What did you find attractive in European and International Studies to make you choose it as your field of studies?
I was and still am interested in many fields, but it’s a long story of how I chose to be engaged in International Studies. Something that I like about it is that it’s a very broad field, from politics and law to energy studies and economics. Besides this field, I’m also really interested in art, I have been since I was born. Art is not a hobby, it’s a way of life.
What do you think is the main difference between your studies and art?
The main focus of International relations and any other political/social science department is in understanding the way society works, and how societies interact with each other. However, art is a broader term, it can speak to individuals, affect them in a unique way and often even without the use of words and language as we are accustomed to understand it. The scientific or technical nature of ITMO got me to appreciate art even more.
How did you get interested in Russia?
I credit a friend with my interest in Russia and learning the Russian language. Through him, I not only learned some Russian but also got immersed in the culture, cuisine, and ways of life. So you could say I knew what was coming for me. I wanted to test my experiences by living in Russia, test my tolerance in the cold weather, practice the Russian language with the locals, see how a university on the other side of the continent works, and observe how the city functions in its everyday life.
What’s the response you often get when people learn that you’re from Greece?
It’s just a surprise, as some people think I don’t look like your typical Greek, but what’s the most surprising to me is how some Russians seem to confuse Greece with Cyprus as I’ve heard many comments like “Greece is my favorite country, I was in Cyprus a few years ago and loved it”, or when I ask what places they know in Greece, “Cyprus” is a reply I get. It’s a different country, guys!
What do people think when you say you study what you study?
They get surprised as it seems to be something very prestigious, like to help become a diplomat, or the next leader of the country. They get even more surprised, as I look like and always was, a very artistic person, which is somewhat contradictory to the refined view that’s needed for most positions in International Studies.
What surprised you the most at ITMO?
The help from the students (the Buddy System) was what surprised me the most at first. They helped us relate to all the technical subjects and to get adjusted to the country, city, and university, so we feel as comfortable as possible. It’s also incredible to meet students from all over the world, full of ideas and inspiration, who bring you happiness and hope about tomorrow’s world. It’s them (the students) who make up a good university.
Do you have any side projects you're interested in?
I work as a tattoo artist, specialized in hand-poked tattoos and I am also a sailor. I’m always interested in helping people who want to carry art on their skin fulfill their desire, and here, in St Petersburg! As for sailing, I already have my skipper’s license, and I am working on becoming a professional skipper myself, so I might travel around the world on a boat and explore life. Languages are and always will be exciting for me as they bring people closer, from French and Spanish to Swedish, Arabic, and Hindi. You can never be good enough!
Do you have any dreams you have completed or want to complete here in Russia?
So far I’m only still trying to create a plan/routine and get comfortable here in St Petersburg, so I’ve only walked around the city a bit. But the bucket list is endless, from seeing as much of Hermitage as possible to going to the biggest lakes of Europe, Moscow, and going back to Greece, speaking way better Russian than when I had left.