After graduating SPbU’s Preparatory course, Chinese student Tan Mulin successfully entered master's programme "Russia and China in International Finance and Trade". We asked her couple of questions about teaching process and life experience in St Petersburg.

  1. What factors influenced your choice of language?

When I went to secondary school, I liked Soviet and Russian literature. After entering the university, I had the opportunity to learn a second foreign language. So, I started learning Russian while I was studying in the bachelor’s programme. In my third year at the university, I considered the possibility of applying for a doctoral programme in Russia, so I continued to learn Russian.

  1. How did you choose the city? Why did you choose St Petersburg?

          Compared to Moscow, St Petersburg is more cultural and artistic. In summer 2019, I studied at the summer courses of Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University and lived for a month in St Petersburg. The city left a lasting impression on me. At the same time, I want to apply for a doctoral programme in Economics and Management at St Petersburg University. I find the programme well-suited for me, so I chose St Petersburg in the end.

  1. What difficulties did you face when you started studying? How did you solve the problems that emerged?

Now the difficulty lies in attending on-campus courses in St Petersburg. I already applied for the course in mid-August. I expect to receive an invitation by the end of September. If all goes well, I can come to St Petersburg in October or November.

  1. Have you been to St Petersburg? What impression did the city make on you? What did you do in your free time?

In summer 2019, I lived in St Petersburg for a month. The overall impression is that it is a cultural city and the people are very kind. Being in China, I heard rumours about the locals who were not very friendly to the Chinese. Actually, most people are friendly and highly enthusiastic. In my free time, I visited the top-rated tourist attractions and watched two ballets at the Mariinsky Theatre. They made a deep impression on me. On the eve of the Navy Day, my friends and I went to look at raising the drawbridges, strolled along the embankment, and chatted while enjoying the white nights. It was a very cosy atmosphere.

  1. What do you think about the academic programmes? What have you learned during your studies?

I have only studied for a month by now, and I have not become familiar with the academic programme well enough so far. We are studying mainly core course subjects in our field of study. I like how the seminars are delivered: they enable students to express their opinions freely and learn from each other.

  1. What have you learned from the experience of studying in Russia? Please, highlight three key points.

First, it is necessary to pay attention to preparing for the class and reading the materials because not all the key issues and points are discussed in class. Secondly, do not hesitate to ask a teacher or classmates for help if you do not understand something. And lastly, you must be conscious about your studies, especially online courses. Also, it is necessary to listen carefully and diligently to lectures.

  1. What is the difference between the Russian education system and the Chinese one, in your opinion?

As for master’s programmes at Chinese universities, first, students choose their research supervisors and then study following the advice and guidelines of their research supervisors. In Russia, first, a student can choose a thesis topic, and then a research supervisor is assigned.

  1. Do you think the pandemic has affected education, learning and teaching? If yes, please tell us about the changes.

The pandemic has forced most universities to run online courses, which tests students’ conscientiousness. The lack of practical sessions will lead to a decline in the quality of education. Overall, the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on education.

  1. What advice can you give to other international students who are planning to come to Russia?

Communicate more with the locals and plunge into the beauty and entertainment in St Petersburg.