- Go international
With a slew of international opportunities provided by the university, it’s almost a crime not to use any of them during your studies. Twice a year, ITMO holds a competition for those eager to spend a semester of their studies abroad. Almost anytime, you can apply for short-term events like online and offline schools, seminars, and research internships abroad and get up to 70% of your expenses reimbursed. For those who want to have an equivalent experience without leaving the country, there’s the Study Abroad at Home program where you can join international students on their courses.
Have a ball at Yagodnoe
Located in the heart of the forest, north of St. Petersburg, ITMO's sports and recreation center is a must-visit to find peace along the centuries-old pines while building shared experiences. Depending on the event, you can come here for a day, a weekend, or a week at any time of the year: swim here in summer, play snowballs in winter, sing songs by the bonfire in fall, and see nature awakening in spring. No matter if it’s a sports camp, a faculty event, or a holiday celebration, experienced organizers have exciting activities in stock for you to have fun and mingle with your fellow students. Stay tuned for the upcoming trips to Yagodnoe on their VK page.
Pick up a sport
At school, I personally hated all the PE lessons, as there was always a ball that flew to my head while my classmates were playing volleyball. Thus, I had no doubt that I’m destined to stay away from all sports. That was until my first year at ITMO when I discovered that you can join any sports club you like, from fitness to chess. That’s how I took up yoga. My point is that even a couch potato like me could find an activity to their heart and gain points for the PE exam with pleasure. And if you already are a pro at something, you can freely improve your skills at advanced level clubs.
Visit ITMO’s Museum of Optics
As my friend said, the best museum is a free museum. Especially if it’s free for you only! Even if you’re not a physics student, ITMO’s Museum of Optics will introduce you to the world of light and optical phenomena simply and fascinatingly. Here, you can tame a rainbow, freeze your shadow, and even play the laser harp while learning about optics, its history, and the latest technologies. With its vivid holograms and optoclones, it’s also a great place to take some cool pics.
Go on a trip with ITMO.Students
Exploring Russia is easy when someone has already got everything planned. In our case, this somebody is ITMO.Students. During the academic year, they organize free (or pretty cheap) guided trips all over the Leningrad Oblast and Russia. Some of their popular destinations are Kronstadt, Vyborg, Veliky Novgorod, and Moscow. The trips usually include a meal service, a transfer, accommodation, and great company. Learn more on how to sign up here.
Ride a bike with the Rector
Twice a year, ITMO students and staff get together to fulfill one of the oldest and most beloved of the university’s traditions to join our Rector Vladimir Vasilyev for a bike ride. The route is picturesque and tried and tested: for about an hour you’ll move from Krestovsky Island towards the Gazprom Arena and Lakhta Center and back. This event is a great chance to meet the university’s key figures in an informal setting and finally blow some dust off your bike. And if you don’t have any, don’t worry, you can always take it at a rental service. Having been there, I also saw people on kick scooters and even a person running – so there’s no limit to your imagination!
Make use of all things free
Before paying for some service or looking for help outside the university, ask yourself: does ITMO provide it for free? The answer is positive more often than you expect: for zero rubles, you can read books via Litres, access the Yandex 360 software suite, ride a scooter between ITMO campuses, and visit some of St. Petersburg's museums. And this is not to mention the discounts! On campus, you can receive a career consultation or psychological support from the university’s experts.
Keeping in mind that every student's way is unique, this article provides recommendations based on the author's personal experience, not a must-do list. May you have a great time at the university!