Seu Song is a foreign student of PetrSU from Siem Reap (Cambodia) and his love for mathematics appeared after he had been put to shame at young age.
“I got 27 points out of 100 on final paper in the 7th grade. When my brother Kuhn learned about it, he was amazed that it was possible to know mathematics at such a low level. He said: “Mathematics is not boring at all. Make more efforts and then you will see that it is interesting”, the young man remembers.
After that conversation Song started to focus more on mathematics and within 2 years he took part in all-Cambodian mathematic competition and hit the top 10. Then Song enrolled to the Faculty of Information Technologies at Phnom Penh University of Technology. A year later he took part in competitive selection for studying in Russia, which nearly 500 students applied for.
The competition consisted of 2 modules: questions on the knowledge of mathematics, and on the knowledge of the culture and the history of different countries. “I didn’t have any doubts that I would cope with mathematics but I had to read more about the country studies in books which I took from the library”, Song tells. For instance, he needed to answer the following questions: When was the Great Patriotic War in Russia? What do the colors of the Russian flag mean? The young man coped with all tasks successfully and became a winner.
Song was sent to Petrozavodsk State University to study for the Bachelor Degree at the Faculty of Mathematics and Information Technologies. But before that he needed to complete language courses on the Russian language in St. Petersburg. “It is still difficult for me to pronounce “ш” and “щ”, because we don’t have them in Khmer”, the foreign student said. However, these insignificant language difficulties don’t hinder Song’s success in his studies. The young man got “5” for the examination in mathematical analysis and “4” for informatics.
Seu Song tells us about his way of revising for exams: “In order to pass an exam you need to learn every question, and this requires understanding and repetition of the material”. He doesn’t know what a cheat sheet is or how to use it, as he is sure that it is important to know and understand what you are taught, because you will need this knowledge in the future.
The young man says that he, pursuant to the proverb “business before pleasure”, will spend his vacation studying software engineering and preparing for the next term, and in his free time he will watch films in Russian, play ping-pong, football and volleyball with friends. Song is on friendly terms with sports. At home he started practicing martial arts of ancient Khmers – bokator, which according to many researchers appeared 1200 years ago.
Song regards such hard work as a ticket to success which Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, who inspire the young man, got. He mentions that the faculty professors, Alexander Borodin and Alexander Kolosov, help him study informatics, and support him on his way to success. “They explain really well!” briefly compliments them Song. His family is very pleased with his academic achievements and awaits his return as a highly qualified graduate.