Vladimirs Pylypenko, Latvia
Equipment of the laboratory allows conducting experiments, which I could only dream of in Latvia
I must admit that after learning about participation in Erasmus Mundus exchange programme, I experienced mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was certainly glad of this luck (a practice work in the laboratory of genomic and proteomic research at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University). On the other hand, I was a bit confused because, despite the fact that I am a Russian, I had never been to Russia, but here it was about a prolonged period of five months. I was warned that my nationality does not guarantee the "infusion" into the Russian environment, even scientific. Therefore, on the way to Kaliningrad, I was both happy and sad at the same time. But what delighted me most upon my arival is the Cathedral, the beautiful landscape.
At the station, my colleague from Latvia and I were met by tutors. On the same day they not only showed us Kaliningrad but also the nearby town, Zelenogradsk. We were on the sea, walked to the shops. On the first day, I realised that my opinion of the city has developed, and it is very positive.
The next day I met with the head of the laboratory of genomic and proteomic research, where I had to work together with research assistants from different regions of Russia and Europe. Premises and equipment of the laboratory are the most modern, allowing to conduct experiments, which I could only dream of in Latvia. By the way, this is where I have developed my Master's thesis on the topic of functional differences of specific cells of the central nervous system.
If we talk about the living conditions, at first everything seemed unusual: a watchman at the entrance and at the door on the floor, living in a room with a neighbor... But we became friends quickly and still keep in touch. The hostel, no doubt, has its own set of rules, which you have to get used to. From time to time there were minor conflicts with the watchmen upon late arrivals to the hostel. This is perhaps the most common cause of dissatisfaction of students, since the regulations state that the hostel is closed from 00:00 to 06:00. Fortunately, for me it was the only drawback, and you could often arrange with the watchman – everyone treat you with understanding.
I would like to mention the work of the international department. Friendly people are working there, always ready to help in all matters arising during the exchange period. In general, I recommend everyone who is going to come to Kaliningrad to study by exchange – to communicate more, to express their opinion. People here are very responsive and understanding. Since Kaliningrad is a small city (even smaller than my hometown – Riga), after a time, homesickness and the desire to leave may come. Take a grip on yourself, let the city penetrate into you and you will see that there are many opportunities, not only to study but also to develop yourself as an individual. If you still thinking which city to go for an exchange within Erasmus Mundus, I strongly advise you to consider Kaliningrad as a priority option.