International Students Testimonials

© FEFU

Sergio Navarro Berlanga, Mexico

Far Eastern Federal University

If you know how to play guitar, be sure to take one with you! You'll become part of the crowd

I enrolled in the Master's program of Far Eastern Federal University a year and a half ago. Why did I choose FEFU? Firstly, it is a world-class university, and I am sure of the high quality of education, and secondly, I really wanted to stay in Vladivostok, and not in the capital. I was always fascinated by this point on the map: the city is in Asia, but it's not an Asian city in the full sense, and this is Russia at the same time. It is interesting, is unusual and, of course, affects Vladivostok and its inhabitants. It seems to me that there is very little real Russian in it: the life and culture of the Asian neighbors with local color are intertwined here, forming a completely unexpected appearance.

I study international relations, and my programme is completely English-speaking one, but you know, it does not stop me from communicating with Russian friends. Only here I realized how Russian people are friendly, despite the hackneyed stereotype of their unfriendliness. To the contrary, with the seeming openness of Hispanics, we greatly value personal space and it is difficult for us to step over these boundaries so easily. I remember how my friends and I were standing at a bus stop on a winter evening. The bus never came, and to warm up a little, we got into a tight circle and pressed against each other. I can not imagine such a thing in Mexico! I feel a warm attitude, friendly support, a sincere interest in my country and culture and am happy to share it.

I know that many international visitors find it hard to get used to the local cuisine. For a Mexican, this is especially important, we have, so to speak, the cult of food in the country. Here I fell in love with buckwheat. That's it! And dresser herring salad. For the first time, I was treated to it by one of my friends. It happens all the time. As soon as we meet, everyone treats me to something. And I really love the dishes of Central Asian cuisine: shish kebabs and pilaf.

Please do not laugh, but my international friends and I somehow composed a small plan "What to do first of all before entering the Russian university." So, first of all you should learn to play some music instrument, and if you already know how to play, for example, a guitar, be sure to take one with you! You'll become part of the crowd.

The second tip is not to take a lot of things with you. Bring the essentials for the first two weeks with you, and buy the rest here. You can not even imagine how capricious weather can be sometimes, and do not know what gloves or jacket will make you warm in the cold season. I threw out almost everything I brought with me, and my friends helped me dress warmly in local shops.

The third advice is to try to master at least the basic level of the Russian language in your country. It is important for all the details to be explained to you by your compatriot in your native language.

The university has a friendly atmosphere. Learning is both difficult and interesting. I plan to stay here for a while longer after graduation to learn better Russian. After that, I plan to write a book about the relationship between Russia and Mexico. I have a good story to tell and it will be a combination of a historical essay describing the development of relations in different spheres.

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