Mujtaba Alsameri is a 22 years old student of the SPbU Preparatory Department from Iraq. He came to Russia to study general medicine upon completion of high school in Iraq. He shared with us his path to studying the Russian language, his impressions about the Russian culture, and his plans for the future, and his thoughts about skills and opportunities provided at St Petersburg University.

Please, name several factors why did you decide to study in our University?

After completing a high school, I had a passion to study outside my country. One of the things that encouraged me to go to St Petersburg University was the history of the city and the multiplicity of opportunities that I would have while studying at the University.

When did you become interested in the Russian language?

When I chose to study at SPbU, or rather in Russia in general. From the first moment I knew that I had to take studying the Russian language seriously because it would open new opportunities for me. I knew that it would also give me more mental flexibility, and creativity making me look at the world from an another point of view. Other than that, I believe that the Russian language is one of the most widespread and one of the most beautiful languages in the world.

Why did you choose Preparatory Courses of SPbU? Are you satisfied with your choice?

The Preparatory Course at SPBU is considered to be one of the best preparatory courses in Russia. The way the teachers dealt with me and their efforts helped me make a noticeable progress during the first months of the study.

What aspects of your current studying programme do you enjoy the most?

The aspect I enjoy the most is a field trip to historical places. I found that it helps me to learn more and more about the Russian culture. Furthermore, it helps me not only to learn more about the history and culture, but also to study the Russian language better.

Do you find the Russian language hard to learn? In your opinion, what knowledge do you need to have to become fluent in Russian?

I find the Russian language as difficult. The difficulty of the Russian language lies in the pronunciation of letters and rules, and it requires studying and practice, and consequently efforts and time, to master these skills.

What are your hobbies?

I am a curious person. Other than my love for medicine, I love reading and learning a lot of different things. I also like drawing maps and models using AutoCAD and computer work in general. I learned from my father (an electrical engineer) to work on electronic boards when I was young.

Are you going to continue to learn Russian after graduating from the course?

Yes, of course, because for me studying at the Preparatory Course is only the beginning of my journey in this life.

How do you think knowing Russian will give your career a boost?

I believe that studying Russian not only gives a career boost, but also gives much more opportunities that are not available in the first place.

What are your goals for the future? Do you plan to stay in Russia and continue your education at SPbU?

I really want to continue my studies at SPBU in the near future until I will achieve what I came for and excel in it.

What surprised you about the Russian culture?

It is the acceptance of foreigners by the Russians and their love to explore cultures and customs of foreign students. For me, it was a very big, but good surprise, and it was completely contrary to what I had expected.

In addition to reaching a certain level of the Russian language, what skills do you hope to gain while studying?

As for me, I wish I could memorize words faster and had better control of my vocal cords so that I could pronounce words correctly and smoothly. These two skills depend mainly on practicing correctly and regularly.

What advice would you give to the students who want to learn Russian at SPbU?

I would advise them to be self-organized, committed and manage their time, especially at the beginning. A person may feel that he or she does not understand or that he or she would not be able to learn, but overcoming this belief is the most important step towards success in learning Russian, and it may be the most difficult part of studying the language.