Bryan Gergeis, Egypt

Bachelor’s student at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics

I was always curious about Russian New Year traditions, so I’m waiting for this moment to come. This December 31, my Egyptian friends and I are going to spend it together, exploring the city center and its party locations to find out how normal life is going this day and where people are having fun. We also would like to enjoy the festive decorations at Nevsky prospect.

As I’ve never experienced winter as cold as in Russia, I’m looking forward to trying many snow-related activities: my friends and I are going skating and snowboarding for the first time! We’ve already enjoyed a snowball fight and it was incredible.

My family is Orthodox, that’s why we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on January 7, like most Russians. It’s the first time I’m not joining them at the festive table and won’t try tasty meals like pastitsio, but I’m calling to see them all and wish them the best on this day.

Credit: Lucian Dachman on Unsplash

Credit: Lucian Dachman on Unsplash

Sonia Cardinale, Italy

exchange student from the University of Verona

Although holidays in Russia start a little bit later than in Europe, me and the other exchange students from Italy, France, and Germany decided to rent a house to celebrate the Catholic Christmas on December 25 together. We lived on a dacha one hour away from St. Petersburg, where we could take a break from the frenetic city life and from the university, although some of us had to attend online classes.

In Italy, on December 31 we celebrate New Year's Eve with our friends or family. We have dinner together and, after midnight, we go to the city center and enjoy the fireworks all together. After that, some people go to private parties, others go home and play card games. This time in Russia, my friends and I want to stay in St. Petersburg to party, and, most importantly, to see the fireworks on Palace Square. We've heard that maybe there will not be fireworks and there will be restrictions for the New Year, but we hope for the best.

Credit: Weston MacKinnon on Unsplash

Credit: Weston MacKinnon on Unsplash

My Tu, Vietnam

Bachelor’s student at the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems

The year 2021 is coming to an end with many changes. I will be celebrating the New Year to thank myself for all my efforts made over the past months. The first and most important thing I will have to do is to prepare for the winter exams and focus on studying to get the grade I want. But I will still try to spend one week to welcome the new year, too. During this season, the streets are decorated beautifully in St. Petersburg, so I’m going sightseeing and enjoying the atmosphere.

As an international student, I can't celebrate the New Year with my family, so homesickness is inevitable. Fortunately, my Vietnamese friends from the dormitory and I are organizing a small party to comfort and encourage each other. After that, I will spend time visiting my teachers and close friends in the city. That's my whole plan for this vacation.

Last but not least, I wish you a year filled with joy, peace, and prosperity. Happy New Year!!!

Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Subhrajit Barua, India

Master’s student at the ChemBio Cluster

For me, New Year has always been the time to be hopeful and enthusiastic. The start of a new year is always exciting as it brings a plethora of new opportunities. I usually spend it with my family. We prepare some special Indian dishes like chole bhature and biryani. We also play games, watch movies, and decorate the house.

This New Year is going to be different but exciting, as I will be celebrating it with my friends away from home. My friends in my dormitory have many games and activities planned already. Exploring the city will be very exciting, especially the Christmas markets at New Holland, Gostiny Dvor, etc. I am looking forward to doing some street photography.

Credit: Vladimir Zverev on Flickr

Credit: Vladimir Zverev on Flickr

Sharaf Ahdaf Souf, Bangladesh

student of the Foundation Program

Ever since my childhood, New Year has been a very special time of the year. I have always celebrated it with my family and friends. In Bangladesh, it is celebrated with great pomp and show. There are fireworks, music, and good cheer everywhere. Something that is very special is the use of sky lanterns. The night sky becomes filled with them and it is a joy to watch them float. It is believed that they spread peace and happiness.

This time, New Year is going to be a bit different. I will be spending it away from my family. I am looking forward to enjoying it with my friends here in St. Pete. I am also excited to try some special Russian dishes during the holidays such as pirozhki (stuffed buns) and kulebyaka (Russian salmon pie).

Credit: Rja Genka on Flickr

Credit: Rja Genka on Flickr

Zana Ezat Sherwani, the Kurdistan region of Iraq

Master’s student at the Faculty of Secure Information Technologies

New Year for me is a time to spend with family and friends. In my country, we have a grand feast on this day. We get together and have a nice time together. I also participate in charity and donate gifts to the needy.

I am excited to celebrate New Year in Russia this time with my friends. I hope to visit some cool places and explore the city. I also want to see the decorations on the streets. They are magnificent. They enhance the already beautiful architecture of St. Pete.

Read more of our international students' stories here