Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello everyone, my name is Fan Tuan and I am a 20-year-old from Hanoi, Vietnam. Currently, I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in software engineering and enjoying my life as an international student at ITMO!

How would you describe your country?

Vietnam is one of the friendliest countries in the world. Our people are known for their warm hospitality and kind nature. Visitors are greeted with a genuine smile and tons of welcome. The locals take pride in sharing their culture and traditions with the rest of the world. We make sure that everyone who visits our country has a memorable time.

Do you have a traditional food that reminds you of home?

When it comes to special dishes, I would say Pho. It is a noodle soup which has become a symbolic dish for Vietnam. When I have this dish, it not only satisfies my taste buds but also evokes strong nostalgia, reminding me of the warmth and love back home.

What about bun ca? Do you like it, too?

Actually, I don’t really like bun ca. So, I don’t miss it quite often.

What are some of the best places to visit in your country?

There are many famous places in Vietnam, but you must come to Hanoi, the capital city. It is also the cultural center of our country. There’s always something happening on the streets of Hanoi. There are numerous historic monuments and artifacts, too. You must visit Hanoi one day.

From Hanoi to St. Petersburg – what made you take this decision?

Some of the main reasons that motivated me to study in Russia were its high-class educational institutions and strong academic programs. I also wanted to experience a new culture. I was sure that by living in Russia, I would be able to broaden my horizons.

Fan participated in a marathon hosted by ITMO earlier this year. Photo courtesy of the subject

Fan participated in a marathon hosted by ITMO earlier this year. Photo courtesy of the subject

And why ITMO?

I think ITMO offers one of the best programs in software engineering and here I can gain proper expertise in the field of my liking. The teachers here are very skilled and professional. 

Moreover, it feels amazing to be an international student at ITMO. I have been provided with excellent support and resources that make my life much easier. ITMO has also given me the opportunity to meet so many new people from different countries, participate in many interesting projects, and enrich and broaden my perspectives.

Were you a part of the Foundation Program?

Yes, I studied Russian for a year at the Foundation Program.

And how much Russian have you learned so far?

The Foundation Program really helped me get introduced to this language and learn the basics. I can understand Russian quite well now. However, my vocabulary isn’t so great yet, but I am working on it.

How did you adapt to the cold weather in Russia?

Adjusting to the cold weather in Russia requires some effort. I invest in good winter clothes and always remember to add many layers to my outfit. 

Where do you stay?

I am currently living in a dormitory located on Vyazemsky Street. Although my roommates are Russian, this dorm houses more than 200 Vietnamese students! We feel like a big community here. We cook, spend time, and hang out together. It is amazing to live with your fellow countrymen in a foreign city.

What are your hobbies?

I like listening to music. It helps me relax and focus on things outside academics. 

Do you listen to Vietnamese songs only?

English songs are my favorite because I want to improve my English as well. Right now, I am focused on mastering Russian, but I also want to get better at English because it is the most widely spoken foreign language in Vietnam.

Which is your favorite place here in St. Petersburg?

I really like the Hermitage. I think it is a very complex collection of art, architecture, and history. When I visited the Hermitage, I learned so much about the different historic events in Russia.

“I really like Moscow because I find it to be infrastructurally similar to my hometown, Hanoi,” says Fan. Photo courtesy of the subject

“I really like Moscow because I find it to be infrastructurally similar to my hometown, Hanoi,” says Fan. Photo courtesy of the subject

Any advice for future students from Vietnam?

This is my favorite question! My advice would be to embrace the opportunities wholeheartedly and make an effort to learn Russian well. It will really help you to make the most of the different opportunities and resources at ITMO and also get involved in the various interesting clubs that they have here. Don’t hesitate to seek help when needed and never hesitate to make long-lasting friendships with fellow students.

Let's end the interview with a series of rapid-fire questions:

  • Moscow or St. Petersburg: Moscow, because I really like its modern infrastructure. It reminds me of my hometown, Hanoi, which is also a hub of modern infrastructure.

  • Bus or metro: I suffer from motion sickness when traveling in a car. So, I prefer the metro. However, I really think that a bus ride is more enjoyable because you can enjoy the beautiful view outside.

  • Your favorite season in Russia: it has to be summer. In Vietnam, summers are very hot and humid, but here it's very pleasant. Therefore, I really enjoy going out with my friends and enjoying the city during summer.