Interview with SGIA MGIMO 3rd Year student Irene Cecchini (Italy)

Interview with SGIA MGIMO 3rd Year student Irene Cecchini (Italy)

22 June 2023

3rd Year student Irene Cecchini (Italy) chose MGIMO because of its “rigorous academic standards” and high reputation in International Relations and diplomacy. Regardless of all stereotypes, Russia gave her a warm welcome. As we continue a series of interviews with SGIA students, Irene told us what she values most in MGIMO SGIA education and how it feels to be a foreign student in Russia.

You’ve studied in MGIMO SGIA for three years already. How would you describe the level of education here?

MGIMO is one of the leading universities in Russia in international relations and has a long-standing history of prestigious alumni. Its faculty members are well-regarded experts in their respective fields. And I’ve been able to personally experience and confirm this about this University for several reasons.

First of all, MGIMO has a strong emphasis on practical experience and offers a diverse range of internships, exchanges, and study abroad programs. Furthermore, its commitment to academic excellence and research has led to many publications of scholarly articles, research papers, and books.

Second, MGIMO offers extensive extracurricular activities, such as conferences with high level of professionals in different sectors, ministries and international organisations. All these possibilities help the students to deepen their interest and passion in several fields.

What language are you learning at SGIA?

I’m learning Russian.

Wow! And how is it going? Is it difficult?

The experience of learning Russian can be truly captivating as it opens doors to understanding a rich and diverse culture different from your own.

Russian may appear challenging initially, especially due to its distinct alphabet, case system, and pronunciation rules. However, the level of language education in MGIMO provided me with an incredible environment for learning Russian. Specifically, SGIA provided me with both a solid grammar base and excellent practice through in-class discussions. As a result, starting from zero, I’m now able to fluently speak this language, and even capture every shade of meaning in every word, since Russian is a very colourful language.

Since I’m a student from Italy with a diploma in Ancient Latin and Greek languages, learning Russian can indeed be quite a unique and fascinating experience for me. Indeed, although the linguistic structures and grammar of Russian are notably different, there can still be some elements in common, particularly when considering the use of cases or the roots of some words (for example, in Latin “eye” is “oculus”, which became “око” in Russian, used in the word “очки”, i.e., eyeglasses).

What had you heard about MGIMO before you entered? Did your expectations meet reality?

Before I entered MGIMO, I had heard that it was a highly prestigious university that provided an excellent education in areas such as international relations and foreign languages. I had also heard that the university was known for its rigorous academic standards and that its alumni held high positions in governmental institutions and business.

And, by personally studying there, I had the opportunity to confirm this, and it even exceeded my high expectations.

Why did you choose MGIMO SGIA?

I have always been passionate about International Relations and diplomacy since my high school days. As I researched different universities around the world that offer programs focused on these areas, I came across MGIMO SGIA and I was immediately impressed by its prestigious reputation.

Moreover, what specifically drew me to SGIA was its extensive curriculum, which includes subjects of various spheres of interests, such as economics, politics, law and history. Therefore, I knew that studying here would provide me with a wide range of knowledge, which would be helpful in my future job career.

Additionally, the multinational environment created by students from different parts of the world seemed very impressive to me and indeed, during these years, it provided me with a truly international learning background.

Moving to another country is always difficult and stressful, especially if it is a country of a different language and culture. What did you expect of Russia and what do you think about it now?

At the beginning, my expectations of Russia were primarily based on information that I received through media and the opinions of people of my native country. However, it was exactly this one-side view of Russia that made me more interested in exploring and better understanding this country.

Now, having gained personal experience living in Russia, my perspective has changed. Contrarily to the stereotypes, I have found that the Russians are warm, welcoming and eager to share their culture and traditions with foreigners. Also, I personally experienced many positive aspects of the Russian culture, such as the strong sense of community and emphasis on helping each other.

Moreover, living in Russia, I discovered the incredible artistic heritage that this country has to offer: coming from Italy, I’ve been able to compare the Classical art with the Russian one, finding a lot of similarities and differences. Now, I can see how strong and rich the Russian historic and artistic heritage is.

On SGIA MGIMO-Univeristy