Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Ly Hang and I am a 20-year-old Vietnamese living in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am enrolled in the Foundation Program at ITMO where I am learning Russian. After its completion, I will study at a Bachelor’s program in information technology and computer systems.

Why Russia?

Russia is one of the most underrated study abroad destinations. It provides such a nice environment for higher education. The country is extremely welcoming of international students. I applied for a scholarship through the Study in Russia website and I was elated to find out that I was one of the winners. It allowed me to study in Russia with a fully-funded government scholarship.

What made you interested in information technology?

I always wanted to pursue a career in something new and exciting. Information technology is the buzzword of this era. Everything you do, from ordering food to studying online, involves IT.

Do you enjoy coding?

I do. My programming knowledge is not excellent but I am working hard to learn new languages like Python and C++. ITMO’s courses on the OpenEdu platform are super helpful.

How much Russian have you learned already?

I would say I have achieved elementary proficiency so far. Earlier I had the impression that I can learn both Russian and English simultaneously. But I was wrong. It is too difficult that way. Therefore, I have now shifted my full focus towards Russian only as I will need it for my Bachelor’s courses.

How do you feel at ITMO?
ITMO is one of the best universities in the world when it comes to IT. So I was always confident and positive about it. But when I came to St. Petersburg, I discovered that it is much more than just a university. It is a huge family of like-minded, happy people who always support one another and bring out the best in everyone. I never feel left out. International students get immense support on all fronts from the staff here.

A Day to Remember at ITMO University. Photo courtesy of the event’s organizers.

A Day to Remember at ITMO University. Photo courtesy of the event’s organizers.

ITMO is home to more than 600 international students from Vietnam. How does it feel to be a part of this community?

It is an amazing feeling. It feels like home. We, as a community, spend a lot of time together. We celebrate together, face challenges together, and look after one another. Last year, we celebrated Vietnamese Women’s Day here at ITMO. It was so much fun!

Do you miss your country?

It is very difficult not to miss such a beautiful country. Vietnamese people are extremely humble and kind. The food is absolutely delicious. There are numerous Vietnamese restaurants in St. Petersburg but not all of them are authentic. Whenever I miss the taste of Vietnamese food, I try cooking some dishes myself.

Also, I miss the warm weather. It never snows in Vietnam, unlike in Russia, its climate is more tropical and suitable for outdoor activities.

What are your favorite places to visit in Vietnam?

There are many places that I like. To name a few, Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi Opera House, Bat Trang Pottery Village, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and so on. This list is endless!

What traditional dishes are at the top of your list?

I really like a fish noodle dish called Bun Ca. Apart from that, Pho and Bao are some other Vietnamese dishes that I enjoy a lot.

Do you like Russian food?

Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of it. Although I quite like bread in Russia. It is tender and always fresh. I have noticed that Russians eat a lot of bread. Why wouldn’t they!

“St. Petersburg is so beautiful. It is like a painting brought to life,” says Ly. Photo courtesy of the subject

“St. Petersburg is so beautiful. It is like a painting brought to life,” says Ly. Photo courtesy of the subject

What are your hobbies?

I have many hobbies but my favorite is reading books. Whenever I get some time, I make sure to read something. Currently, I am reading Jerome Becomes a Genius by Eranz Katz. This is a story of a young shaggy man who has a great memory, undying perseverance, and an unshakeable determination. These traits ultimately help him achieve great success in a short time. This book is very easy to read and memorize and I like it a lot.

Which dorm are you staying in?

I live in the dormitory located on Vyazemsky Lane. It is a very clean and well-maintained dormitory. The fee is also reasonable. Overall, a perfect place for a student to live in.

What are your plans for the summer?

I plan to explore. There are so many popular tourist destinations here such as the Hermitage, Peterhof, etc. Visiting them is my top priority for the summer. I would also love to go on a train ride to places like Karelia and Vladimir. I have heard the journey is mesmerizing and can turn into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Looking for summer activities in St. Petersburg? Read our articles on Our Top 7 Summer Must-Dos in St. Petersburg, Top Free Outdoor Summer Spaces in St. Petersburg, and Top Notch Summer: International Students' Insights.