We live in a time where the whole world is at the touch of our fingers, literally. Simply by opening Google Maps we can access any corner of the world. Nevertheless, for me and many of my fellow millennials would agree, in the 21st century it is not enough to only view. We need to touch, smell, meet, and greet; feel the diversity. Hence, the diversity is my motivator, and my inspiration to go abroad. Being in a foreign country and still feeling at home, noticing the similarities in addition to differences everyone tend to emphasise. We laugh, we cry, we get excited and dull, we have dreams and ambitions, but at the end of the day - we are all people. Truth inspired by diversity is my greatest motivator to go abroad.
Why did you choose Liden & Denz?
I choose Liden & Denz because they were the ones to answer all of my questions and make me feel welcome even before I decided to come. When choosing a program I will be spending a couple of months in, in a foreign country, it is really important to be around people who make you feel a part of their team - a part of a community. They were open to every question, whether it was about the city or about the program; no question was a silly question, and I really liked that.
What was your favorite part about Moscow?
Moscow is the city of opportunity, and that was my favorite part about it. Anything and everything, Moscow has it. There is an event, a movie, an exhibition, party, comedy show, great restaurant, sports meeting - literally anything you're in the mood for. This city bathes in diversity. Depending on your mood, you can party or relax, dine fast or slow, enjoy contemporary or classical Russian art, swim, skate, watch a game of hockey, soccer, or whatever floats your boat. You can even take a boat ride for that matter.
What made your experience abroad unique?
The people I met during my stay here, both international and local. Every story is unique and, in my opinion, the people can make or break the experience in any country.
Simply stay open and ready to enjoy diversity.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
As I mentioned earlier, the local staff was more than willing to answer any of the questions. There are no silly questions, and I am a curious person by nature. Moscow can be truly overwhelming at times, and since everything is so well hidden - the amount of doors one goes through - a local with all the answers and directions is more than welcoming.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Plan Moscow sightseeing better. I wish I had taken more time to decide everything I wanted to see and visit around the city. There is a massive amount of sights to see, huge parks to walk in, restaurants with every Eastern cuisine, theatre, art, and monuments, an overwhelmingly, fascinating amount. And there is never enough time, because these are scattered all around the city and the commute can take a while. So, take your time in planning, because everything cannot be seen in one day.
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
I had a part-time internship, hence my day began with lessons starting at 10am until 2pm every day. We had 10 minute breaks every hour. The classes are held in a group of 6-10 people, and we are reading, speaking, listening and writing during the time. Afterwards, there is time for lunch and then the internship begins, which takes around 20 hours per week. 4 hours every day. Everyone receive tasks on daily or weekly basis. The free time begins around 6pm.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
Depending on the mood, as I said, you can do anything in Moscow. I usually met with friends, we went for dinner, or enjoyed karaoke, a nargila bar, or simply a movie. Everything is open, as it seemed to me, always. Museums are open until 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and they have special prices for students with an ISIC card. Discounts are everywhere with the ISIC card, so make sure you have one!
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
I lived in a house in the southwest part of the city; this was good and bad at the same time. It was a bit further from the center, but at the same time it was quiet and provided the necessary break from the city rumble. I liked that it was quiet, clean, spacious, and safe. However, next time I will take something closer to the city center, because it is more convenient - and I'd deal with the rumble.
What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?
Be ready to do things you've never done before. New tasks are interesting and challenging, and provide us with valuable experience for our future careers. Likewise, the lessons are intense, so do your homework - even if I didn't always, I tried to!
Now that you're home, how has your time in Russia impacted your life?
Russia is nothing like people think; it is contemporary and progressive. The culture is most certainly unique, but it is never boring. I am glad I had an opportunity to see for myself, and counter the stereotypes about the cold, dull, and closed off Russia. Except for vodka, this one stands; lets leave it at that. Moscow is, I would say, both a fair lady and a wild child.
Would you recommend program and Liden & Denz to others? Why?
Yes, most definitely. It is a great opportunity to explore a new culture and gain valuable experience as well as a unique CV reference. The team is very open and my colleagues in the office would share their knowledge and experience with me. I think it is a great way to learn!
Maja is a millennial, visiting 22 countries on four continents before her 23rd birthday. She is in love with everything digital, and she is building a career in marketing, focusing on SEO and SMO. Maja studied international relations in Thessaloniki, Greece. In her studies and in life, diversity is her most profound source of inspiration. Maja enjoys languages, swimming, contemporary art, and great coffee.