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    Zsolt Bencsik: My CEMS exchange in St. Petersburg

    Well, to be honest I made a mistake before the semester… I didn’t put the St. Petersburg State University, Graduate School of Management on the top of my list when applying for CEMS MIM. Although this tiny mistake could’ve led to a disaster, luckily – something/someone corrected and I ended up spending the best semester of my academic career.

    Between realizing that I’ll go to mother Russia and the third day of my stay in St. P. – which means technically the whole spring semester at Corvinus – I was a bit scared – honestly, but now it’s more than difficult to recall why.

    So I started the semester at the leading business university of Russia. The master programs have their own separate building, which has a great location – 15 min walk from Hermitage; and surrounded by many places where you can grab a lunch. The atmosphere I experienced was unusual after a mass-education type Corvinus. Family and direct contact between prof and student, especially among the CEMS class.

    Russian people are friendlier than you expect. If you are willing to learn a single word of Russian and struggle to pronounce, they’ll definitely help. Moreover the admin staff at the university made strong efforts to make us feel it was easy to tackle all the barriers set by the ‘Russian bureaucracy’.

    Though I’ve been to many cities claiming the title ‘the Venice of the North’ (you can find a Wikipedia article on this topic), St. Petersburg is undoubtedly the No.1. The royal, baroque palaces and the fascinating streets are showing how wealthy and mighty the Russia tsars were. When you’ll stroll on the Nevksy Prospect in the direction of Hermitage and take a look left and right at every single corner and on bride, you will understand that it is very hard to find a more elegant and noble city than St. Petersburg.

    This was my street; you might hear of it, once you’re there…the Nevsky Prospect. More than lucky I was.

    The spa&gym was just a minute far from the uni building for a ridiculous monthly fee. We spent here countless hours in one of the seven saunas, when it was cold outside.

    One of those 60 days when there is at least a single ray of sunshine. Last but not least, one of the Marinskiy theatre complex. The university has offered highly discounted tickets to see e.g. the Nutcracker and the Swan lake ballets.