Photo competition introduces international students to the city

The photo competition Open Tomsk: Shot by Shot has this year become the first mass offline event organized by Tomsk State University for its international students.

At the competition, TSU’s international students had a good time outdoors. The team format of the game made it possible to meet new people, practice Russian, and take photographs for memories. In each location, they participants had to decipher a rebus that gave the key to their creative task, a composition that the team should capture against the background of a particular landmark. At the same time, they needed to hurry because the first team to the finish line won in the "Fastest Team" nomination.

Currently, there are 370 students from non-CIS countries on the TSU campus. Difficulties in adapting to the new living and learning conditions that international students usually experience have been exacerbated in the last year by the distance learning format and the self-isolation regime. The Russian Conversation Club and other popular projects have been transferred to the online format.

- The pandemic has become a serious test for international students because they are torn away from their homeland for a long time due to the closure of borders. They do not have the opportunity to go on vacation, and here their communication with peers and socialization, for obvious reasons, turned out to be limited, - says Lydia Zhuleva, head of the Department for Social Adaptation and Support of International Students, TSU Department of International Relations.

Jie Zhang from China had been studying for a master's degree at the TSU Institute of Economics and Management for a year but had not yet participated in university events.

- Of course, I communicate with classmates, I have made friends in Russia, but I still know little about Tomsk. I know the Camp Garden (Lagerny Sad), I like to walk there. But I want to move more. I go to the TSU swimming pool, but here I have an opportunity for both active recreation and interesting communication, and I decided to participate, - he explains.

- In the last year, there were not enough such events for international students. I have been studying at the Faculty of Geology and Geography for the fourth year; I know many interesting places in Tomsk. But I took part in this photo competition with pleasure and even discovered new places for myself, - Philip Pallares, who came to study at TSU from Colombia, shared his impressions.

According to Lydia Zhuleva, the photo competition format is very suitable for exploring the city and the cultural adaptation of international students. TSU volunteers have already created similar events. This time the development of the concept and organization of the Open Tomsk: Shot by Shot photo competition was undertaken by master’s students of the 1st course of Advertising and Public Relations of the Faculty of Psychology. And 2nd-year undergraduate students of the same specialty became the guides of the teams for the participants. For the first group, the event became the final project in event management, for the second it was practice in specialized workshops. The students also provided informational support for the photo competition.

During the week, the TSU-Online community will publish the results of team photo sessions - the most successful pictures taken by  TSU international students in different locations in the city. The best photographs will be printed and presented to the authors as a keepsake of Tomsk.