St Petersburg University closes a fresher’s’ week for international students who study at the spring semester on an exchange basis.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds has just published a ranking of the world’s leading urban destinations for international students. This year St Petersburg University makes the top 100. Just as cultural diversity seems to be luring international students, so as the oldest Russia’s university attracts prospective students to study here.

In spring semester 2017 as many as 278 international students have come to study here on an exchange basis. They get to know the University just at the gangway at the airport where they meet their buddies – student volunteers who help new students to get around the city and start university. Buddy-programme is a unique project in Russia for international student to get used to new environment, socialize and get around the University and city.

— International students seem to get to know the University with the current students. I mean, not only how it works, but also how the University and its students live. International students are always warmly welcomed, and they, in their turn, are well disposed towards the University, — said Aleksei Zaraiskii, first-year student and a coordinator of the buddy-programme.

The mentors and buddies do their best to make international students feel at ease in St Petersburg.  

— I`ve heard lots of different stories from those who studied abroad. How it was difficult to socialize, and they had no one to help. I thought a lot before I decided to come to St Petersburg to study and I have never had any regrets so far. All students are ready to help in any possible way, — said Jere Harkonen from Finland.

Each semester starts with a fresher’s week for new students with a variety of activities: thematic quests around the city and University Campus, excursions, and discussions on Russian culture to name but a few.

At the end of the week there is an international cuisine party. The atmosphere was relaxing, and students could got to know each other better. The tables were full of German strudels, French croissants, Swiss chocolates, and Asian noodles. They were talking about “serious issues”: politics, social issues, research, rather than merely sharing secrets about cooking techniques and methods. 

Although the fresher’s week has come to an end, buddies will help their international students in every possible way to get to know Russia better.