Xu Qi



  1. Why did you choose SPbU?

Russia is a country with profound culture, and St Petersburg University (SPbU), as one of the most well-known universities in Russia, has been cultivating a lot of talents who have been dedicated to the country, even the world. This must be my honor to study here since I would enjoy abundant accomplishments that have been accumulated over a long period of time, in other words, I would stand on the shoulders of giants. Beyond that, SPbU provides a plenty of opportunities and resources for students, such as exchange programs, guest lecturers from various areas, and so on. That means this university is inclusive and international as well. Old but not rigid, indigenous but international, this contradiction attracted me and made me look forward to living and studying in SPbU.

  1. What is your general impression about SPbU and St Petersburg? 

St Petersburg is the city that I expect to live, since it is full of historical architecture that make the city mysterious and charming. It is quite beautiful, especially in spring and summer.



SPbU has been cultivating lots of giants, such as Dimitri Mendeleev whom I know from chemistry class, and President Putin. It is so exciting and I am proud of being alumni with them! What’s more, the majority of professors and students are open-minded, and respectable. I can be involved into such an open and inclusive environment, in order to develop and improve myself. That is the most unforgettable impression when I studied here in the first month.

  1. What is your opinion about your master programme? What skills have you improved? What was your most memorable experience at GSOM?  

The master programme emphasizes on training students’ abilities of observation, cooperation, and communication, with providing various courses. Through learning from professors and classmates, I have developed an ability of analyzing a case or issue from business perspective, and figuring out causal relationships behind problems. Besides, either individual or group presentation, as a common but necessary part, was required in every course. From the first presentation to the defense, I can see my improvements. It helped me to speak in public confidently and bravely.

  1. Besides your studies, what do you do in Russia (hobbies, job, projects…)? Have you been able to make some friends and contacts here?

I like traveling, so I went to different parts in St Petersburg, and other cities in Russia, such as Moscow, and Sochi. I own many memorable experiences here, especially friends I have made. Some are locals, and others are from other countries. All of them make my life in Russia wonderful and memorable, meanwhile, I have touched different culture that enrich my experience.

  1. Would you recommend St Petersburg University to your friends? 

Yes, I would. Living and studying in SPbU is an exciting and wonderful experience, and people would be involved in an open and inclusive environment.

  1. If someone was coming to St Petersburg University, what advice would you give them?

Basically, learn the university, such as history, culture and faculties. As far as everything were figured out, you would have been involved as soon as possible. Believe me, after you finish, you will be proud of being a student here, and looking forward to studying here.

Psychologically, be humble and confident. This university accepts the most talented and excellent students in Russia, that means the competition is fierce. On the other hand, this is a good opportunity for you to join them and learn from them. In this case, you should be humble like a sponge to absorb much more “water”. Meanwhile, do not lose confidence, because each has shining points, you should know how to shine them as well.

Oliver Roy


Field of studies at SPbU: International Relations

Languages you speak: English and French

Why did you choose SPbU?

I chose SPbU because it was one of the best university in the Russian Federation. I wanted to visit Russia because it is a country that is not scared to defend its ideas on the international level. In many aspects, the Motherland is interesting for me. There is many different ethnic groups that live and mix together. The history and the culture of Russia are fascinating. Moreover, the persona of Vladimir Putin alone is very captivating by its power and sense of patriotism.

3 tips for future exchange students:

  1. 1. Make sure to have good boots for winter and shoes for summer. (You will walk a lot.)
  2. 2. Ask for a buddy. At the beginning it is essential, in my opinion.
  3. 3. Don’t be afraid to visit places by yourself. You can go by your own pace and sometimes you meet new people.

Source: https://spbuambassador.wordpress.com/our-ambassadors/

 Oliver Roy
 Jonas Wishollek1  

Jonas Wishollek: In Germany you just study the law as it is written in the books


Jonas Wishollek studied three years at the University of Freiburg and come to St Petersburg to study Russian law and literature. In his interview to Fontanka, he told us through the differences as to how the law works in Russia and Germany, meetings, and female self-renunciation.

- You have been studying at the Faculty of Law for seven months so far. Do we teach as the Germans do?

– When I came here, I was astonished by the quality of education in Russia. Education in the Faculty of Law is research-driven, and they have very high requirements to students. In Germany, it is enough to study law as it is written in the books since Germany acts within the law. In Russia, a lecturer fist explains what the law implies and then how it works in practice. What is written in books and how it works in practice makes a big difference.

- What branch of law do you mean?

