Spanish and Kazakh Students: We Do Not Have the Same Opportunities as Students of the Mining University Have
Ten years ago, there were 13.5 thousand degree students of foreign origins in Saint Petersburg. This number has increased to 31 thousand by now. If other education forms - such as short-term programmes or summer schools - are included, the figure rises to 38 thousand people.
As Andrey Maximov, Chairman of the Committee on Science and Higher School of St. Petersburg, notes ”For our city, it is a great responsibility to host so many international students. The infrastructure, its cultural, social and business components - they must meet the global standards. The primary role, however, belongs to universities. They have to provide a high quality of educational activities and need to guarantee decent living conditions. Students from other countries are only considering those study destinations where these facilities exist”.
One of the most valued and highly ranked universities of St. Petersburg is the Mining University, which was chosen, for example, by Master’s students from Spain and Kazakhstan. They have just completed six-month long exchange studies, with their study choice being the international educational programme’ Applied Geology’. Throughout the term, they had been read a number of lectures by teachers of the oldest Russian engineering university. They had also participated in numerous workshops in such disciplines as mineral processing, basic underground mining, geotectonics and geodynamics, oil and gas engineering, applied mineralogy, and a few others.
Ignacio Sebastian Baldo, a student at the Technical University of Madrid, a top engineering school in Spain, shared his opinions on studies ”The Mining University was the one that offered an exciting interdisciplinary programme combining several subject areas in one. That was a key factor in our decision-making since students from our Spanish group are studying in different fields in Madrid: mining engineering with a focus on mineral extraction, engineering geology and metallurgy. By completing our studies here, we managed to level up across a wide range of issues. I am about to graduate with a Master’s degree soon and believe that this experience I have gained here, in St. Petersburg, resonates well with my study programme and qualitatively complements it”.
Last year, a young Spanish lad had an internship at Repsol, the largest oil and gas company in Spain. Upon his return, the Spanish student is expecting to be employed by the company, presumably being offered a permanent contract. Ignacio believes that study experience he received at the Mining University will make an excellent addition to his CV.
Another student from Spain, Ignacio de Sea Sarabia, says ”The first things I noted were modern equipped dormitories and historic buildings, inside of which we were given lectures. But the labs and scientific centres impressed me the most - students can actually use advanced equipment in their research! We had such courses as petroleum engineering and underground mining, and I got to learn the key issues through the use of simulators, analysers and other technical facilities. In Spanish universities, such opportunities are unimaginable”.
Students of Karaganda State Technical University most positively valued the lab classes.
According to Maria Rusina, “Students are usually overloaded with theory, but practical experience is lacking. This is not the case here, at the Mining University. Almost every lecture was followed by some experiment: we were drilling wells, repairing them when needed, we also used to determine raw material characteristics - in other words, recreate the manufacturing cycle with the use of technologies”.
Young people coming from Kazakhstan paid specific attention to this programme not only because they were willing to gain new knowledge in applied geology but also because of the chance to practice their English.
Aldiar Zabigullov was pleasantly surprised with the quality of education, ”Before coming here, I had already known that St. Petersburg Mining University was one of the most popular higher education institutions in Russia. And it is true - I realised that upon my arrival! The university is also within the top twenty of the word’s highest-ranked engineering universities. Teachers and teacher assistants held classes in English only. It was particularly valuable that they used a wide range of engineering and mining-related terms in their speech”.
At the end of their studies, those students who passed the exams and attained the credits were presented training completion certificates.
As Rimma Plenina, Head of the Department of International Programmes and Scholarships at the Mining University, adds ”There are over 800 full-time students of foreign origins who are studying in our university right now. St. Petersburg Mining University has also been involved in several large educational programmes, such as Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, DAAD, CIMO. By participating in these programmes, the university increases its competitiveness on the global education market. It also helps in expanding international cooperation in the field of higher education. For instance, last year, we accommodated about 220 graduate and post-graduate students who came from our partner universities in Europe and Asia to participate in short-term study programmes or as part of student exchanges”.