While global social media platforms continue to dominate the world, international students agree that VK is not behind by any means. On the contrary, it is even better in some aspects. 

“I use VK to stay in touch with everything that’s happening in and around St. Petersburg. It also helps me stay in touch with my friends. There are several communities that keep me updated about events and opportunities,” says Sharaf Ahdaf Souf, an international student from Bangladesh.

Telegram, on the other hand, has taken the standard of messaging apps to a whole new level – as of June 2022, this platform had 700 million active users from all around the world! In addition to appreciating the convenient yet stylish interface, international students also praise its efficient bug management.

“Telegram is great in terms of privacy and security. It also has some amazing sticker packs. The features offered are way cooler than its competitors,” says Istahad Chowdhury, another international student from Bangladesh.

We asked some of them to share some useful Telegram channels/bots and VK pages that they cannot imagine their lives without. Here’s what they came up with:  


Apart from following different groups and channels, our students use: 

  • The ITMO.Print bot to print any study-related documents they need at ITMO;

  • ITMO’s official Telegram channel in English with the university’s latest news in science, opportunities for students, stories from international students, and more;

  • ITMOLNIA, the university’s channel with updates on elective courses, announcements for students, and more.

  • AI Background Remover Bot to remove background from any image. This comes in handy for anyone interested in graphic design or making cool visuals for their presentations;

  • TrueCaller – one bot to keep all scammers away. If you get a call from an unknown number, just paste the number into the chat and the bot will return every piece of information it has on its database;

  • Astro Photo Boloto, a channel with stunning pictures and videos of the starry sky;

  • Besides such bots and chats, students often join student-led groups, such as those of a particular dorm, where they can sell or give away their used items to other students or even order food delivery together.


Here, some of our respondents follow pages that announce cool events in the city and beyond, for instance, this one. If you want to get such information in English, we do our best to cover the most exciting events on our own VK page.

Apart from city-focused pages, various ITMO-related communities are most popular among our students, including: 

  • ITMO Library – for library updates, book recommendations, and more;

  • Office of International Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies – all updates for ITMO PhD students, including exam schedules, scholarships, and useful opportunities; 

  • Machine Learning Lab – this is where you’ll find cool articles and videos, as well as announcements of upcoming webinars, workshops, and internship opportunities in the field of machine learning from ITMO’s very own lab;  

  • ITMO.STUDENTS – follow to never miss an important announcement, student contest, or trip to Yagodnoe and be in the loop about student life at ITMO; 

  • Just like Telegram, students also like to join communities of their own dorms, like this one.

International students use VK and Telegram to receive updates about everything happening at ITMO and in St. Petersburg. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

International students use VK and Telegram to receive updates about everything happening at ITMO and in St. Petersburg. Credit: ITMO.NEWS

So, is it essential for international students to use VK/Telegram?

When asked this question, our international students unanimously agreed that it is a must for every student to have an account on these platforms. In our opinion, it is definitely a great place to meet new people in Russia and learn more about their language and culture. Also, they will help you stay up to date with everything that’s happening at ITMO – be it exams, new opportunities, university-wide events, or field trips!

Go here to gear up your Telegram experience and learn about its cool features, find more channels to follow, and study bots to use. And here’s our little guide to VK’s features to make your user experience super smooth.