This is a guest post and part of our ongoing Student Life series

By Dinol Shrestha, Bachelor of Computer Science

Dinol recently returned from a Robotics and Mechatronics Summer School at Samara University, Russia.  Whilst there, he had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in appropriate sensor selection, machine perception, path planning, localisation, and artificial intelligence methodologies.

It was a decision that I did not take lightly. Having recently hosted the World Cup in Soccer I was not sure what Russia might offer me. I had no idea if it would be a hostile environment or the experience of my lifetime. However, when I jumped online and looked at the picturesque architecture of the Kremlin, St. Basils Cathedral, Peterhof Palace, and the Amber Room, I thought it was an experience worth taking.

I had such an amazing time in Russia. I was so surprised to be greeted by warm and friendly smiles as soon as I set foot in Samara at 2am. If I were to be honest, culturally Russia is quite different and unique compared to Australia. I was always accompanied by wonderful volunteers. Never in my life have I ever witnessed such humble people. I was quite surprised with the hospitality I received and humility with which Russians greeted me.

Summer school in itself was very interesting. It was a bit full on but you always had some spare time to travel and explore. And again, there were always volunteers assisting us. If you are keen enough you will pick up a few Russian words but it is not necessary as both teachers and volunteers speak perfect English. There are plenty of excursions and industrial visits that will teach you about Russian industry. Overall, I had the time of my life. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that after my trip around Europe in England, Ireland, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, I went back to Samara for a second summer school.

There is also an additional program where you can pay extra and go to Moscow and St. Petersburg. I would highly recommend it as you can visit historical buildings and palaces from the 16th century.

Financially, Russia is quite moderate. It is not as expensive to stay at unlike London or Sydney. So you can enjoy your time in Russia without burning a hole in your pocket. Also, flights around Europe are super cheap and I made full use of it while I was in Russia.