Abid’s mother is from Saudi Arabia and his father is from Taiwan. In his life-time he has already lived in India, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and more recently in Russia. As a result he speaks Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese and now Russian.

When choosing where to pursue his higher education, he had the opportunity to go to Germany which was his father’s first choice but he’d been to St. Petersburg before and decided to give it a shot.

Despite the exotic introduction, Abid is as sincere and open as they come in terms of what he’s experiencing and what he expects. He shares the raw and funny details of being a foreigner in Russia but he shares everything with a light-hearted laugh.

Here’s a list of some of his experiences, observations and ideas from a unique perspective after having lived in St. Petersburg and studied at ITMO University for over a year:

  • Visiting the Hermitage is free with a student card. But I’m not so into museums so I got really tired because it’s so big.
  • The weather is unpredictable. I’ve learned now to always take my umbrella, no matter what the season. I like snow.
  • Studying Russian here is really fun.
  • During the winter, inside the rooms is really warm, so it’s hard to study without falling asleep.
  • The metro has very long escalators.
  • The International Department at ITMO University really cares and tries to help, but in the Department where I study, not so much.
  • There are lots of anticafe’s in the city, where you pay for the time you spend there, it’s a new experience and I like going there and playing board games.
  • The dorms are good.
  • Police often stop me and ask to look at my documents, this is very new for me, but when they see that I am from Taiwan they start laughing.
  • Sushi is everywhere.
  • The internet here is fast and cheap.
  • Before coming everyone told me it’s not safe here but actually it’s so safe!
  • Everyone thinks that shopping in China is cheap but actually it’s really expensive, I can buy 5 Adidas outfits here for the same price I would buy one in China.
  • I love New Year here, because of the sales, all the clothes and everything are really cheap!
  • My classmates, they are very helpful, mostly the girls.
  • Since I’m not a native Russian student, it takes me twice as long to study what a Russian student studies.
  • I have a Vietnamese roommate, he’s really smart. He can do math with his eyes closed. He doesn’t understand what the teacher says but still gets top marks.
  • Sometimes when I have lots of time, I like to sit on the bus with a friend, go to the last station, get off, look around and come back.
  • I like to explore Russia, I want to visit Murmansk!

Here are some photos that show Abid’s positive spirit and fun experiences in Russia and abroad: