February 1, 2014

I don’t like when people say that it’s bad in Russia.

I don’t like when people say that it’s bad in Russia.

 BMSTU has been always famous for its training of highly-qualified specialists that’s why it’s not surprising that it’s popular not only with the Russian youth but also with the foreigners who come to our University on exchange programmes. Joël Stadelmann is the hero of this interview. He got his higher education in Switzerland and now he’s a postgraduate at the department “Biomedical Technologies”.


-          Joël, why did you come to our country and what did your academic activity start with?

-          It all started in 2008. According to my studying programme I had to undertake an internship and BMSTU was one of the universities where I could go. I decided on it. Here I was offered to work on the topic “Detection of Leukocytes”.

-          What area were you focused on in France?

-          In Switzerland. There’s often some confusion. I lived in France but I have Swiss education. I studied at the University of Lausanne. My speciality is “Mictotechnology”. It’s a complex mixture of electronics, informatics, algorithmics, mechanics, mechatronics and what not. At that time I was an expert in electronics and computer science.

-          In what way are electronics and informatics connected with leukocytes?

-          When I was a four-year student I had to decide on the research area I’d be occupied with in the future. It chose bioengineering when I was offered to undertake an internship.

-          What were your first impressions about our University?

-          Four years ago I thought that BMSTU was an extremely complex organization. I had to complete a pile of documents. It was difficult for me to orientate here. The University structure still amazes me with its massiveness but now I don’t get lost in it and I see the prospects the University can open for me very clearly.

-          What was the hardest thing here to get used to?

-          It was the fact that valid authorization must be shown at all times. It’s difficult for a person who got used to going where he needs freely. When I first came to the University I didn’t manage to get inside. I was advised to go the Department of the Russian Language but I knew no word in Russian and I was also stopped at the checkpoint and was not permitted inside. It took me a week to settle all practical arrangements. Along with that I “discovered” Moscow for myself: its metro, shops…and tried to get used to cold weather – it was -15°C. I was glad that I made friends who helped me with the documents, showed where it was better to eat out. Now, I may say, I’m used to Moscow life.

-          How do you like the metro?

-          It’s beautiful. It’s hard not to consider the Russian metro a masterpiece when our French metro stations are concrete walls without any decorations. It’s a pity that this beauty is spoiled with the ads but it’s obvious that we can do nothing without them nowadays.

-          Do the crowds at the metro make you frightened?

-          Just because of that I tried to start work earlier and to finish it later to avoid the rush hours.

-          What’s your favourite dish in our University café?

-          Solyanka (a thick soup of vegetables and meat).

-          Was it easy for you to master the Russian language?

-          No, it wasn’t. I still have some problems I can’t cope with. The letter “Ы” (“Y”), for instance, when I speak fluently I can’t pronounce it properly. I confuse the verbs of perfective aspect with non-perfective one. I don’t distinguish the soft sign and make some mistakes in punctuation.

-          Are you planning to stay in Russia or to return to France?

-          I’ve got an interesting job and a chance to become an associate professor at the subdepartment. All that gives me an opportunity to stay here for a long time. It’s hard to make plans for 15-20 years, it’s possible to dream. I’m sure that I’ll stay in Russia at least till 2017 as the cooperation agreement for 5 years has been signed up.

-          Could you tell us about your research work?

-          I’ve just defended the thesis “Technical system for the determination of biofield formula.” This work is the result of my internship and of my post-gradual studies. Now I’m working on the topic “Infrared diaphragmoscopy”. There’s still a lot of unknown in this sphere and that fact makes it challenging.

-          What do you think about the Russians? About their temper and disposition?

-          The Russians are quite reserved at first sight but when you get to know a person closer he/she shows the friendly nature. In other countries it’s usually vica versa: at first, the people are kind and open-hearted but when you want to become closer – it’s impossible. There’re some unspoken limits which prevent the development of interpersonal dealings.

-          Is there anything you don’t like in Russia?

-          I don’t like when people say that it’s bad in Russia. It’s not true… in Moscow, at least…

-          According to your experience, where’s the most expensive life: in Russia, France or Switzerland?

-          France is cheaper than Russia and Switzerland. It takes 2000 dollars a month to live in France, if it’s not in Paris. It’s enough for studies, theatre, for food and for a flat to rent.

-          What’s the difference between the Swiss and BMSTU students?

-          I can’t say definitely. Sometimes when you look at a student you’re surprised how he/she was  allowed to study further the second year and, vica versa, there’re real geniuses who should become professors.

-          Could you compare the training process here in Russia with the one in Switzerland?

-          The approaches are quite different. There’s a feeling that you’ll be always helped here in case of problems but in Switzerland a student is left to himself – if he doesn’t manage to do anything, he’s dismissed.

-          What would you wish to Russian students?

-          The main thing is to find a job on the qualification you get at the University. I think Russia can offer a great range of such jobs now.

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