Tell us more about where you are from.

I am from Eritrea, a country with a long history of educational relations with Russia. Most people haven’t heard of it, but after reading about it they grow to admire its culture and history.

My home town is called Keren: it is surrounded by mountains, it’s the second largest city of the country, and composed of mainly three ethnic groups: Tigrigna, Bilen, and Tigre.

What surprised you about Russia?

To be honest, what really surprised me about Russia is its rich culture, well-developed subway system, and the work ethic of the people. I found them to be really helpful, very respectful, cooperative, decent, and generous.

Why did you choose ITMO University for your Master’s degree?

There are quite a few reasons: first, ITMO University is one of the leading higher education institutions in research. Second, ITMO is also one of the top 15 Russian universities that were selected to participate in the 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project. Third but not least, another important factor was that back home I studied in English, and ITMO University is one of the few universities in Russia that teaches Master’s programs in English. So I couldn’t pass on those opportunities. I like ITMO’s capabilities of integration and adaptation for international students.

For me, studying in Russia is an experience that I don’t think I would trade for anything in the world. If I had to pick again, I wouldn’t change my decision.

What motivated you to choose Chemistry of Applied Materials as your field of studies?

My background is in chemical engineering and beyond that I really love having the opportunity to do research in a laboratory. I believe experimental achievements make for the most trustworthy results.

What motivated me is that my country is a new developing country and is rich in natural resources such as oil, gold, potash, et cetera, so I believe my field is useful in making optimal and reasonable use of these resources.

What are your favorite things about ITMO?

My five favorite things about ITMO are: it has highly professional staff, it has a well-equipped educational infrastructure with laboratories. It also possesses a practice-oriented educational system, and has a diversity of students from all over the world.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I am social, optimistic, and ready to learn.

Can you share some facts you just learned and would like to share with everyone else?

Russia and St. Petersburg have a rich history and culture. Russia is full of cities that can easily attract tourists. I encourage people to visit. I am really fascinated with the elegant and beautiful metro, Art Deco buildings in the city center, bridges, and ring roads. I am very lucky to be able to enjoy it.

I found the educational system in Russia and its teaching methodology outstanding. I feel like it genuinely values learning experience above good grades. In particular, ITMO University is well-developed and practice-oriented, so I encourage international students to pursue their higher studies in Russia.

Written by Ethan Avila