Was there any particular reason why you chose Information, Automation, and Robotics Engineering as your field of studies?

I chose it because I like to think outside the box. I believe in this field we can come up with different solutions for different types of problems. This can help a lot in the near future. Humans have that unique capability of doing amazing things but we should not forget we also need to have some free time to enjoy our lives to the fullest. Robots and automation are here just to facilitate our mundane and repetitive tasks.

Why ITMO?

I wanted a different experience than regular Brazilian exchange students. Mostly we go to Canada, the USA or Germany, I wanted something different. I chose ITMO because of its partnership with my college, Federal University of ABC, and also because ITMO has a good reputation in robotics competitions and its solutions to problems.

Did you have any aspirations for the program?

My only expectation was and still is to learn a lot, not only inside classes but also about Russia in general and other countries' cultures. Also, I want to enjoy my stay, and to experience everything St. Petersburg has to offer!

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor (it doesn’t matter if he/she is dead)?

Running away from the clichés, I love Simone Giertz. She is an inventor that builds “useless stuff”. She usually shows how to have fun in every task you make, and is also hard working without forgetting to enjoy the little things.

What reaction do people have when you tell them you’re from Brazil?

People usually ask me about soccer. Also, they ask me why I chose Russia and how I'm dealing with the cold weather.

Are there any misconceptions people, in general, have about Russia that you noted being here?

I can't remember any of them. Of course, I’ve heard some things, like about Russian traffic jams, for example, but I came here with an open mind and I’m loving this place! 

What do you miss about Brazil?

I think one of the things that I most miss from Brazil is the music, like funk, pagoda, and sertanejo. Also, I miss Brazilian meat! Here it just tastes different. Also, Russian parties are weird. A few weeks ago I went to a festival on the beach and it was freezing. We didn’t stay for long. I fell on the ice four times. Also, in clubs here people are more, how would I say it... behaved. I miss the interaction with strangers at parties.

What would you think is the difference between Russian and Brazilian parties?

They are so different!  Like, in Brazil, you can go alone to a party and make friends and have a barbecue scheduled for the next day, and here people are more reserved and don’t interact that much, but, when you can break the ice, you can spend a really good time with them!

Do you have any hobbies?

For now, my only hobby is discovering Russia! Like, on days that I have no classes, I just go for a walk in the city, finding new spots, entering every store, cafe, park or something that I find interesting and just enjoy the time.

What would you name the autobiography of your life?

That’s a difficult question! Maybe something like “What I Learned Outside My Classroom”.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

Absque sudore et labore nullum opus perfectum est”, it reminds me of my college and has a deep meaning. It means “Without hard work and effort, no work is perfected”.

Written by Ethan Avila
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