Olivia Paterson had been in Russia twice before she came to Petrozavodsk. First time she went to Sochi with a group of students from her school eleven years ago. Since then Olivia has become very interested in Russia and the Russian language. She decided to study Russian at the University of Exeter (the UK). Olivia says that there was a strong Russian community in the area where she lived so it also inspired her to study Russian.
There is one requirement at the University of Exeter: the students are supposed to study in the country which language they learn for one year. Olivia decided to go to Kazan where she spent four months. At that time her friend Susanna was in Petrozavodsk and she advised Olivia to study at Petrozavodsk State University. Her friend said she liked Petrozavodsk because it was a safe and quiet town with many international students at the university. Olivia decided that it would be the best way to learn Russian because not so many people speak English in small towns. Now she is enjoying her stay here. She mentions that people in Petrozavodsk are very friendly and helpful and the atmosphere of the town itself favours her studies and life in Petrozavodsk.