University of St.Gallen student Fabian Schütz spent semester abroad at GSOM SPbU. Here is his story and some advice.
I decided to spend my semester abroad in Russia because I was interested in Russian culture for quite some time and already started learning the language at my home university, so I also wanted to improve my Russian language skills. I decided to go to St. Petersburg because I wanted to visit a city of historical importance and I’m glad that I made this choice. The churches, museums and palaces are in top-condition and this city impresses not only those interested in history.
What would be great to know before leaving to Russia
When on exchange in Russia one should not plan to far in the future. Usually things get done, but it needs more time.
In general it is really convenient to get Russian Visa, since in Switzerland it can be done by mail. After receiving the invitation letter the process is really easy. However there was some delay with getting GSOM SPbU invitation letter due to the World cup. Also Swiss citizens have to provide a negative HIV-Test which takes some time to get too.
I rented an apartment together with three other exchangers. Thanks to the Introduction week it is really easy to make contacts and find a group to rent an apartment with. For finding a place we needed help of the buddies because it was hard to find landlords and agents who speak English. Buddies and friends at home that were fluent in Russian did many calls for us. In the end our agent found us a really nice apartment with a perfectly reliable landlord at Pushkinskaya Ulitsa.
I chose GSOM SPbU for my semester abroad because I found good reports about this School at my home university. Most of all I liked the course “International oil and gas markets” taught by Olga L. Garanina. It was the most demanding and time intensive course I visited here. I recommend it to everyone interested in the oil & gas industry. The second course I liked was “Global organizations” by Vera. D. Ageeva. This course was less time intensive. Prof. Ageeva provided us interesting texts which we discussed in class. I recommend it to everyone interested in International Relations and Russian foreign policy. Also I took course “Quantitative methods of decision making” by Andrey V. Zyatchin and was able to improve my Excel-skills.
Moreover GSOM SPbU International office does a great job in helping students out with paper work. I was also happy that I could have access to their phones, for doing international calls. The earlier the course dates are available the better for planning the studies.
My advice for those who are going to study in Russia
Basic language skills are very helpful. Russian people are very helpful, especially if you try to speak in Russian with them.