What do people often tell you when they learn where you’re from?

When someone hears "Greece", the first thing that comes to their mind are happy thoughts, such as the sun and the sea. The most frequently asked question is, "Why did you leave?" The answer can seem simple but to execute it was the difficult part.
Can you tell us a bit about your hometown?

My hometown is Patras. It has around 167,000 inhabitants, about 2.5 hours drive from Athens and it is located beside the magnificent sea. This is why I love to spend my summers in Patras. My house is only a 10-minute walk from the beach and I can enjoy the view of one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges, the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge! This view can be relaxing and exciting.
Can you tell me a bit about your academic exchange experience?

I am open to challenges and that has made my exchange experience one of the best in my life so far! It changed my life and opened new doors for my professional and personal life. From Greece to Russia and finally to Germany, I’m always chasing my dreams.
How are you spending your time in Berlin?

Here in Berlin I don’t live alone, so I have good company to cook, play board games and PlayStation, and redecorate the house. But also, I get my personal time and space to work out and read books. Of course, I dedicate some time to my Master’s thesis. Also, I spent one month working in a hospital, where I found a part time job. 
What surprised you about Russia?

Russia is a country with many faces. This is what surprised me the most. For example, St. Petersburg’s city center has the most incredible architecture that I have seen, sadly I cannot say the same about the architecture outside the city.

Eleni Bouzouka. Photo courtesy of the subject
Eleni Bouzouka. Photo courtesy of the subject

Why ITMO University?

Besides the fact that ITMO granted me a scholarship for my Master’s studies, it is considered to be one of the best universities in St. Petersburg.
What motivated you to study thermophysical processes and technologies?

I had a hard time choosing my Master’s. Physics has a lot of different fields. So, I chose the one that had a great amount of different perspectives. 
What are your five favorite things about ITMO?

My five favorite things are:

  1. My group mates – they’re always ready to help.
  2. The professors – they always make me feel welcomed.
  3. My wardrobe – it is very convenient.
  4. The feeling of safety in the city.
  5. The architecture of the main ITMO University building. 

 What is an interesting fact about you?

I am able to adapt quite fast and adequately to different countries and circumstances without losing my core personality.
What piece of art (book, music, movie, etc.) most influenced you as a  person?

I love art! Different forms of it helped me a lot through the years. I enjoy a variety of arts such as books or ballet shows, but my passion is drawing and painting. When I draw, I can understand myself better because my art reflects my life. 
I think that everybody must find a way out of the daily pressure. Art is definitely a good way to achieve that. Everyone creates their own art based on their own personality.
What's the last thing you saw on Netflix?

I saw The Last Dance, a documentary about Michael Jordan. Even though I don't know a lot about basketball, his passion for success really inspired me.
What is something you've just learned that you'd like everyone to know?

If you want to succeed, you have to dare.
Written by Ethan Avila