Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I am Michael Itodo from Nigeria. Currently, I am enrolled in the Foundation Program. Later this year, I will be studying for a Bachelor's degree in software engineering, where I will be learning all about the design and technology of electronics.

How was your experience of learning Russian in the preparatory course?

Russian is decidedly a very difficult language to learn for foreigners, but I am loving the challenges I face in my lessons. I started last October and I’ve made enough progress to be able to talk to locals comfortably.

What motivated you to choose software engineering? 

Since childhood, I had a dream of becoming a designer of electronic gadgets, especially because my native country Nigeria struggles with their development. I wish to contribute to my country’s technological advancement with my knowledge of designing smart devices.

Why did you choose Russia for your higher education?

When I was searching for higher education opportunities abroad, I observed that Russia was the best option for pursuing IT and engineering. In Nigeria, we have a government body that provides scholarships to students. I applied and won a full scholarship – which helped me gain admission directly to ITMO.

Micheal at a Russian grocery store. Photo courtesy of the subject

Micheal at a Russian grocery store. Photo courtesy of the subject

How long have you been staying in St. Petersburg? How does it feel to be here?

It has been seven months since I arrived in this beautiful city of St. Petersburg. It is full of good and kind people. It was also my very first time experiencing snowfall. Nigeria has a hot climate, and when I first arrived here, I was worried about how I would survive this cold weather. Then I began taking inspiration from the locals on how they dealt with the weather, and now I have become quite comfortable with it.

Did you try out Russian food?

Well, Russian cuisine is rather different from Nigerian one, but I did find some interesting and delicious dishes. I enjoy going out with my Russian friends and roommates and dining at local restaurants. Dishes like potatoes with chicken (картофель с курицей) are some of my choicest picks.

Have you discovered any African restaurants in St. Pete?

My seniors from Africa had informed me about one, but I haven’t checked it out yet.

Did you have time to visit any tourist attractions here?

Yes, many! I’ve visited malls like Galeria, museums and palaces like Peter the Great’s Summer Palace, and also the Mariinsky Theatre. My favorite destination so far has been the Galeria Mall.

What are your plans for the summer?

I am really looking forward to visiting Moscow.

How do you spend your free time? 

I like to utilize my free time by playing football or listening to music. I also love learning about historic events. 

“I love my life in St. Petersburg. It is exhilarating!” says Michael. Photo courtesy of the subject

“I love my life in St. Petersburg. It is exhilarating!” says Michael. Photo courtesy of the subject

Do you live in a dormitory in St. Pete? 

Yes, I live in the Vyazemsky dorm. Whether you have a good experience or not depends on the people you share your dorm with. I live with a nice Russian roommate and I feel quite comfortable and satisfied.

What advice would you like to give to students who want to come to Russia for their higher studies?

My advice to aspiring students would be to learn some basic Russian before coming here so that communicating with the locals is not a difficulty. You can watch YouTube videos or follow social media pages to enhance your vocabulary. 

Also, you should come prepared with your winter garments and jackets for the cold weather. If you are someone who loves the traditional cuisine of your country and may miss it very much in Russia, you should consider bringing some handy snacks or ingredients with you.