“Evenings at Home are One of the Best Memories . . .”
In Rovaniemi, Kiselev lived in a four bedroom apartment with two students from Italy, and one from Romania. He became really good friends with his roommates and still keeps in contact with them by way of letters and e-mail.
“Evenings at home are one of the best memories,” he says. “There was very warm company, with people from different countries communicating with each other. There was an atmosphere of freedom, and no one cared where each other were from.”
Kiselev’s time in Rovaniemi also gave him the opportunity to explore several other parts in Finland and the rest of Europe. He travelled to Helsinki, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. He also decided to spend the Christmas holidays in Rovaniemi with other exchange students from around the world, instead of returning home.
“There were about 25 of us,” he says. “We all gathered in one of the flats and the representatives of each nation were supposed to make their own national dish. We made vareniki. It’s like a sandwich with potato inside. We sat around the table and talked.”
“I Became More Free . . .”
After graduating in the spring of 2005, Kiselev moved to St. Petersburg where he is a sales manager for a tourism company. The north2north exchange helped him in the professional world to find a job, because the overseas experience looks good on a resume, he says. But, the experience also changed him in a personal way.
“I became more independent from my parents from many things. I became more free. That was the first time I was away from parents for a long time abroad,” he says.
His future plans also include returning to Rovaniemi to possibly pursue graduate studies.
“I don’t want to be a tourist,” he says. “I want to live there. Rovaniemi is an ideal place for studying. The university is great. There are lots of computers and the teaching staff is really kind.”
After completing his exchange, Kiselev has encouraged other students to get involved in the north2north program. While still at Sakha State University, he spoke to the next group of north2north students about his experience and gave them advice. For him, if any student has a chance to get involved in the north2north program, they shouldn’t pass it up.
“I recommend the north2north program to anyone as an opportunity to see Europe and to communicate and meet people from other countries,” he says.