Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI" is one of the best technical universities in Russia and has a rich history – it turned 130 years old in 2016. Victor Tupik, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, gave an interview about the benefits of LETI for international students.
– Victor, how many international students are currently enrolled at LETI?
– We have a total of 1369 foreigners in all programmes; most of them are enrolled in on-campus courses (1246 or 15% of all student cohorts). In fact, we have numerous applications from prospective international students every year.
– What countries do most of your students come from?
– Currently we have students from 7 Latin American countries, 10 European states, 20 African and 29 Asian countries – all in all, our students represent 66 states. LETI has been teaching foreign nationals since 1946, we have accumulated significant experience in this area. There were many international students in Soviet times as well, many of them came from Europe, while now we get more applicants from Asia and Africa. Having said that, we are still training kids from Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece and Macedonia. We also have students from the CIS countries, such as Kazakhstan, Byelorussia etc.
– What do you do in order to attract international students?
– We are developing courses in English. LETI currently offers 6 Master programmes in English: Telecommunications, Renewable Energy, IT, Automatics and Electronics, Biomedical Engineering, Laser Measurement Technologies. We are a technical university, hence the focus of the programmes.
Also, we have strong alumni associations around the world. For instance, there are about 500 members in the German association, some of them are prominent public officials and business leaders. The Vietnamese association has around 800 members; there are alumni clubs in China, Poland and Hungary. They help us by telling prospective students in their countries about LETI.
– How many state-sponsored spots did LETI have in 2016?
– Slightly over 200: 150 in Bachelor and Specialist programmes (many of them in Radioelectronics and Information Security), 55 in Master programmes (primarily those in English) and 5 in Post-doc. Next year we plan to award 250 full tuition scholarships to international applicants.
– Please name the most popular disciplines of foreign students.
– IT, Biomedicine, Electrical Engineering and Automation. In Automation we have two dual diploma Bachelor courses with a Chinese partner. Since courses are taught in Russian, students are invited to take a foundation year before they start.
– Can you please elaborate?
– Our Preparatory Dept. has been around for a long time. Classes are held from October to July in three tracks: Engineering, Economics and Humanities. In every track, students study the fundamentals of the Russian language as well as their majors. You can apply through the website. There are currently 60 students at the Preparatory Dept. from a wide variety of countries: Besides our traditional sources (Middle East, Africa, Vietnam and China), we have students from Greece, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Syria, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka. In short, we have kids from around the globe.
– What kind of dual diploma programs does LETI offer?
– We have a number of partners in different countries: Xuzhou Institute of Technology (China), Hanoi University of Technology (Vietnam), Lappeenranta University of Technology and Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and Ilmenau Technical University (Germany). We are about to sign a contract with Stralsund University of Applied Sciences (Germany). Overall, we have many proposals, particularly around Master programs.
– We run seven Olympiads that can help with admission. We conduct online Olympiads to test the skills of applicants to English-language Master courses. We usually propose state scholarships to best scorers.
– Does the university offer grants to gifted foreign students?
– This year we have extended grants to nine fee-paying students with strong academic performance to keep their motivation high. If a student has any problems, he or she can always turn to the administration, and we shall help, financially if needed. Moreover, talented international students can often win full tuition grants from our foreign partners – we have a multitude of joint courses with other universities. This is how a student from Tajikistan was recently admitted to a programme at the University of Hanover.
– Please describe the life of international students at LETI.
– The campus consists of 8 buildings with large lecture halls, modern labs and libraries; 7 dormitories are located close to academic buildings and a subway station. All international students live in well-equipped double rooms. Every dorm floor also has kitchens, study and leisure rooms; there is a gym in every dorm.
– Do you provide support to newcomers?
– Absolutely. Our staff meet students at the airport or railway station, help them get registered with migration authorities and get a medical insurance. Tutors help students resolve any issues they might have. LETI runs various events designed to onboard freshmen. By the way, St. Petersburg, where LETI is located, is a stunningly beautiful city with numerous museums open to students.
– What else do they do in their spare time?
– There are many sports and cultural events at LETI. We are happy to celebrate holidays of the world, such as Oriental New Year, Nowruz, and many others. We have a project called fLETIght around the world, where students share the culture of their homeland. For example, we recently had an extremely interesting China evening. Chinese students explained how their writing system works, now I can read some hieroglyphs.
– What kind of admission advice would you give international students?
– I’ll be blunt: studying here is hard, LETI provides high quality education but demands a lot. We conduct formidable tests to check if the applicants are ready to process information coming from the faculty. So don’t take preparation lightly. But if you do become a student and then a graduate of LETI, you will have a sound profession and high-quality education.
– What’s the biggest benefit of LETI for international students?
– We teach the most sought-after professions – IT, Electronics, Radioelectronics. Our graduates work for domestic and overseas branches of such large corporations as IBM, Siemens and Xerox and often hold leadership positions. Choose LETI if you want education that will pay off well.