Tadeo Bastidas (CUAS)

Photo Tadeo Bastidas
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International Student Testimonials

Outgoing Exchange Student to Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, Russian Federation

School of Management

Spring semester 2020

Thanks to the personal and financial support of instructors and my institution, I had the opportunity to spend my semester abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Months before my departure from Austria, I spend a lot of time doing research about the Russian culture and what I could expect from this wonderful country. Additionally, I was looking forward to practice and improve the skills that I had previously developed at my university. My goal was not only to visit Russia, but to submerge myself into the culture, language, and traditions of a country I had never expected to visit before. This was a great opportunity for me to reach one more goal and to develop my cultural and linguistic skills. Faster than expected, the moment had finally arrived, and I was boarding on a plane, which would take me to a place where I would experience wonderful moments, as well as difficulties due to the COVID-19 situation.

Upon my arrival to Russia, my buddy was already waiting for me at the airport and helped me to get a taxi and drive to the student’s dormitory. I must be honest and admit, that at the moment I arrived in Saint Petersburg I was completely shocked. Streets, highways, statues, monuments, buildings, and squares were much bigger that what I could have ever imagined and seen on the internet. I remember I could not stop looking outside of the window as the taxi was driving to the dormitory. My buddy was completely fascinated by my reaction and promised me to personally take me to some of the best spots in saint Petersburg.

The university was very attentive with the international students at the beginning of the exchange. They prepared road trips as well as group activities, which also helped to connect with the international students and to discover the city. It did not take too long until all of us had already developed very positive and good relationships with each other. Even when the international department did not prepare something, most of us would meet and explore and the city as a big group and meet at nights for some social drinks and games.
I would have loved that my experience in Russia would have been longer. However, the pandemic did not only affect us but every single country in the world. I must also say that thanks to this experience I managed to develop good and long-lasting friendships with many students. If I ever would have again this opportunity, I would definitely spend another semester in Russia and enjoy this beautiful, big and very interesting country.