Hello, how are you doing?

Hi, thanks for the invitation. I am doing very well.

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I am Zhu Wentao from China. I am currently a student at ITMO’s Foundation Program, where I am learning the Russian language. From September, I will be starting my Master’s program in deep learning and generative AI.

Is it difficult for you to learn Russian?

Yes, it is a tough language to learn and speak, but I am trying my best. With the help of the teachers here at ITMO, I am able to learn the basics. I hope to improve further in the future.

Why deep learning?

I have been a technology enthusiast all my life. My Bachelor’s degree is in software engineering. Towards the end of my undergrad, I realized that in today’s world AI and machine learning are the buzzwords, but deep learning is a futuristic technology. Since I always wanted to stay ahead in the game, I decided to get a Master’s degree in it. 

Why did you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Russia?

Russia is known to be a global hub of technological innovation and advancements and many Chinese universities have partnerships with their Russian counterparts. Moreover, studying abroad is a very useful experience. It helps unlock numerous skills and talents that otherwise would never have been possible. 

How did you get acquainted with ITMO?

ITMO is well-known for its IT programs. In Russia, ITMO is one of the leaders in shaping the next generation of tech heroes. So, it was very tempting to me to get trained here and learn from the best in the business.

What do you like the most about St. Petersburg?

The scenery and the weather are my favorite. In my hometown, we never see snowfall. So, to experience such heavy snowfall in St. Petersburg is a special feeling. The winter here is indeed beautiful.

“I love St. Petersburg’s historic architecture,” says Wentao. Photo courtesy of the subject

“I love St. Petersburg’s historic architecture,” says Wentao. Photo courtesy of the subject

How does it feel to be an international student at ITMO?

I am very happy to be a student at ITMO. I got to meet so many Chinese students here; also, the university occasionally organizes some events showcasing my culture. I like attending ITMO’s Speaking Club events. They are very interesting!

Do you live in a dormitory?

I am living in an ITMO dormitory located near Petrogradskaya metro station on Vyazemsky Lane 5-7. What I like the most about this dorm is that it has international students from many different countries. We often get to experience different cultures and learn about the diversity of this world. 

How did you celebrate the Lunar New Year?

I went out with my best friend to eat at a restaurant. I definitely missed home and the celebrations back in China. The night sky in China is always filled with beautiful fireworks and drones as the clock strikes 00:00 on Lunar New Year. I missed it a lot in addition to the delicious food made especially on this day.

You can follow us on Telegram to learn more about celebrations in the city.

Okay, thank you so much. 

Do you like Russian food?

I like some of it, like borscht, it's my favorite Russian dish. I have tried a few others, too, and they are great. They are not spicy, but it's good.

What are your hobbies?

After coming to Russia, I haven’t been able to pursue any of my hobbies. But back in China, I used to play basketball a lot. I hope I can resume playing regularly here too.

Have you been to any other Russian city?

I have only been at the Moscow airport during a layover while traveling from Beijing to St. Petersburg. I hope I can explore more cities in Russia soon. 

Wentao is enjoying the winter in St. Petersburg. He describes it as beautiful. Photo courtesy of the subject

Wentao is enjoying the winter in St. Petersburg. He describes it as beautiful. Photo courtesy of the subject

What are your plans for this semester?

Besides improving my Russian, I would also like to enroll in some additional courses, such as the ones focused on deep learning or AI. These courses would help me be better prepared for my Master’s program.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your study abroad experience so far?

I learned that you must take on challenges in life to get the most out of it. Coming to Russia was one of the best decisions of my life. I am enjoying every bit of my life here and I would highly recommend everyone to consider Russia as a study abroad destination.