– I studied the constitutional law. The constitution often describes a principle that can contradict the law and the way how it works in practice. For example, the Constitution grants a freedom to have meetings in Russia. The same is granted by the Constitution in Germany. Yet in fact, to be able to have a meeting in Russia you have to get a permission from your employer, although the Constitution says nothing about it. 

- In Germany you don’t have to get a permission?

– You do. Many people think that it is wrong, as the Constitution says nothing about it. In Freiburg, people systematically have meetings without getting permission from their employers.

- How to become a judge in Germany?

– First, five years of study. You have to pass the first state exams and get a degree. The exams are not related to practice. You just study the law, Constitution, and solve the cases in the books. Then you have to work for two years: half a year in the court, half a year as an advocate, half a year in the administration, while you can choose where to work during the last half a year. Then you have to pass the second state exams and you become a lawyer. Now you can apply to work in the court. The best graduates get job offers in the court when they are about 26-27 years old.

- Aren’t they too young?

– May be, but they make decision in collaboration with the experienced colleagues.

- Apart from the law, do you study the Russian literature?

– Yes, I do. For one seminar, I read Ostrovsky’s The Storm, It's a Family Affair-We'll Settle It Ourselves, and A Profitable Position. In Russia, those characters are positive who are capable of self-renunciation. It is regarded as a heroic act. Often it is useless. It destroys a person. You don’t have to constantly tell that they are good and serve to public interests.

By Elena Vaganova, Fontanka.ru

Source: http://www.fontanka.ru/2018/04/01/072/


Alexander Gertz


Field of studies at SPbU: International Relations

Languages you speak: Russian, German, English

Why did you choose SPbU?

I really wanted to spend my first trip to Russia in St. Petersburg as I have heard only very positive reviews from people who have visited this town. My exchange semester provided me with this opportunity and as my home university maintains a partnership with the SPBU and the SPBU´s faculty of international relations has a high reputation, the choice was clear for me.

3 tips for future exchange students

  1. Learn Russian in advance. All the new impressions while being in a new culture will be staggering and will make it hard to concentrate on the language learning on site.
  2. Read/watch/hear about the Russian culture in advance. Prepared (as with every other extended stay in a foreign country too) you can deal with all the new things in a much more satisfying manner for yourself. You won’t feel helpless, but on an adventure for which you have the background knowledge to deal with!
  3. If you have basic knowledge of Russian in advance: Book a flat and get out of the international atmosphere of the dorm! But live with Russians, otherwise, you will isolate yourself way too easy

Source: https://spbuambassador.wordpress.com/our-ambassadors/

 Alexander Gertz
 Pierre Nouseir  

Pierre Nouseir


Field of studies at SPbU: Faculty of International Relations, focusing on foreign affairs

Languages you speak: English

 Why did you choose SPbU?

Russia is a key player in international affairs, and learning such a unique and challenging language was definitely something that I was interested in. I had learnt about the history of the Soviet Union during school and was always intrigued by it and by the culture of the country. It was only a matter of deciding where in Russia to study. SPbU’s website was extremely attractive in comparison to the other universities I came across. The study program suited me perfectly and there were a wide range of courses for me to select from. Looking at the alumni that the university had produced, the biggest name to strike my attention was President Vladimir Putin. From the early stages of getting in contact with the university, they helped me out with my questions and this made the selection process much easier. It was not a hard decision once I had settled on Russia, and while the language barrier was and still is a challenge, it is a challenge I will always be grateful for.

3 tips for future exchange students

1) Make sure you learn the basics of the language. I spent a few months completing two basic courses which allowed me to read, and that proved to be a huge difference. Not being able to speak and understand is hard, however if you can read the language it helps significantly

2) Be open to absolutely everything. Never say no regardless of whether you don’t like something or are not sure if you’ll enjoy it. Even if you do not end up enjoying a particular activity or event, you get to meet people and during the first month it’s important to meet as many people as possible.

3) This tip never applied to me, but avoid hanging out with people from the same country as you and only speaking in that language. Being the only Australian was a bonus as I met tons of people from all over Europe, and I did meet a few native English speakers after a month or so and that definitely felt good. If you don’t leave you’re comfort zone then you won’t be able to enjoy the whole exchange experience.

