Hello, thank you for joining us today.

Thank you for inviting me. It’s my pleasure.

Great! Let's begin with your introduction.

I am Mohammed Imran Hossain from Bangladesh. I completed my undergraduate studies at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology in textile engineering way back in 2014. After graduation, I started working. After spending almost 7 years as a working professional, I felt that I needed to pursue higher studies like a Master’s degree abroad. Since then, I started searching for programs in various countries. Finally, I decided to study in Russia and ITMO became my dream university. 

It has been a long time since you graduated. How does it feel to return to studenthood?

It’s definitely a very good feeling, but also a difficult one, because after a gap of almost 7 years, it takes a while to adapt to student life again. In the beginning, it was very challenging for me to get up every day and come to the classroom for classes. A long time in the corporate world changed my lifestyle massively. But now, gradually, I am adapting to this new life and I feel more comfortable.

What are you studying at ITMO?

Currently, I am learning Russian in the Foundation Program. In September, I will start my main Master’s program in mathematical and computer modeling. For the first few days, I felt really uncomfortable and low on confidence but since November 2023, I am feeling more confident and now I can say that I am the top of my class!

What has been your experience of studying at ITMO so far?

The best part of studying at ITMO is that I get to share my classroom with many foreigners. I have classmates from so many different countries, especially the Middle East and Asia. Studying and interacting with them helps me learn about different perspectives and ways of life. It is a life-changing experience for not just me, but anyone.

“I really enjoyed watching a football match at the Gazprom Arena,” says Md. Imran. Photo courtesy of the subject

“I really enjoyed watching a football match at the Gazprom Arena,” says Md. Imran. Photo courtesy of the subject

Why did you change your field from textile engineering to mathematical and computer modeling?

That’s a good question! After working at a textile engineering corporation, I wanted something new, something fresh. Mathematical and computer modeling is an integral part of any engineering or industrial project. So, I wanted to specialize in an innovative field like this one. Russia is well-known for its technological advances and educational prowess. So, I believe by studying at ITMO, I will be able to enhance my skills and unlock new opportunities.

How did you find ITMO?

I received a scholarship from the government of Russia. I was then provided with a list of universities to choose from. I selected ITMO as my top priority because it is one of the best institutions in IT. I was over the moon when I learned that I had been admitted to ITMO. 

Was it difficult to obtain the scholarship?

Not really. The application process was easy. Also, I had a good academic profile. So, everything was smooth. Preparing the documents seemed like a daunting task, but I received help from the representatives of the Russian Cultural Center in Bangladesh. In the interview round, I did very well and the interviewers were impressed with me. Be confident and be yourself – that’s the secret mantra.

Has St. Petersburg impressed you as a city?

I arrived here on September 26, 2023 and stayed overnight at the airport. As I stepped out the next morning, I was mesmerized by the beautiful city. I don’t have enough words to explain my feelings. Oh my god, I have never been to a more beautiful city than this one! It was autumn then and in my opinion, St. Petersburg looks the best in autumn. 

Have you been to the major places of attraction here?

Yes, I have been to the Hermitage and the Gazprom Arena. I have also participated in various indoor games like futsal and badminton. Also, I have been to many metro stations because they are no less a tourist attraction here. I was very surprised to see such beautiful and historically significant metro stations in St. Petersburg. I have also been to St. Petersburg State University because it is one of my goals to visit every university in St. Petersburg and get to know about them. I am very interested in Russian culture, too. So, I also visited theaters and watched amazing  performances in Russian. 

What do you think about the weather?

It was very difficult for me in the beginning. I had never experienced such cold temperatures in my life. Bangladesh is a tropical country with a hot and humid climate. So it took me a long time to adapt. But with proper clothing and lifestyle, it is not very difficult to survive Russian winter.

Md. Imran enjoying snowfall in St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy of the subject

Md. Imran enjoying snowfall in St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy of the subject

Have you had any bad experiences so far?

I had one, but it has nothing to do with the people. The villain here was winter. I was going to the mosque and talking to my mother over a video call. I had removed my gloves to operate my phone more conveniently. But after a few minutes, my hand started aching badly. It was so red and I felt like my hand was pierced with many sharp needles. Soon I was unable to move my hand and fingers at all. I was very scared. But once I entered the mosque, gradually my hand came back to normalcy thanks to the warmth inside. But I learned a very important lesson that day – always cover your hands during winter. 

Have you tried Russian food?

I have tried some dishes and they are good, but they are not spicy. We Asians are accustomed to spicy food. So, Russian food is very new and different for our taste buds. 

What are your hobbies?

It was my lifelong dream to travel the world. Russia is a very big country and has several cultural regions. Every region has such a unique and diverse culture. I am very interested in exploring them. So, I will travel to a lot of places in Russia when I have free time. My plan is to visit Sochi soon.

Any advice for future international students from your experience?

Learning the language should always be on top of your agenda when you plan to study in Russia. It might be tough to learn Russian online, but knowing basic communication will massively help you when you arrive here. Also, it will boost your chances of getting a job or participating in activities. Secondly, always be prepared for the winter. Carry enough warm clothes with you in your suitcase when you come because without proper clothing, you can fall sick very easily.