Opeyemi Ogundiran (Nigeria), Design of Costume
My name is Opeyemi Ogundiran and I'm a third year Fashion Design student from Lagos, Nigeria. This is currently my fourth year as a student in VVSU, so I think I am fully equipped with enough knowledge and experience to share what this university is like with prospective students.
Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service is a university located at the end of the world – literally. At least that's how I felt when I finally arrived at the university in October of 2015 after a two-day journey from my home country. I can't really recall my first impression because at that point everything seemed so different from what I was used to. What I do remember though, is that I was the center of attention – being the only student of color in the university. I received compliments from left and right on my hair, skin color, and other things and this made me feel welcome and rest-assured.
Learning Russian language at the university was a very fun experience that I'll probably never forget. I got to meet a lot of new people, hang out with amazing teachers and friends from different countries, and learn a ton about Russia, Russians, and Russian cuisine and culture. The struggle to master this difficult language was made bearable by the fact that we as students were enclosed in an educational community that was more like family than school. This really helped me to master the language faster than I would have ever imagined and is currently still helping me in my chosen field.
So Dear Prospective Students, do I advise you to make the trip from your various home countries to the end of the world? Here are a few pros and cons that really hit home with me and will most likely help you make your decision:
- The university has an organized system to things that never fails. Lessons are held t the right time in the right location without fail except in extreme weather conditions. I like this because I'm a very organized person with a sometimes-picky personality. I like things to be done as they should.
- The university strives to make foreign students feel at home by organizing various interesting activities such as International Students Day or picnics by the seaside in spring.
- The university offers special assistance to foreign students who might have difficulty studying in Russian. All courses are taught in Russian and it can be a bit challenging and overwhelming, but the teachers and professors are always willing to help.
- For a university that boasts diversity in foreign students, there's much left to be desired when it comes to African students. The population of the university is mostly made up of Russians and Asians, so it might get a little boring and lonely for African students who are far from home.
- Vladivostok is a beautiful city located near the sea, but it lacks a lot of things that African students might need, for example, hair products, food, clothing etc. Most African stuff like clothing need to be ordered online and that is another story.
- The dormitory can really do better. There are two dorm buildings connected to the university's main buildings and they each have seven floors and no lifts! If you don't mind the extra exercise, then please be my guest.
The dormitory also has a few not-so-pleasant rules that students can do without:
- Locking all kitchens on all floors except the basement floor kitchen during holiday periods – 7-floor building, remember? Then again, if you don't mind the extra exercise…
- Anyone who's not related to you by blood can't visit you in the dorms. This is for security purposes, I was told, but come on!
- The rooms are small. The size of a room meant for two students should probably be for one student – just saying.
So now that all that's been said, I welcome you to VSUES if you're daring enough to take a trip to the end of the world!
Qiu Huailu (China), Design Summer School 'ETHNIC INSPIRATION – 2018'
Vladivostok, a city that leaves us good memories. This time we came here, and we learned how to make traditional Russian muppets, borsch, gingerbread, eggs, hand-painted t-shirts, painted-porcelain, and traditional Russian clothes. Thank you very much for the company of the volunteers and the careful teaching of the teachers. In these courses, we have not only learned many useful new skills, but also cultivated our hand-making ability and enhanced our friendship with each other.
Thanks to my friends, I have met a lot of new friends here. They take us to the classroom every day, to taste the local special food, to show us the customs of Russia, so that we have a deep understanding of the local culture.
The locals are very warm and friendly, and offer us help when we are in trouble.
I found that I fell in love with this place. Not only are there handsome men and women here, but this city is very attractive and gives me a very comfortable feeling.
At the same time, I also hope that you can come to our city. Welcome to xi 'an, and welcome to Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute.
Finally, my name is Qiu Huailu and my English name is Luka. It's a pleasure to meet all of you.
Nelli Hammer (Germany), Russian language program
I was really impressed by Vladivostok's wide and beautiful landscape. In particular I loved the scenery with the endless view over the sea, bays and huge bridges. What I won't forget is how warmheartedly I was welcomed here in VSUES. I immediately felt well accepted, safe and secure. In the shortest amount of time I've already met so many helpful, guest friendly and interesting people. That is why I am sure that I will easily get used to life here and that I won't regret coming to the Far East.
Antoine Robin (France), Russian language program
Studying in Vladivostok is a lifetime experience. It is maybe the only place in the world where there is such a mix of European and Asian culture, and that is what makes this city so wonderful. I found it very easy to meet new people, because we are not a lot of occidental students here, so people are always very interested about our motivations to come to study in Vladivostok. It is not rare that they come to talk to us, when they hear that we are not Russians.
Talking about VSUES, it is a pleasure to study there, as the international staff is so caring and friendly. The teachers are also very nice and professionals. My dormitory (2B) is impressively clean, and I am lucky to have a very good Russian roommate. The fact that the university is very close to the center (10min by bus) and from a supermarket open 24/7 is also very comfortable.
In clear, I do not regret at all to have come so far to learn Russian. After only 3 months, I made so much progress, especially in my listening comprehension. I am very proud to be able to understand so much things now!