Source: https://spbuambassador.wordpress.com/our-ambassadors/


Iryna Rubtsova


Period of studies at SPbU: spring semester 2017-2018

Field of studies at SPbU: Economics

Languages you speak: Russian, English

Why did you choose SPbU?
Dream should come true, so I adore with this city and want to come back again

3 tips for future exchange students:
be ready for dormitory (if you are from EU countries, Russian dorms are different a bit), don’t forget take more warm clothes and great mood as soon as you arrive to the St-Petersburg you will immediately be surrounded by incredible emotions

Source: https://spbuambassador.wordpress.com/our-ambassadors/


 Iryna Rubtsova

Nantarat Fumfan, a student from Thailand says "Here is my home from home and my second family"

Nantarat Fumfan, a citizen of the Kingdom of Thailand, is already studying on a second degree programme at St Petersburg University. In 2015, she received a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Two years later, after returning to Bangkok, she entered the programme “Company Economics”.

We asked Nantarat what professional career she has chosen, why she has come to St Petersburg again, and what challenges she faces here.

Tell us about how you entered the bachelor’s programme of the University.

After finishing school, I entered a Thailand University in the Faculty of Philology and began to study Russian. My teacher suggested applying for a scholarship to study in Russia. I submitted the necessary documents to the embassy and in August I learned that I had won a grant. I was enrolled at St Petersburg University on the programme "Advertising and Public Relations." This programme was recommended to me, and I myself realised that it was right for me.



What did you find difficult during the first stage of higher education?

Of course, the first year was very difficult. I hardly understood what they were talking about at lectures. Also, relations with Russian friends did not develop, because we felt embarrassed with each other and could not communicate in the same language. Moreover, in the beginning I lived far away from the university, and it took me four hours a day to get here. But it was all of this that taught me to be strong, to overcome difficulties and to live on my own.

During my second year, I made friends and we spent our free time together. They taught me Russian and introduced me to Russian culture. Thanks to this, it became easier for me to study. I succeeded in listening to lectures and making notes, performing tasks, and preparing reports. I passed all the exams and defended well my qualification research “Adaptation of a foreign brand's communication policy to a local market”. During my studies, I became convinced that St Petersburg University provides high-level education. It is very difficult to pass an exam or a pass/fail test at the University.

Having finished the bachelor’s programme, I received a St Petersburg University degree. Now I feel at home: here is my home from home and my second family.

What was your career like after receiving a bachelor's degree?

After graduating from the University, I returned to Bangkok and began to build my career ladder. For a year, I worked as a visa officer at the consular section of the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok. I cannot say that the work was very well paid, but still I gained the required practical experience. Moreover, to my own surprise, I discovered that not only English, but also Russian is in demand in this position. Suddenly it became clear that it is Russian that is native for many applicants.

While working at the visa application centre, I continued to go to job interviews. Finally, I got a job as head of the customer service department at SHOWDC, a large retail company. My area of responsibility had become much wider. From the first day of work in the new office, I was engaged in planning corporate activities, coordinating work with foreign directors, managers and employees, and working closely with the marketing, sales, and financial departments.

Why did you decide to go into further academic study, why did you come back to St Petersburg University?

The fact that I had been lucky to get a job at SHOWDC gave me a sounder vision of the future. The position of the department head is very responsible and requires a lot. So, I wanted to get a degree in economics. It would help me to find my place as a manager. I am convinced that in order to understand the functioning of corporate structures, it is necessary to have an in-depth professional economic education. Only in this way I will be able to successfully interact with various social and economic groups related to the development of the corporation, and carry out effective management activities according to the current economic and social situation.

What are you doing now?

Now I am a final-year student of the master’s programme of St Petersburg University in Economics. I’m specialised in Company Economics and Economics of Innovative Activities. To be honest, learning is not easy. I have faced a lot of difficulties. Among the most complex disciplines I can name are macro and microeconomics, econometrics, risk management, and analysis of financing. But I think that everything is going well for me, partly thanks to the help of my fellow students and university lectures. My family from Thailand always encourages and supports me.

What are your plans for the future?

After getting a master’s degree, I’m planning to return to Thailand and continue to develop my career there. I want to be with my parents and family and to take care of them.

Tell us about your favourite places in the city. What do you like about St Petersburg?

I’m in love with St Petersburg with all my heart. When I went back to Thailand, I often recalled the Northern Capital and the happy time I had spent with my friends here. I like a lot of places in this city: Nevsky Prospect, the palaces, the Hermitage, Peterhof and a lot of other places. Also, I like Vyborg very much. Moreover, I would like to visit other Russian cities and regions such as Murmansk, Altai, and the Crimea.

Russia is a big country. There are so many different and interesting places, cultures and nations here! Perhaps this is the reason why not only residents of Russia dream of travelling around the country, but also many foreigners.