«My semester abroad in Moscow
The 29th of August 2012 is a day I will remember for a long time. This the day my adventure in Moscow started. Of course I was a little bit nervous but on the other hand very excited to experience a semester abroad. I had studied for 3 years in the University of Applied Science in Utrecht (Hogeschool Utrecht) and I just finished my year as treasurer in the board of Directors of the student tennis club in Utrecht. So it was time for something new and I had found it by following my minor abroad. People asked me why Russia? In the Netherlands it is not really a common choice but that was actually one of the main reasons for me to choice for Moscow. I didn’t know a lot about Moscow, Russia and his culture and that made it more interesting for me.
When I arrived at Domodedova airport I actually didn’t really know what I could expect of the city. Some of the buddies (very good system by the way) picked me and some other international students up at the airport and we took the train to Paveletskaya train station. Arrived in the dorm I met my roommates and other international students. The next two weeks I felt more like a tourist than a student. I couldn’t read and understand the language, didn’t know the way and everything was new. But thanks to the help of the buddies, the international students and the different trips we made in the beginning I felt immediately at home. After one month everything felt more familiar.
To be honest, the level of the lectures was not the same as I was used to. Most of the courses where quite easy except for logistics and Russian because they were completely new courses for me. Unfortunately I missed too many Russian classes because I was lazy or I was travelling around. When I look back this was the only part a regretted during my stay, because I didn’t learn enough about the language.
Besides of studying a travelled and partied a lot (maybe too much). The nightlife of Moscow was great and I also had a lot of fun during ‘piva management’ but I wanted to see more than only Moscow. In October I went to Saint Petersburg and in November I experienced the Tran Siberian Express. We travelled to the Baikal Lake and had an amazing time. On the way back we visited the cities Krasnoyarsk and Yekaterinburg. Furthermore I went to Kiev and in December we made an awesome dog sledge tour in Karelia.
When I look back I think a learned a lot during my stay in Moscow. I made new (international)friends, lived for the first time abroad, experienced a different culture, learned how to drink vodka properly;) and I guess just the whole experience of studying abroad is good for your general knowledge. Russia has not always a positive image in Western Europe but I didn’t experience that at all. People are generally friendly, curious and not every man is an alcoholic haha.
Last but not least I wanted to say Я люблю Россию and I still miss it!
Exchange student Plekhanov University – autumn semester 2012»
Tamara Stjepanovic Downer, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia:
« When I was getting ready for my Exchange Semester in Russia I didn't know what to
expect, because I think I was the ?rst person from my university who was doing this
exchange. I thought that I will be on my own, but then I received e-mail from my buddy. I
was surprised and happy that there will be someone to help me out, but still I didn't
really know that there is a buddy system and that besides helping us out upon our
arrival, they are organizing all different kind of activities. At the beginning I had some
dif?culties, because I was supposed to study in Russian and not with other international
students on IBS program. However, in the end everything went ?ne, and thanks to my
buddy, Dean’s Of?ce and International Center, I was successfully transferred to IBS
program. The only thing that didn't work well in Russia since I came was getting student
card and metro cards. It was time-consuming. I understand that paperwork takes time,
but I think some things like that could've been done more ef?ciently. In addition, when it
comes to metro cards, that we were waiting for almost 3 months, I think that you should
warn students about that right away and just suggest them to buy metro cards with 60
rides, because it is not possible to get metro card that fast. I was buying smaller metro
cards all the time, because no one told me that it takes that much time. I was excited
that I am going to studying in English and also have Russian language classes. Main
reason why I wanted to come to Moscow is improving my Russian. I took 18 hours per
week. I can de?nitely say that I improved it so far, but I still think it could've been even
better. The only problem is that we are not that much in touch with Russian students.
However, thanks to my amazing Russian teacher Larisa I learned a lot. She is the best
Russian teacher I ever had and one of the best teachers in general. She is real example
how a teacher should be. I took few different subjects in IBS program, and I would say
that I am quite satis?ed, but I have to say that one of the, Corporate Social
Responsibility, is really poor. I expected that it will be interesting, but teacher doesn't
really know much. I don't know what is the real problem behind it, maybe English or not
enough of experience, but I am really disappointed. Strategic Management and
Marketing Management professors are nice, interesting and always well-prepared for
the class. When it comes to Doing Business in Russia, that is something that I was
really interested in, but 6 hours per week is just too much, especially when some of
professors were just reading what was written on the slides. At the end we were
supposed to write report and for all those ours we spent in DBR classes we didn't get
any useful input. I think DBR is really useful subject, but it should be revised. Still I have
to say that we had few nice professors as well. I would like to mention our dormitory too.
It is really nice dorm and ladies who are on our ?oor are nice as well, especially Galina.
Kitchen is not as not, it is usually dirty and overcrowded, and it would be better if
international students had fridges in their rooms too, because it is just impossible for 10
people to use one fridge. Dormitory guards should be more polite. All in all, I am happy
that I had chance to come here, gain some new experience, improve my Russian and
meet new people. I can say that I am satis?ed. I love Moscow, it is really nice city, which
you can explore for years. I wish I had chance to stay here for a year. Winter in Moscow
is ruff, but as soon as the weather gets nicer and warmer Moscow becomes like a city
from fairy tale. I will miss Moscow and people I met!»