Our host organization was St.Petersburg State University of Service and Economics. Our co-operation started in the first day of our time in St.Petersburg. They welcomed us by meeting us at the trainstation and helping us to get to the accommodation by taxi. They arranged us many nice trips, so that we could see many places in St.Petersburg and near it. We visited Catherines Park and I think it was one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
Our University offered us 6 different courses: International Marketing, International Business, Cross Cultural Communication, Modern Economy of Russia, Corporate Social Responsibility and Russian language. I didn’t take the “International Business”, but the others I took.
It was really interesting to learn more about economy, geography and the potential of Russia. I also found Russian language course really good, after we were divided to two groups and I decided to take part in advanced group. We rehearsed grammar, vocabulary and read texts and learned how to write and speak. Corporate Social Responsibility had so many difficult topics to handle, that I think I will understand it better after a while, there is so many things to think about considering Corporate Social Responsibilities.
I think the International Marketing course wasn’t that much about marketing, In my opinion it was more about markets of Russia and economics also. But nevertheless, the lectures were okay sometimes and we had couple of nice tasks during the classes (for example we had to create our own companies and decide which marketing channels to use etc.).
I learned how to be more patient. If everything doesn’t happen right now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not going to happen ever. Expressing myself and thoughts in English was also a huge step for me. It was amazingly easy to speak in English and also even joke in a foreign language. I consider myself as a funny person, but it still surprised me how well I was able to “be myself” also by not using my mother language.
I learned to wide my views about doing things, there can be so many different ways of doing things and every one of them can be as right as the ways I have been used to use. By discussing with people from different countries, I have also learned to understand different cultures more. It has also been useful to learn about the historical connections of different countries, because history has an effect to nowadays also.
I think the Autumn was really great time, it was totally worth to go to exchange. I met so many wonderfull people and socialized a lot. I can say I learned a lot not only about other cultures, but to respect the features of “my own”, Finnish culture and roots.
Here in Finland everything is going fine, even though life is a little bit different than in St.Petersburg. I have only a couple of lectures at school left, so I am currently doing my internship. Working full time is really exciting and also quite tiring, because I haven’t used to it yet. I`m learning new things everyday and after 5 months I can finally graduate from my school and get the change to have a real job.
I highly recommend other students to open their eyes and also consider Russia as a good place to go to have an exchange period. One semester is okay to see the surface of Russia, but for deeper understanding I recommend to spend a year in the huge neighbor country of Finland. I didn’t have that much time to travel and see the other parts of Russia, but I think it would be really useful also to see the difference.
I think this was it, thank you all (mom:D) for reading about my experiences! I recommend you guys to take a train, book a flight or just open the door and with open mind – face the world!