. Buddies themselves are also always open to communication with each exchange student.
Also, it should be noted that the Buddy club holds various events, not only within the university. For me, one of the latest memorable events was a visit to Mazapark (an amusement park), and a trip to Yagodnoe (ITMO's outdoor sports and leisure camp). On this trip, we had an interesting program: we were divided into teams and had to complete a quest with many tasks and creative contests. And I’m surprised by the level of organization of events throughout the time — it’s always fun, exciting, and memorable.
I'm only realizing now how memorable these few months have been and I’m glad that semester has not yet come to an end.