Hi! Can you tell the readers a bit about where you’re from?

I am from Vietnam, a beautiful country in Southeast Asia. If you look at the world map, you will see Vietnam as a long, narrow S-shaped country adjacent to the South China Sea. Here you will find some of the most courteous and generous people who are always welcoming of foreigners.

What are you studying at ITMO?

I am currently enrolled in ITMO’s Foundation Program, where I am learning Russian. After completing this course, I will enter the Bachelor’s program in programming and artificial intelligence

What is your favorite subject?

I really like solving problems. Since my school days, mathematics has been my favorite subject. I have always been extremely good in exams too. I could always ace the math paper.

Students usually are afraid of math while you seem to enjoy it. What’s the secret?

There was a senior of mine at school who could solve any mathematical problem in minutes. I looked up to him as an inspiration. I, too, wanted to be good at math. With sheer determination and hours of practice, I was able to get better at it. My love for math has never faded since. 

Huyền’s favorite seasons are summer and fall. Photo courtesy of the subject

Huyền’s favorite seasons are summer and fall. Photo courtesy of the subject

Is learning Russian hard for you?

Yes, it is. As a Vietnamese, I am in a challenging situation right now, as I have to learn both English and Russian to survive. Interestingly, I forget my English when I focus more on Russian and vice versa. It is a tricky task indeed. However, I have decided to first learn Russian and then focus on English, as I need Russian more here.

How do you feel here in St. Petersburg?

This city is just like my second home. People here are very friendly and amiable. You don’t feel neglected or ignored at all.

ITMO has many international students from Vietnam. How does it feel to be a part of this community?

It feels comfy. I never expected to find so many Vietnamese students and people here in St. Petersburg. But it was a pleasant surprise indeed. It becomes so much easier to find friends when you have such a big community. 

Do you like Russian food?

Pelmeni and borscht – I can have them any day of the week! I prefer simple food like rice and curry. Vietnamese is my favorite cuisine of all time. I like pho very much. It is yummy!

“St. Petersburg feels like my second home,” says Khánh Huyền. Photo courtesy of the subject

“St. Petersburg feels like my second home,” says Khánh Huyền. Photo courtesy of the subject

Do you cook your own food? 

I am not a great cook. However, I am trying to learn a few easy-to-make dishes. One of my goals is to make pelmeni by hand. Whenever I am on campus, I prefer eating at the stolovaya (Russian for “cafeteria” – Ed.) of the university. I have also explored some Vietnamese restaurants – Pho n Roll is my favorite. 

Are you staying at an ITMO dorm?

I live in the dormitory on Lensoveta St. It is a very beautiful and cozy dorm. The temperature is maintained very well inside the building. There are numerous convenience stores nearby, making life quite easy for me. 

What are your favorite places in the city?

The Hermitage and the Galeria Mall. I guess the Hermitage needs no explanation. It is everyone’s favorite. I like the Galeria Mall because of its amazing collection of apparel and gadgets. I like to shop for everything there. Also, the food there is amazing. The Eat Market has such a wide variety of options. It also has a few top-quality Vietnamese food shops.

What are your plans for the future?

First of all, I would like to pass the Foundation Program with flying colors. Then I would like to study hard and pass every exam with good grades. I absolutely want to get a red diploma (an honors diploma – Ed.). I would also like to apply for an exchange program to gain more experience. Germany, Italy, and France are on my wishlist.