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‘Russians are very trustworthy colleagues and friends’ – a young expat from Italy

My name is Chiara. I’m 27 and I was born and raised in Monza, a mid-sized town close to Milan, but my family comes from a beautiful town in the south of Italy named Mattinata (in Apulia). I studied Russian at the State University of Milan, and I was very eager to come to this mysterious and intimidating country to test my knowledge of the language and, hopefully, to learn it better. 

I’ve been working here for a little more than 3 years. At first, in 2016, I went to Cheboksary for one year to teach Italian, but I returned and worked in Italy for some time. Then in January 2018 I returned to Russia to continue my education at the Peter the Great Polytechnic University. Consequently, I got a job in the St. Petersburg’s office of SEMrush, an international IT company, where I’ve been working for two years now.

The image that we in Europe have of Russia is usually of a scary, cold place with not much to offer; populated by disinterested people drinking lots of vodka. My family and friends were, of course, scared and thought I was a bit crazy for wanting to go. My initial impression, considering the first thing I saw was the Cheboksary airport, was that I had traveled back in time to the 1980s or 90s. But after a car ride across the snow-covered landscape of Chuvashia I loved everything, especially the weather! (Yes, I know it was winter, but the dry cold of -33℃ was very refreshing in the morning: this was definitely what impressed me the most at first; also because it…

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