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Meet The Ebster: Anastasija Nadezdina

Today we will introduce you to an incoming exchange student from Russia. She has travelled the world and wants to share her exchange experience in the EBS with other Ebsters!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey! My name is Anastasija and I am an exchange student at EBS from Russia. At my home university, I study marketing and market analysis. I consider myself a very outgoing and friendly person. I really love to travel and get to know new people, new cultures and new places. That’s why I’m extremely happy to be able to spend one year abroad!

What would be the three most interesting facts about you?

  • I was raised with exposure to foreign cultures

  • I have working experience since the age of 14

  • Travelled to 25 countries

You have lived in many different cities, which ones and where do you see yourself living in the future?

I was raised in St. Petersburg, spent quite much time in Vilnius when I was a child. When I was 17, I moved to Moscow to study at the university. Last year I lived in Stockholm for some time and now I am here - in Tallinn!

Honestly, I haven’t decided yet where I want to live in the future. For now, I mostly consider Stockholm because I love Sweden, their language and mentality. But who knows, maybe once I finish university, I will end up somewhere else.s

How did you end up choosing Estonia as your Erasmus destination?

That’s a good question. I always wanted to go on exchange but the global pandemic made it hard in some ways. When it was time to apply for a spring semester, I noticed that Estonia appeared on the list. Before I have never seen it. I decided to consider EBS because I had been to Estonia many times as a tourist and always enjoyed it. I had nice childhood memories connected with the country, so I thought “why not?”. Also, the situation with coronavirus was still remaining so I decided that it would be easier for me in a neighbour country. And last but not least, I like Scandinavian culture. Even though Estonia is considered to be a Baltic country, you still feel a big influence from other Northern countries.

You have visited Estonia before. How does it seem different compared to just visiting and actually living in Tallinn?

Well, obviously, this is a huge difference. Let me tell you some of the main factors:

  1. When I visited Tallinn, I always stayed inside the Old Town and rarely explored areas outside it. Once I moved here, I saw many cool places that I had never seen before.

  2. As a tourist, I did not really have a chance to get to know locals or to notice that actually, the environment is super international. After living here for a couple of months, quite many stereotypes about Estonians were ruined, I noticed that people who live here are not only Estonians or those from post-Soviet countries, but actually from all over the globe. That was such a nice surprise!

  3. When I came here for weekends, I always spoke Russian because I felt that everyone knows the language. But once I started to live here, I used Russian only 2-3 times in my everyday life. English is the language to go.

  4. In general, I discovered Estonia from new perspectives. When you are a tourist, you spent time in this medieval town with a great history. However, being a “local”, you discover that it’s a very rapidly developing country with high technological usage, fast-growing start-up system etc.

Have you had the time to travel to Estonia? What would be your favourite place to visit and why?

During my exchange, unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to travel around. But I had this chance before I came here. I visited Pärnu, Tartu and Narva. I guess if not take Tallinn into account, Pärnu is my favourite place to visit. I really like nordic nature when it comes to the seaside. The town is cute and during summertime the atmosphere hits different. So many young people and family have holidays there.

Estonia's mot popular tourist attraction - the Old Town

How is university life at EBS and how is it different from your home university?

I really enjoy studying at EBS. I like the way teachers find the approach to students. They're always trying to make classes interactive so students don't just sit or do other things. You always somehow participate in all activities and discussions. I also find it fascinating how teachers give not only negative but also positive feedback. That really motivates me to study and put much effort.

As for student life, that's cool that there are many activities inside and outside universities. There are many events that make your experience fun and are interesting.

The study approach is pretty similar to my home university since HSE also aims to the practical side when it comes to business studies. Honestly, I am not that active student at my home university, so I am not really aware of student life outside studies. That is why I can't comment that much. But in general, I still feel a difference between universities. I guess here I feel more relaxed and calm, back in Moscow the rules are more strict, in my opinion.

What were your expectations for the exchange semester? And how did you end up staying here for the whole year?

I was afraid to go. Despite the fact, that I'm really social and like to explore new places, I still had side thoughts that I wouldn’t be able to find people with who I would be on the same wave. Also, I was not that confident about my abilities to study full-time in English. However, everything turned out to be good. I met many wonderful people, I enjoy studying and just feel that I am where I have to be.

After one month of living in Tallinn, I realised that I feel happy, motivated and productive here. So I decided to try to apply to stay for one more semester here. And here I am, studying at EBS till June instead of January. For now, I believe it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Estonia has variety of amazing places to visit.

Do you have any suggestions as to why every student should attend the exchange year? Is it worth it and would you like to give them tips and experiences that they should definitely know?

I would definitely recommend spending a semester or a year abroad. There are obvious reasons for that:

you can improve your languages, you get to know a new culture, meet many wonderful people from all over the world, become independent and just grow as a person.

I can say for sure that even several months have completely changed me. I know how to deal with stress and issues that you can face in adult life, my English has become way better, I started to set important goals in my life and just become more outgoing and open-minded. What's more important, you build your network because you meet many people on your way. And you never know how that can help you in the future.

I am the only one from my country who came to EBS for exchange, I didn't have any friends here, so for me, it was a big challenge in the beginning. Not going to lie, I was afraid that I won't fit in or find people with who I can hang out. But everything turned out to be good. So my one important tip is not to be afraid of obscurity. You always have an international office that can help you with most of the issues, people on the exchange are usually friendly and will always welcome you. If you are afraid of the financial side, I know that most Erasmus students get financial support. When it comes to accommodations, you can find shared apartments with other students that will help you to save much money.

I believe that an exchange program is one of the best things that can happen in your life. If you have an opportunity to go - you should do this, without any side thoughts!

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