Three students from different cities and Tambi go through all the stages of starting university and address a laundry list of challenges first-years face when moving to a new city. 

Settling in and making friends

As shared by ITMO students themselves, their favorite hangout spots are Sevkabel Port, New Holland Island, Geek Picnic festival, and, last but not least, coworking spaces at the Kronverksky and Lomonosova campuses. The latter, by the way, are open 24/7, which makes them the most social locations at the university at any hour, day or night. Another great way to start your university life is through ITMO.ENTER – a Telegram channel for new-to-ITMO students where you can get a bunch of useful information on various topics, including student opportunities, individual learning tracks, a career in academia, launching startups and making your first money. 

As for free time activities, Anton Kabakov, the head of ITMO’s Student Initiatives Support Department, points out that ITMO students can enjoy exhibitions and theater performances for discounted prices. The list of student discounts includes 10 local theaters, among which are the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater, the Alexandrinsky Theatre, and the Baltic House Festival Theatre. Another way to use your free time is to join one of the university’s many (over 100!) student clubs

How to earn and save money

While getting a state academic stipend might be a go-to for the newly admitted, there are other ways to receive financial aid, for instance, through grants and charity programs. ITMO students are regular winners of Alfa-Bank’s scholarship program, which offers promising students a 300,000-ruble grant to support their careers. Apart from the Alfa-Bank program, ITMO was also named one of the top three universities in the Potanin Foundation Scholarship Contest in 2022. The holders of the scholarship receive as much as 25,000 rubles per month. 

Hackathons are an excellent way to fund your startup, as well. Graduate of ITMO’s Faculty of Secure Information Technologies Daniil Merenkov and his teammates managed to earn around 2 million rubles in a hackathon this year. From his own experience, Daniil encourages students to take part in hackathons starting from their first year. This is best done when you have days off and more free time. As for other opportunities, he names networking, portfolio-worth projects, and startups. 

If you want to make it on time for classes, lab projects, and student parties at different campuses without breaking the bank, the head of ITMO’s Student Services Office Elena Borisova recommends downloading Whoosh – a free electric scooter rental (or kicksharing) service for quick cruises between ITMO campuses.

You Are a Student in St. Pete! What Happens Next? (in Russian)

Managing your studies and taking your first exams

Do you want to pick the courses that are tailored to your career? You can do that at ITMO! Pavel Brunko, a second-year student at ITMO’s ChemBio Cluster, studied emotional intelligence, alongside his marketing and technology courses, to understand his own emotions and learn to manage them. 

The end of the semester means one thing – exams. With loads of myths and bad, even harmful advice on how to prepare for an exam, Natalia Hohlova, a soft skills lecturer at ITMO, advocates for simple yet highly efficient tips: a.) consider studying in a group; b.) have a plan B (what will happen if you fail?); c.) do breathing exercises; and d.) stay hydrated. 

For more information on student life, visit the website of ITMO University's Student Services Office and follow their official Telegram channel ITMOLNIA. Keep an eye on ITMO.NEWS and its features section to stay updated on university news and learn more about student opportunities, life in Russia, and more. You can also follow ITMO University’s official VK pages (in Russian and English) and Telegram (in Russian, English, and Spanish) channels.