Oliver Roy

Canada

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

Germany

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

Germany

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

Australia

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

Lithuania

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