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Studying In Russia: How To Choose Your University?

By Ava, published on 15/03/2019 Blog > Languages > Russian > What Are The Criteria For Choosing Russian Higher Education?

A very enriching experience is to study in Russia or in any foreign country. International travel is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences on the planet. If you have decided to study in Russia, you have made a good choice, because Russian culture is distinct enough to enliven your study experience in the country.

Whether you want to study for a semester with your universities study abroad program, learn Russian as a second language, apply for an international scholarship, move with your family to Russia or just work on transferring your higher education to a Russian University. You will need to know which Russian University to study at and even more importantly you will need to know about how to pick this university before you enrol.

Russia has more than 800 universities throughout its cities and towns, and more than 200,000 foreign students are welcomed every year to study and discover the beauty of Russian culture. So what do those students know that you don’t? How did they pick their university in Russia? Let’s take a look at things you should think about before selecting your new university.

Take a Russian language course Check you are ready to study in Russia. Photo Source: Unsplash

Which Discipline To Study In Russia?

Whether it is to learn a regional language, especially the Russian language, or to complete your training to become an engineer. Curriculums in Russia cover all topics, and prospective students can expect to have a lot of choice in the number of courses available for study in universities there. Russia is a dream destination for many students and many students not only decide to study in Russia for an academic year, but many also start and complete all of their higher education in Russia.

The question of deciding what to study is not based on where you study but on what it is that you want to do.

  1. First, ask yourself what you would like to study Once you have a concrete idea, then you can go to the next step.
  2. Look for universities that offer that course. However, you should be aware that you will have to do another step to decide because with so many universities and so many courses offered in Russia this will not help you to shortlist a university.

The last things you can do when you have a list of universities that have your course is starting to ask yourself.

  1. Where do I not want to go to university? For sure there will be a small town in the mountains that shut down at 8pm or a university that doesn’t allow wifi. It sounds silly but go through your list and start to think about things you want to do and experience while studying. If you like the quiet life, maybe you won’t choose Moscow. But if you like to party maybe Saint Petersburg will go top of the list.
  2. Once you have made your superficial decision, then you should have a much shorter list. It is not time to start to look for more information about the university.
    1. Do they help you to study abroad or do they have a link to your university
    2. Do they offer a scholarship
    3. Do they have an established an exchange program
    4. Do they teach in English if you don’t speak Russian
    5. Do they provide support to get your student visas
    6. Do they offer additional support from an intercultural counselor or perhaps tuition support to help you in your first academic
    7. Do they have university accommodation, approved housing or host families
    8. Do they have excellent facilities on campus
    9. Are their campuses located in good areas
  3. Remember that while the idea to study abroad is great the end goal is to get a degree. An international university is excellent, but if you don’t reach your end goal, then you need to ask yourself if it would be worth it.
  4. If you have the chance to take a holiday in Russia to visit campuses, do it. If not then join forums, facebook groups, and check online maps to try to get a good idea of what it will be like.
  5. Now the last one is maybe the most important, What can you afford?

Going through this checklist will help you to narrow down the search. For some, it will be a natural process, and if you are going to Russia for just for a few months, it may not matter quite so much. But if you are planning on spending 3 years studying in a Russian university, then you had better do your due diligence and make sure that you are going to have the time of your life. While we can not really control what we will find we can research enough to put our minds at ease.

How to read the Russian alphabet It is essential to know a few key phrases before you fly to Russia. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Best Russian Universities

Some of the best Russian universities are:

  1. Moscow State University,
  2. MGIMO, School of International Relations of Moscow,
  3. The Polytechnic University of Tomsk,
  4. The State University of Saint Petersburg,
  5. Novosibirsk State University,
  6. The Haute Ecole in Economics.
  7. The prestigious Best Global University Ranking of 2018 has placed:

Some of the worst Russian universities are:

  1. Novosibirsk State University at the 471st place,
  2. The Institute of Physics and Technology of Moscow (MFTI) at 534th place.

The final choice, of course, depends on your level of education, your expectations, your discipline and your financial position. It is advisable to choose an internationally renowned university, of course, Especially if you do not speak the language and need classes in English until you can learn Russian. Feel free to choose courses in the Russian language even if you do not master it yet because you can find ways to translate the teacher such as google translate and of course you will study a bit hard to understand.

Russia which is a Russian speaking country Phonetics, Cyrillic keyboard, memorization, intonation and Russian expressions, will be a real asset once at the airport. Photo Source: Unsplash

How To Register To Study In Russia?

The first step to being accepted into a Russian university is to put together an application. The content of the latter varies from one school to another, but the application should generally contain the following:

  1. An application form,
  2. A CV and a cover letter,
  3. A photocopy of your passport.

The process is relatively simple, and once you have completed the process, you can just wait for the answer. If it is negative, you can always try another university. In general, you must apply for the entire academic year so bear that in mind, selecting a single semester may get your application declined.

What Expenses Can I Expect Studying In Russia?

Similar to studying in your home country or any country in the world. You can generally expect to pay for the following.

  1. University registration fees,
  2. Miscellaneous administrative expenses,
  3. Residence fees,
  4. Money for Books
  5. Money for living expenses.

What Is The General Process To Apply For A University?

Once you have been approved as a prospective student. You can proceed to the following administrative formalities:

  1. The scholarship application,
  2. The visa application.
  3. Housing application: many students choose to live with a Russian host family or stay in university residences. Which are very cheap, gives you access to other students, you are close to your classes.
  4. Flights booking: check if you are allowed to book a one-way flight with your visa or if you have to have a return ticket. Of course for more extended periods of study, you will not have a return ticket.

Things To Remember

  1. The law in Russia is not the same as your home country, and before you take any actions, you must check what is allowed.
  2. A student can not always work in Russia so make sure you know how to budget, or you might find you go hungry.
  3. You can, however, help in the university with the following jobs, but you can count that there will hardly ever be vacancies.
    1. administrative positions
    2. In the international relations department
    3. or as a translator into your native language
  4. If you are a daredevil, you could offer English lessons to Russian students in exchange for a meal or a drink at the bar, but you should be careful not to accept cash unless you have permission as this will be seen as employment.

On Campus at your international university, you may find the education system and the rules a little different from your home country. But this is an opportunity to open your mind and learn to see life in a new way. Be glad that you are away from higher education at home and that your Russian experience will enrich your life.

Why choose Russia for university studies? Because it is a plus to have a Russian experience and to learn to speak a rare language like Russian. Which university did you choose and what was your experience?

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