Student Interview: Voronezh Is Like Tartu, but 10 Times Bigger
If you don’t speak or read any Russian, you can just call her Katherine, though her friends back in Voronezh know her as Ekaterina. Katherine comes from Voronezh State University, where she studies journalism, and is on her exchange semester in Tartu now.
Katherine has tuned into the study mood (ask her how if you need a boost), praises the friendly atmosphere in Tartu, and hopes to make friends all over the world. You probably have a good chance to meet her at the UT Botanical Garden or café Werner, as she claims to have fallen in love with those places here.
What else?… Find out in the twitterview!
Who is Ekaterina, and who is Katherine? Photos from the personal archive.
@ Hello Katherine! By the way, is it your real name or some sort of a version for your English-speaking friends?
@ Sure, it's a kind of nickname because of a rather difficult pronunciation for non-Russian speakers.
@ My real name is Ekaterina. The surname - Bogdanova.
@ Ok 🙂 You're coming from Russia - from where exactly?
@ I'm an exchange student of Voronezh State University.
@ How big is Voronezh and your university? What do you study there?
@ The population of Voronezh is about 1 000 000 people. But you should take into account that it's a real student city.
@ My University is the biggest and the most popular one in our region. I'm studying journalism there.
@ So it's like Tartu, but 10 times bigger?
@ Something like this, yeah).
@ Katherine (should we stick to this name? :), you've spent the first few weeks in Tartu - what are your first impressions?
@ First, I haven't seen such small, but civilized towns (not villages!) yet. Maybe, it's typical of European towns).
@ Second, of course, people there are MUCH friendly there than in Voronezh. They easily make contacts with you - it's cool!
@ To crown it all, the atmosphere there really tunes you to a studying mood because of student conveniences).
@ Nice to hear that! When you say friendly, do you mostly mean other international students, or also locals?
@ Both). Now I can say I have a number of friends from America, Asia and Europe (including local students as well).
@ Oh, that's a relief) And which student conveniences are you referring to?
@ I mean a little distance between the university buildings, excellent condition of the dorm, a big, rich library and so on).
@ Good you like it) Still, Estonia isn't the most exotic or fancy destination for people from Russia. So why Tartu?
@ My University has close relations with the University of Tartu. Figuratively Voronezh is like a son of Tartu science).
@ Because if you have a look at its history - The University of Tartu was "partially moved" to Voronezh in 1918.
@ Yes, in 1918 under German occupation in Tartu Russian academics & students fled to Voronezh & Voronezh State Uni was founded.
@ So it's like searching for one's academic roots?)
@ Something like this). And, of course, it's quite a good possibility of studying abroad.
@ How about your everyday activities, do you speak English or Russian when e.g. shopping in Tartu?
@ When talking to older people I usually use Russian.To Estonian youth I usually speak English.
@ There are some tensions between Estonian & Russian parts of the population here. Have you experienced that in Tartu?
@ Maybe they are more tolerant to international students... Actually I haven't experienced that.
@ That's good. Do you have a favorite place in Tartu yet?
@ I can't say I have explored Tartu well yet, but I've already fallen in love with the Botanical Garden and cafe "Verner").
@ How about bars and night clubs?)
@ I can't say I'm keen on such places but I enjoyed Pub Crawl organized by ESN and welcome party in "Atlantis"!
@ 🙂 What do you expect from your semester in Tartu?
@ I want to learn subjects which are not taught at my home university, to have an experience of studying in English...
@ ...and to make friends all over the world, sure!
@ Maybe it will become an impulse to return to Tartu for seeking MA or PhD degree. 😉
@ These are all great goals! 🙂 Екатерина, большое спасибо за интервью. Удачи!