Gregory Davis (USA), Russian language program, Russian Far East program
Vladivostok State University was the right choice for my time abroad in Russia. My university, (University of Denver), strongly recommended VSUES for an immersion experience in a unique city, and that is exactly what I found. My fellow students were extremely nice and understanding of my Russian, and I had no trouble in finding friends to help show me around the city. The staff of the University was very accommodating and helped me with support every step of the way. I had many unforgettable experiences in Vladivostok, all thanks to VSUES!
I've always sought to go to places that I wouldn't normally go if it wasn't for an excuse. Well, coming to VGUES and Vladivostok was a fantastic one. A region, where they are proud of their fast-paced Russian, and where they claim: 'There is Moscow, there is Saint Petersburg, and then, there is Russia'. I, in this remote place where Bali is closer than its own capital, really found this statement true.
The locals were very friendly and curious. They were always asking questions and were also eager to try and speak English with you. If approached, most of them were willing to help out with directions or any other problem.
You are also typically paired with a Russian roommate, easing the settling process.
Echoing Peter the Great's words, 'The window to the east!', the Russians claimed under Alexander II. And the window to the east it was indeed. Being very fond of Asia, I found it very interesting the Ruso-Asian mix that this city showed. I saw a huge presence of Chinese, Japanese, North and South Koreans, and, in equal number, Southeast Asians. Great personalities, great cultures, and, of course, you could only speak to the majority in Russian, making you strive to become better.
VSUES sheer size is astonishing. It had an indoor infrastructure, perfect for the heartwarming Siberian weather that really makes you underestimate its size. There was a very close supermarket where you could buy anything you could want, and you were always one city bus away from the center from any point of the university.
The students and faculty always were kind and helpful to me, and I never felt with a lack of sense of belonging. As for the international office, the staff is superb. They were funny, professional, super helpful with any problem you could imagine, and, more importantly, good friends.
Tanya Nguyen (Vietnam), International Relations major
Before I entered VSUES, I had already had the opportunity to live in Russia for a long time. So when I started studying here, I felt at home. The only new thing for me was to live alone without parents in a new city. The dormitory was very cozy and well equipped. At university, I was really lucky to study in the best group. Everybody was trying to study well and helped each other. The teachers were always ready to help and took care of us, gave advice, not only on studies, but also on personal life. I am very grateful to the teaching staff, as well as International and Culture Affairs Department, for help in academic issues and decisions important for my future. Since I am a student of international relations, I had the opportunity to participate in the organization of various international events, such as Pygmalion, International Master Forum, a Week of National Culture, and the Sister cities International Youth Festival. In addition, International and Culture Affairs Department supported me in participation in All-Russian national contest 'Student of the Year' in the nomination 'International Student of the Year'. I am very grateful to International and Culture Affairs Department for everything they have done for me, because with them, I was able not only to meet with a variety of students of other nationalities, to develop a variety of skills and to practice English language, but also to develop character traits necessary for the future profession. I was very glad to study among such good-natured people.
Sun Xuan (China), Graduate in Linguistics
Event that changed my life…
Before coming to Russia I heard that winter in this country was very cold and so were the Russians. Also I heard that they did not like Chinese people. I was very scared by it and I said to myself: 'I will not get acquainted with the Russians.
When I came to Vladivostok I indeed saw austere faces everywhere and they were colder than the Russian winter. That is why I kept my distance at the classes and in the café. I went to the market and walked around only with the Chinese. The Russians I communicated mostly with were my teachers. Of course, all of this made my days here eventless, but I did not see any way out at the time. However, one event happened and it changed everything.
One day I was looking for a free table in a students' dining-room and a Russian boy called out to me: 'It's free here!” At first I doubted about coming up to his table, but there were no free tables in the room at the moment. So, I sat down next to him.
The boy smiled and started talking to me. From our conversation I found out that he studied Chinese. He also said that he had been in my city Qingdao and he thought that the Chinese were forthcoming and joyful people. I shared my concerns about the Russians with him. My new acquaintance told me about the Russian people, their traditions and their attitude to the Chinese: 'This opinion was set because Chinese salesmen in Suifenhe often deceived the Russians. As a result, many of us think that all the Chinese people are the same.'
It is a pity that the near-border merchants have become a by-word of China for most Russians!
We had a long and pleasant conversation that day and exchanged our telephone numbers. Afterwards we often met to go for a walk in the city. He showed me orthodox churches that were practically not presented in China. I also got a taste of Russian food. Thanks to my new acquaintance I got many friends among the Russians.
Later I understood that I was really mistaken in regard to the Russian character. And even though I sometimes still see unsmiling people, I do know that there are good-hearted souls among them.
This story taught me several things. Firstly one should not rely on somebody else's opinion. Also I should not be afraid of people myself and should treat everybody with respect.
I often think about this experience. If I had not taken that invitation, my life in Russia would not become interesting and joyful. But now I even plan to stay here after my graduation from the School of Foreign Languages and enroll at Master's degree programme.
Everything in life can be changed if one takes his chance instead of missing it.