Success Stories

Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz
  • One of the summer modules in the Russian language and culture was completed at the Higher School of International Educational Programs. Its participants were 17 students from the Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S. The month-long educational module presumed daily classes in the Russian language with division of students in three groups of different levels of complexity and a joint course in the culture of present-day Russia.  For the full immersion in the environment, the students were living not in the dormitory but in Russian families. Interaction with teachers, members of the hosting families, and each other in Russian was an important precondition of the program.  The outcomes are quite impressive:  practically all participants of the Summer School noted significantly improvement of their language skills. Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz, students of the Georgia Institute of Technology shared with the SPbPU International Services their impressions about their life in Russia and special features of the educational process. Read more …

    - Connor, Daniel, we are glad to see you! Could you please tell us about the interesting things that have happened this month? Did you enjoy living in Russia?  

    Connor: This really was an unbelievable experience. Up until now, getting out of my apartment, I keep thinking, “Could it be that I really am in Russia? I could never have expected that I would have such an opportunity!” It was rather worried to leave my country for so long and to go so far away, but when the hosting family greeted me with such warmth, all my scares and concerns just went away. I liked living and studying here, while constant communication with my new acquaintances and intensive studies gave me perfect language training. This month has practically changed my life, and for the better, of course.  

    Daniel: Living in Russia, I was feeling myself at home. We sometimes speak Russian at home because my mother and grandmother are Russian. My major goals for this month were to learn more about special features of the Russian language and improve my command of Russian.  And I am fully satisfied with the results. Speaking of living in Russia, I completely agree with Connor: this month gave me absolutely unique experience which I am very thankful for.

    - Were there any moments that surprised you or seemed quite unusual?

    Connor: I guess this was food. I know there are restaurants of Russian cuisine in America, but I have never been to any of those. Here I’ve tried many new dishes. Luckily, the taste of most of them I liked.

    Daniel: I would have never expected that Moscow would impress me more than St. Petersburg. Everybody keeps saying that St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia, its cultural center; no doubt, its architecture and its style are magnificent. However, the spirit of Moscow is much closer to me: it reminded me of New York where I am from.

    - But there are lots of interesting things in St. Petersburg, aren’t they?

    Connor: Absolutely! I had been walking around the city for hours, scrutinizing the places of interest and trying to get the most of this month in Russia. St. Petersburg brings together unique things: the ancientness, culture, and modern trends. I fell in love with the heart of your city: Nevski Avenue.   

    Daniel: I would like to add that I very much enjoyed public transportation. The transportation network in St. Petersburg is very well developed: you can quickly get to any place in the city and, what is essential, it isn’t expensive. As far as tourist attractions are concerned, my strongest impression was Palace Square.  

    - And what would you advise to visit other foreign students coming to St. Petersburg?

    Connor: First of all, I would recommend to start with the traditional tourist route: the Hermitage, Russian Museum, a trip to Peterhof. However, I have also liked less popular places, often known only to the locals.  For example, you can find lots of cafés, restaurants, and shops in Sredni Avenue of Basil Island (Vasileostrovskaya metro station), which is a lot less crowded as compared to Nevski.

    Daniel: I agree that not to visit the major city attractions would have been a huge mistake. But after you will have got more or less acquainted with the city, make sure to ask local residents about other places of interest. For instance, I was advised to visit the flea market in Udelnaya; as it turned out, it belongs to the top ten flea markets in the world, right along with the markets of Tokyo, Paris, London, and Amsterdam.  

    - Would you advise tourists and foreign students to learn a little bit of Russian before coming to Russia?

    Connor: Of course I would advise to learn the basics of the Russian language; however, to a big extent it depends on the region you are going to. Notably, it would be a lot easier for English-speaking tourists to get around in St. Petersburg rather than in Moscow: this city has mush more signs and directions in English.  

    Daniel: If you are planning to stay in Russia for a longer period, than you should better learn at least the basics of Russian. Otherwise, you will have to stay in the center of St. Petersburg where there always are lots of tourists (laughing).

    - Did you have any communication problems during this month in Russia?

    Connor: My problem was my limited word stock; some things were difficult to understand. In particular, this concerned conversational phrases and terminology. However, people were always trying to help me, and, what I am especially thankful for, were patiently waiting until I would formulate my sentence in Russian without “switching” into English.  

    Daniel: I had no communication problems whatsoever; the difficulties I had were caused only by my knowledge of the Russian language. I was afraid to say something wrong, to make a mistake in a word or a sentence. However, it is important to understand that mistakes are a part of the educational process, and no progress is possible without them. Teachers’ assistance and support were helping us to move forward.  

    - Please tell us what would you remember in the intensive course on the Russian language most of all?

    Connor: Class studies in my group were primarily focused on syntax and grammar, usage of verbs in particular. This was very useful and helpful.

    Daniel: I would like to single out the lessons in which we discussed the events that were taking place in present Russia. It was very interesting to hear a variety of opinions and ideas.

    - In your opinion, how much have you improved your knowledge of Russian?

    Connor: I am now speaking Russian a lot more confidently. Back home, I will continue my intensive language practice. Thanks to the International Polytechnic Summer School, I could see the issues I should be working on to improve my Russian.

