Antonio Comazzetto, Italy: Six month at Magnitogorsk

University of Padova has got a lot of agreements with universities all around the world, and hundreds of students are involved in the Erasmus Project every year. There are also other agreements with Russia and with scholarships, but only with Moscow as destinations (and, as far as I know, Tomsk). These agreements are made especially for students of russian language department, and for students of engineering or other disciplines, be part of them is almost impossible. Also there are agreements with single departments, but without scholarships for students.

From the last year of Bachelor’s Degree I began study russian language (which is very interesting for me, and with beautiful sounds) and russian culture. The main reasons of this choice were the interests about the Tsiolkovsky equation, the aerodynamics studies of N. Joukovsky, Molnija orbits, but also Korolev, the launch of Sputnik 1, and the journey into space of Gagarin. But my interests are not restricted to language and aerospace, Tsiolkovsky is my favorite scientist and I am very interested in history, especially about period of Soviet Union.

This is why, when I saw Magnitogorsk as a destination for engineering students for Project Erasmus Beyond Europe, I didn’t hesitate and decided to contact immediately Professor Manuele Dabala’, in order to ask if with my specialization (Aerospace Engineering) I could write application to come to Magnitogorsk for Erasmus.

These six months in Magnitogorsk have been characterized by both positive and negative aspects.

Prof. Marina Polyakova, and Alexander Gulin have always been helpful with me, with thesis and also about life in Magnitogorsk. It was the first time, for me, so far from Italy and for so long period, and in a place  with many people who I didn’t know. They always asked about my health, life here, and supported me. They gave me office where I could stay, and computer room for the numerical simulations. In particular, I liked approach to give me tasks for every week. And language was never barrier, talking with them in english has never been a problem. Also Alexander helped me with problems about russian language course: I was wasting a lot of hours going there, my progress in russian language was not as I expected. It was not stimulating go to that russian course. After two months I decided to change professor of russian.

Second part of russian course with Prof. Svetlana Rudakova was completely different. During lessons she only talked in russian with me, and this helped me very much for my listening skills. I can say undoubtly that this second period has been very useful and that Prof. Rudakova is very professional. Also, after this course I have a lot of useful material which can help me for further study of russian language.

Daniel and Ekaterina of the international office have been very kind with me, and they always try to do everything for the comfort of international students. I appreciate this very much.

Living in Magnitogorsk without enough knowledge of russian language can be problematic at first. Find students who can talk in english is difficult, even at university. Because of this, make new aquantances and communication are hard.

I knew about cold weather before coming here, and thanks to very warm clothes, cold has not been a big problem.

In November, seminary about Sever Plastic Deformation was very interesting for me. I think that this kind of conferences can encourage and stimulate students during their studies. And I was impressed to see that only few russian students were there. I think that here the importance of english language is not exalted enough. But be able to communicate in english is one of the greatest advantages nowadays, and I hope  that opinions of people about it, here, will change soon. Also In january the visit at MMK Metiz was very interesting, especially for the topic of my thesis. From my point of view, was better to visit it in the first part of my stay in Magnitogorsk, and maybe more in detail.

In conclusion, I can state that my stay in Magnitogorsk for these six months has been the most important period in my life. I met important people, I asked about period of Soviet Union (and collect many things from that period), I understood what it means live in a different country, where live people with different culture and language. I wrote master’s thesis about materials engineering, even if I study aerospace engineering: it was very stimulating and important for my future. For all these reasons I can also say that these aren’t my last days in Magnitogorsk. I would like to contact the company Danieli when I will come back to Italy, in order to try to find a job position which allows me to work between Italy and Russia.

Antonio Comazzetto, Italy



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