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A summer in Saint-Petersburg for an Engineering student

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Published on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Katia Santos Ferreira, a Master student in Engineering from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication took part this August in a summer school at Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University, one of the University of Luxembourg’s partner institutions in Russia. Read what she has to say about her experience in Saint-Petersburg.

Katia, what made you apply for the summer school in Saint-Petersburg?

Last winter, I picked up a flyer from the Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University. I got curious and I ended up visiting their website and discovered their summer school.
I learned that there were scholarships available for University of Luxembourg students so I decided to apply and ended up being granted a full scholarship.
I chose the Architecture and Civil Engineering module, and Russian language as an extra. Once the paper work had been sorted out, I flew to Russia.
It was August at this point and I would be spending an entire month there!

Tell us about your first days in Russia.

When I arrived, a tutor picked me up at the airport and took me to my dormitory. I had a small room, with two roommates. The accommodation was modern, and there were guards at the entry around the clock, our babushkas. I started exploring the city on my own then, which was easier than expected. Given that no shop clerk speaks English, I had to learn the basics in Russian - food and other necessities.

On the first day, we had an official welcoming ceremony, where I got to meet everyone in the group. Our group was a melting pot not only of different cultures, but also different study fields. There were students in architecture, engineering, sociology and many more.

The following days went by in a blur, attending lectures in the morning and exploring the city and making new friends after. The city is mind-bogglingly beautiful; I certainly did not expect that.

Did you have some time for visits and social activities?

On weekends, we would go on organised trips to see some of the palaces in the city’s suburbs. In the evenings, we’d go out, which was a challenge. The dorm was on the other side of the river Neva, which means that at night we could not get home, as the bridges would be drawn and the Metro would only resume working at around 6 am. Basically, one would have to either party until then or walk in the city and take in the mesmerizing view of the bridges closing again. The weather was mostly rainy this summer, but on one Friday the International Relationships Office organised a typical Russian barbecue on the Gulf of Finland and we had good weather. The Barbecue was delicious and I was impressed by all the effort the organisers had put into it.

What would you say to summarise your experience in Russia?

During those weeks in Saint-Petersburg I met so many people and got to fully immerse myself into a new culture. I am really glad I seized the opportunity and hope that many more uni.lu students will take advantage of the available scholarships and go explore Russia, make new friendships and unforgettable memories!