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Competition is on a rise as the number of foreign students is set to increase

Иностранные студенты
Фото © Андрей Кучеренко

While everywhere all over the world students celebrate International Student’s Day, which is usually held on November, 17, in Russia it is Tatiana Day that has come to be celebrated as Russian Students Day. An annually held observance takes place on 25 January, and at the time when Russian locals had fun whilst celebrating, 309 thousand foreigners left the country for vacation. As soon as it is over, they are back to their studies.

The trend is clear. With each year, more and more foreigners choose to commence their studies in Russia. What are the reasons, though? What professions are of the greatest interest to the future students?

Иностранные студенты
Фото © Андрей Кучеренко

In Russia, Rossotrudnichestvo is responsible for distribution of state-funded study places for foreign states residents. According to Eleonora Mitrofanova, the head of Rossotrudnichestvo, admissions offices of our country are present in 140 countries. In some of these countries, only one out of ten applicants gets into the university. The aim of Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education is to increase the number of foreigners in our universities to 700 thousand students.

This year, the vast majority of foreign students, who got into the university under quota of the Russian Government, are either from Vietnam (958 openings) or China (950 study places). CIS countries residents, i.e. Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and a few others, apply to the universities on the usual terms. Newcomers from other countries may only apply under the quota system. One of the tasks of Rossotrudnichestvo is to distribute students geographically, for they can choose a field of study, but not the location of future studies. As for choice of profession, Marina Borovskaya, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education, explains that engineering and science specialties are the ones that attract the most interest from foreigners.

Сирийские студенты
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад /

On the photo: Damascus. Interviewing Syrian applicants.

Currently, training engineering experts is an acute problem in many states, and cooperation with Russian higher education institutions seems like a possible way to solve this problem. One of the leading universities in the field is Saint-Petersburg Mining University, which has been actively cooperating with international institutions. For instance, during the visit of the President of Russia to the Balkan Peninsula, a few agreements on cooperation were signed, including one between the Mining University and the University of Belgrade and another one with a company "Naftna Industrija Srbije" (NIS).

The company "Naftna Industrija Srbije", which may be roughly translated as Serbian oil industry, established a program with special focus on cooperation with local and foreign educational and scientific institutions. As seven years have passed since the date of its establishment, the initial efforts are starting to pay off.

One of the company’s partners is the Mining University. Education cooperation between the institutions has been picking up. Since 2013, 21 Serbians came to Saint-Petersburg as students, whilst eight of them only in the last year alone. One of the students of the Mining University is Irena Gorjanc from Belgrade.

As Irena says, "Being a student with one of the highest academic achievements, upon graduation from school I was offered a scholarship from NIS for receiving a higher education in Russia. At that time it seemed impossible, I was frightened by the size of your country. However, I agreed to pass a series of tests, and I was offered to choose from the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Saint-Petersburg Mining University and Tyumen State Oil and Gas University. In the ends, we all, Serbian students, made it to St. Petersburg. To be honest, we were not disappointed. This is a beautiful imperial city, a mix of Russian and European traditions".

After graduating, Irena plans to return to Serbia and work in a company that has paid for her higher education. Irena is a Bachelor’s Degree Student. According to her own words, the amount of knowledge she gets as a Bachelor’s student is sufficient to start working as Oil Extraction Engineer or a Maintenance Engineer of Mining Facilities. She believes that there is a wide variety of job opportunities for her. At the same time, Serbian student is planning to continue her studies and apply for Master’s Degree. Having completed Master’s programme, she will have a chance to compete for a high-profile job in the Serbian company.

As Irena Gorjanc noted, "In Serbia and, more specifically, in NIS, the quality of education in the Mining University is considered to be very high. In general, education in Russia is ranked quite highly, but mining engineers are considered to be of the highest value. In my country, only two educational institutions train engineers in regards to related occupations: a specialized school, where after completion of studies scholars become technicians in the labs, and the University of Belgrade, where students apply to such programmes as Geology or Oil and Gas Engineering. Its graduates become geologists and engineers respectively. Unfortunately, it is the only university in the country, which is obviously not enough".

НИС Сербия
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