- Posted by: Enjoy Russian
- Category: Matryoshka’s diary
“People in Russia were even more friendly and direct than I expected” An interview with Ivana from Serbia
Welcome to our weekly edition of Matryoshka’s diary. Today’s post is devoted to the experiences of expatriates in Moscow. Here is an interview with Ivana Prlić, a PhD candidate in the field of Educational Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia. Ivana is interested in preschool education and initial education of preschool teachers. She is a teaching assistant at a College in Serbia. Last year she attended a Summer School on Inequality of Educational Opportunities at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) University in Moscow.
Was it your first time in Russia?
Yes, that was my first time in Moscow. It was a wonderful experience from both educational and recreational perspective. I have met many people from different countries with different educational backgrounds and experiences and had an opportunity to collaborate with them.
What were you expecting of this trip? Did you have any stereotypes about the country/people and did you confirm or demystify them?
If some of the people of my origin were in my place they would probably expect a specially welcoming attitude towards Serbs (there is an expression – Russian people are our brothers) because of the same religion, language and culture. However, those were not my expectations. I expected professional behavior and open-minded approach, but people were even more friendly and direct than I expected, but at the same time very polite. Also, I didn’t have any prejudice – I saw an open, professional, and friendly way of e-mail communication before the trip. I loved the hospitality of the university that was hosting us.
What did you see there and what is your favourite place in Moscow?
I visited many beautiful places in Moscow but the ones I enjoyed the most are: The Red Square, the Moscow Metro, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow river, Gorky Park, and Tretyakov Gallery. All the sights were very impressive – I liked the spirit of Moscow – I don’t know how else I can explain this special feeling. If I were to choose one spot in Moscow I would choose the Moscow Metro. Simply because it is really like a museum – it is just located underground. You can just stand there and stare at this beauty for hours.
Did you get a chance to try some traditional food? What is your favourite Russian dish?
I tried some of the traditional food and drinks while I was in Moscow. I am in love with the pastry (cabbage pies) – we used to have them every day with our morning tea. Also, I have tried borscht, olivie, khachapuri and vodka. Something that surprised me is that the signs of the restaurants (here I am referring to the restaurants for tourists) are written in cyrilic which is not the case in my country.
Was there anything funny or surprising for you while you were in Russia?
One day we woke up just to find that there was no hot water in the tap. The absence of hot water was really surprising because Moscow is really a huge city and I couldn’t imagine that it could have any problems with hot water in the summer. I expected cold weather, not cold water!
The other thing that really surprised me is that you cannot drink from the tap. I know that tap water is not the water of the best quality in most cities but it is surprising that it is not drinkable at all. I was very surprised in a good way with how fast you could reach long distances in the city if you travel by metro.
I was visiting Moscow on a scholarship from a higher education institution, and many people I spoke to were surprised that myself, a student from a small, poor country was accepted and offered a scholarship to attend the summer school and did not have to pay a fee or submit a comprehensive proposal for a project. I believe that as young leaders we should try our best to promote this kind of (academic) mobility among youth.
Moscow is only in 9 hours by train from Petrozavodsk. Choosing courses at Enjoy Russian you get the opportunity to travel all over the country!