    Daniel: I was very glad to take part in the intensive Russian language course, and I would be happy to speak Russian with my relatives. And, of course, I would love to come back to Russia not once.

    - Would you advise your fellow students to take part in the International Polytechnic Summer School?

    Connor: Absolutely! I would recommend anybody interested in getting to a new level of Russian language command to take part in this intensive program.

    Daniel: I absolutely agree!

    Connor, Daniel, thank you so much for your interesting interview! We wish you all the success in learning the Russian language!

Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz, U.S. students took an intensive course of the Russian language within the frame of the International Polytechnic Summer School
Yutaro HARA and Hiromi TANABE
  • Mutual interests unite SPbPU not only with leading Japanese corporations but universities as well. Thus, in a number of areas, Polytechnic University cooperates with Meiji University. In particular, this interaction concerns student exchanges. During his visit to Tokyo in April 2018, the Rector of SPbPU, Academician of RAS A.I. RUDSKOI presented the Rector of  the Meiji University Keiichiro Tsuchii with certificates for Japanese students’ studies at the  International Polytechnic Summer School, which this year proved to be very popular among students from the Land of the Rising Sun. Yutaro HARA and Sonoko ITO came from Meiji University to study modern SAP technologies and special features of business and entrepreneurship; Hiromi TANABE from Ritsumeikan University also chose the entrepreneurship module; a number of other students got to study the Russian language, culture, Smart Cities and management. Read more …

    Yutaro HARA and Hiromi TANABE completed their studies in the business module at the end of September and shared their impressions with SPbPU international services after the end of the Summer School. Their interview is about what surprised Japanese students in Russia, their project work, and culinary experiments.

    - Yutaro, Hiromi, why did you decide to come to Russia?

    Yutaro: I owe this fascinating opportunity to my university: I was lucky to get a certificate for studying at the International Polytechnic Summer School. In the future, I am planning to work as a data analysis specialist, and I consider the options of working abroad. It was extremely interesting for me to know how to run business in Russia.

    Hiromi: This is not my first time in Russia, and I knew exactly what kind of summer school I needed. I wanted to take a month-long course in business in St. Petersburg, and the International Polytechnic Summer School had perfectly met my criteria.  

    Students from various countries came to SPbPU to study business and entrepreneurship

    - Was there anything that surprised you in Russia?

    Yutaro: This is my first time in St. Petersburg, and I am absolutely impressed and charmed with your city. The metro here lies very deep. I was surprised that there was no schedule for the trains and that they ran with high frequency.

    Hiromi: I was impressed with honesty and kindness of people. Earlier, I have got this stereotype that Russian citizens are strict, serious, and hardly ever smile. But this proved to be absolutely wrong! A day before our interview, I went to the Museum of Shadows but failed to find the entrance. An ordinary lady in the street called the museum and after that escorted me right to the doors, and this was extremely nice of her; I was impressed with her kindness.

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School worked on their projects in international groups

    - What do you think about Polytechnic University? Which of the courses stack to you memory the most?

    Yutaro: I enjoyed absolutely everything. I would like to single out the project work and the final presentation. We studied a business model at the example of a restaurant, and we worked in groups with students from various countries. Our goal was to come up with an analysis of particular products of the restaurant, ice-cream and espresso, and suggest options how we can increase profits and expand the audience using them.

    Hiromi: I agree that the final presentation on the results of the joint project was one of the most interesting events of the module. I was in the group with guys from Germany, China, and Iran. We were to analyze such products as pizza and home-made lemonade. On the one hand, that was fun, but on the other, we got to understand many principles of entrepreneurship.  

    A rich cultural program was developed for SPbPU international students

    - Was it easy for you to find common language with students from other countries?

    Yutaro: Yes, we have got a lot of new friends. We all communicated in English, and thanks to that, we could understand each other very well. Sometimes it happened that we could not come to a joint decision, but one should always be ready to such variants: this was a very good experience of working internationally. 

    Hiromi: We had been very well communicating with each other. Of course, a certain difference of cultures could be felt: for example, punctuality is extremely important for the Japanese, while some people interpret time frames a lot more liberally. However, altogether, we had a great time and have learned a lot.

    A rich cultural program was developed for SPbPU international students

    - And what about the cultural program? By the way, what do you think about the Russian cuisine?

    Yutaro: Of course we have visited the main attractions of St. Petersburg: the Hermitage, Cathedral on Spilled Blood, Peterhof. We have been to many restaurants and bars. You would not believe me, but I was most impressed with a roll of lavash: I have already learned that here, in St. Petersburg, it is called shaverma. This is unbelievably delicious!

    Hiromi: I have a whole list of places to visit.  For example, I am going to the Museum of Water shortly. As far as the food is concerned, I got introduced to the Russian cuisine in the course of my previous visit. This time, I decided to take a few experiments. It was fun! We went to a sushi restaurant with my friends, and I ordered a sushi roll.  It was absolutely unlike the sushi in Japan but I liked it!  

    - Yutaro, Hiromi, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish you success in your educational and creative activities!

Yutaro HARA and Hiromi TANABE, Japanese Students Spoke about Russia