Eric Gustav Engberg came to Petrozavodsk State University to continue learning the Russian language which he has been interested in since childhood. “I fell in love with the Russian culture and language when I came here for the first time to the international summer camp together with the Russian children. This way I started getting to know your country: through learning Russian, reading, for instance, Pushkin’s fairytales, but still they were in Swedish. Later, in upper secondary school, I got the opportunity to learn Russian and I took this opportunity without a moment hesitation.” – recalls Eric.
Then the young man entered the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London where he mastered his knowledge of Russian and as well started to learn Finnish. One of the indispensable conditions to study there is one year’s internship in Russia. “I have chosen the university in Petrozavodsk not only because my sister used to work here but also because Karelia is close to Finland and one can learn the Finnish language at the university which means I can practice it, too” – says Eric. He also got the opportunity to find supplemental information for his research work. It deals with the Ingrians who live in Russia, Finland and Sweden.
At PetrSU, Eric studies not only at the courses of Russian as a Second Language but together with the students of the Faculty of Philology attends some lections, for example, history of the Russian language. He marks that in comparison with his groupmates at the College the Russian students seem to be very calm, responsible in relation to their studies, polite and open. According to Eric, they turned out to be very communicative. “As they realized that I am from Sweden they showered me with questions. They wanted to know why I decided to learn Russian, what were my impressions from your country and how people live in Sweden”, - recalls the foreigner.
Eric visited Petrozavodsk for the first time two years ago with the organization which deals with the cooperation matters in the Barents region. “I realized that people in Russia are very hospitable, well-wishing, warm-hearted and communicative. The standard of living here is lower than in Scandinavia but people seem to be happier here”, - says the student. Eric was surprised also that in our country police officers strictly fine those who crosses the road in wrong places, in Sweden people don’t take it so seriously.
The young man also learnt the traditional life of Karelian village Kinerma. The international services of the university organized this excursion for the foreign students of PetrSU. They visited the architecture monuments such as an old Karelian house, the chapel which is more than 250 yeas old, most of the foreigners saw the samovar and the washstand for the first time in their lives and learnt the way the Russian baths are heated with a chimneyless stove and how the Russian oven is stoked.
Eric is leaving Russia in several months and as he puts it he will remember our country warmly because he has found new friends, gained vivid impressions and knowledge here.