5th day – Irkut & Yandex

Today was the rainiest day of all. I was wet, and I was cold. It was basically a day to have hot tea and read a nice book!

We first visited Irkut in the morning, followed by Yandex in the afternoon. In between, we recharged our batteries over a nice lunch. In the evening it was time to say goodbye to Moscow and take the evening train to St. Petersburg, an express train that connects both cities within four hours. At the end of the day, my classmates could socialize with me again and everyone was happy. I think.

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Irkut Corporation is a manufacturing company of airplanes, founded in 1932. It not only manufacturers military, but also civil airplanes. We were invited into the show room of MC-21, where part of a 1:1 model was showed. We were introduced to the company and its achievements were highlighted. From this presentation, I got the impression that Irkut’s airplane are by far better than the one of Airbus and Boeing. The people presenting were proud and excited of their company. Especially about the newly designed airplane. They gave me the feeling that they achieved something very important for their country and they wanted to share this excitement with students from Switzerland.

Yandex was a very interesting company visit. Wikipedia says that Yandex is the biggest search engine in Russia, with a market share of 60%, and similar to Google, it develops a number of applications, such as mail, maps, and a taxi app. However, Yandex problem is that it is only big in Russia, the CIS countries, but nowhere else in the world. Thus, it is much dependent on the Russian market and Russian economy. If the economy slows down, revenues from ads will shrink, and thus Yandex’s revenues too. Google, as the biggest competitor of Yandex, is market leader in almost every part of the world, except for China and Russia. As we walked through the offices I realized how similar they are to the offices of Google. There were many rooms where the employees could relax, or brainstorm in a very typical Google environment. The offices were all green, with lots of plants, and terraces allowed the employees to get some fresh air whenever they want.

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Thank you Andrey and Christina for the great tour of Yandex!

In the evening we took the train to St. Petersburg. I was excited to see the city since I just started to read the book City of Thieves by David Benioff. The fictional novel describes two young men who have to provide a dozen eggs in Leningrad, the other name of St. Petersburg. From the book I also learnt, that the citizens liked to call their city Petri, which I found pretty cute. Sad thing about driving by night is that you do not see the country. Traveling by train is the best way of getting to know a country.

2nd day – soaking in culture & history

The second day of the study trip was all about culture and history. We had a very relaxed tour around Moscow and visited the most important sightseeing places. For this day, our tour guide was Vladimir, who put a lot of effort in introducing Moscow to us. The weather was surprisingly nice, and even the sun was shining for us.

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Our day started with a rich breakfast at the hotel. At 9 o’clock we took a coach to explore the city. Some students had already tried some Vodka shots the night before and were as expected sleepy and tired in the morning. The walk in the fresh air made everyone vivid again. I expected cooler temperatures than in Switzerland, however, the mild weather made our stroll around the Kremlin pleasant. Our tour started at the Red Square, where the Kremlin and the beautiful San Basil Cathedral are located next to each other. The Kremlin is a fortress, which officially is the residence of the president of the Russian Federation. Further, it includes 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals, the Kremlin Wall and the tower. The cathedral was build between 1955 and 1561 by Ivan the terrible and is a piece of gorgeous architecture.

I imagined the red square to be bigger. I visited the Tiananmen Square in Beijing in April 2014, which is the biggest public square in the world. The red square looked tiny compared to the one in Beijing. Also, at around 9.30 AM there were few tourists visiting the attraction to my surprise. I sort of imagined seeing a similar mass of people like before at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

We strolled around the Kremlin and when the place got slowly filled with tourists, we got back to our bus and continued our tour at one of the Seven Sisters. The Seven Sisters are tall buildings from the Stalin era, which figure as universities, hotels, or the Foreign Department. There are five more buildings located outside Russia. There is one in Riga, Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw, and Kiev. In Poland, we call the building “Palac Kultury”; Palac of Culture, which was a gift from Russia to Poland. I have been on the top of the building when visiting Warsaw in summer 2014. However, my parents’ generation is not very fond of this piece of art since it sort of marks Russia’s presence in their country. We got off to explore the area nearby the biggest of the Seven Sisters, which is a University as Vladimir explained.

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In the evening, the class went out for dinner to taste local cuisine. As I figured out during the week, it is common to eat pickles and other cold dishes as a starter. Polish and Russian cuisines do not vary a lot, unlike the Swiss cuisine. The variety of food was immense. I knew most of the dishes already, such as Pelmeni, Borscht, and the Russian Salad. At the end of the evening, we enjoyed hot tea. I was not aware that Russians have a tea ceremony and believed to this point that only Chinese and Japanese do enjoy drinking tea in a traditional way. First, a bit of tea concentrate is poured in cups and then everyone pours hot water from a silver samovar. Only when I got back to Switzerland, I asked my mum what the jam was for, which was also served with the tea. A little bit too late I figured out that Russians sweet their tea with jam, which is very sweet and is used as sugar.

1st day – Far away from Europe

The students of the International Management class IM12 went on a study trip to Russia. The study trip took place from the 11th of October until the 18th of October 2014. This study trip was an elective module and the students had to decide until late February if they wanted to join this study trip or not. Anna Nikoulina, head of the IM program at ZHAW, with the help of Hanka Heimpold and many other involved people have organized an interesting trip to the Russian Federation. The days were packed with company visits, sightseeing, and newly gained impressions!

As the largest country in the world, inhabiting approximately 142 million citizens from different kind of ethnic groups, Russia was since ever one of the leading nations in historical and political events. The proud country has seen many up and downs. The Tsars shaped the country with rich and pompous buildings. Poets and Writers gave Russia its soul and introduced the world to Russia. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, or Pushkin are world famous authors, regarded as important figures in the Russian history. The Second World War, followed by the Sowjet era has to great extent destroyed the beauty and spirit of the nation, but also formed a new image of Russia. This was all Russia, and we could literally feel and see the Tsar era in St. Petersburg and Sowjet Russia in Moscow!

Our first real impression of Russia was at the train station in Moscow where the Airport Express arrived. We realized at the train station how many different Ethnics live in Moscow. There were of appearance Chinese, Turkish, and Mongolian ethnics, but they were all Russian.

We were excited to see the metro in Moscow, as it seems to be the most beautiful in the whole world. The metro was first opened in 1938, nearly 75 years after the London Underground was opened. During the time in Moscow, we used the metro nearly every day jumping from one tube station to another one. The central and most used stations are extremely beautiful with paintings on the walls, while stations in the outskirts of Moscow are rather unspectacular. Whenever we left a new station we looked forward to what we will see next and how the station will look like.

In the evening, the class went out to have some drinks and dinner. We hoped to gain new impressions of the country and have a good learning experience! 🙂

 

 

 

International Management class goes to Russia

The students of the International Management class IM12 went on a study trip to Russia. This study trip is an elective module and 30 students have signed up in early february to go onto an adventure from the 11th until the 18th of October.

Anna Nikoulina, head of the IM program at ZHAW, has organized the trip with the help of Hanka Heimpold and many other involved peoples. Our program was packed with company visits and sightseeings in Moscow and Russia.
Our schedule was as following:

  • 11th – 15th October in Moscow
  • 15th – 18th October in St. Petersburg

Before we departed to Russia, we had four lectures about Russian History and Culture at ZHAW in Winterthur.

The study trip is over, the students back at school, but let us start from the beginning…

Enjoy!

Carla & Karo

Russia