Located in Nizhniy Novgorod, Lobachevsky University (UNN) is one of the best Russian classical universities. Konstantin Kemaev, Vice-Dean of the International Student Dept., explains how to apply to UNN and what programmes the university offers.
– How many international students are there at UNN?
– Around 1,000 overseas students from 90 countries were enrolled at UNN in 2015/16. Now we have approximately 800 students, and we’re planning to attract more.
– What are the countries that your students come from?
– In fact, all the continents except for Antarctic are represented at UNN. This year we have welcomed students from the Middle East, South East Asia, Latin America, Far East, USA, Australia and the CIS. We are working on increasing the influx of European students. The few current students from Europe mostly come from partner universities’ inclusive education programmes. We also have several non-profit exchange programs like Erasmus – this year 8 students came from Italy alone. Our partnerships cover most of Africa where we recruit directly and through specialized agencies. China is our key partner in East Asia. There is a steady stream of students from our affiliate institutions in Sichuang and Anghui provinces.
– Students from which country would you like to see at the Lobachevsky University?
– For instance, from Iraq. This is a new region for us, an oil country, so prospective students have a keen interest in Petroleum Chemistry. There are also applications from kids in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. So we are preparing to launch an English-language program on the subject next year. Thailand and Indonesia are new source countries of interest to us, we are seeing first applications coming in; students seem keen on studying in Russia.
– Please name the most popular disciplines of international students.
– In general, International Relations (Master and Bachelor programs), IT, Chemistry, Economics, Language Studies (particularly Russian as a Foreign Language), Journalism, Biology (particularly Biomedicine) and Radiophysics (telecoms) are the most sought-after degrees. Programmes in English have traditionally been very popular with international students.
– We currently offer three full-fledged Bachelor programmes in English: The internationally accredited Fundamental Computer Science and Information Technologies has been around since 2006 and several classes have already graduated. International Relations programme was launched in 2013 and became the first Russian course to be accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Thirdly, we offer a dual diploma programme in Economics with Grenoble Alpes University (France).
– Do you offer Master programmes in English?
– Yes, now we have two; the first class of Mathematics and Computer Science graduated recently. The second one, in Management, was launched in 2015. We offered it as we saw demand – exchange students were interested in Management, so we systematized our knowledge and developed a course. This is a special program as it awards dual diplomas from UNN and University of Siena. We have a plan to offer Master courses in English in Neurobiology (starting soon) and BRICS Studies, Economics and Management (under development). Next year we shall also launch a French-language programme in International Law.
– We do. There are two types of courses available. In the regular one, classes start in September or October (depending on student arrival dates) and end in June or July. In some countries, graduations fall on autumn or even winter, and students don’t have the time to apply, so we introduced spring foundation years. For these, we invite applications from October to late December, classes start in mid-March and last until late June. After vacations in July and August students have a full year of preparation. Thus they master Russian better, which helps with their studies later.
– We are preparing an Olympiad in Russian as a foreign language, it will be held in Serbia. Russian is very popular there, many prospective students would like to be enrolled in Russian universities. This year we took part in the Olympiad as guests of honor, next year we will organize it together with the Serbian Slavist Society, Belgrade and Novi Sad universities, as well as New Serbic, a Gazprom subsidiary.
– Does the university offer grants to gifted foreign students?
– It does, but they mostly go to the development of research capabilities. We are considering introduction of monetary incentives for gifted students.
– What are the benefits of Lobachevsky University for international students?
– We have numerous programmes exclusively taught in English. Unlike many universities which combine two years of tuition in English with two years of courses in Russian, we provide a four-year English-language experience. You will only hear Russian speech in Russian as a foreign language classes. This is key. Moreover, several courses in English at UNN have been internationally certified, which is quite a challenge. And naturally, we provide high-quality education at an affordable price.
– Please describe the daily life of foreign students.
– They live in three dormitories on the campus located close to the center of Nizhny Novgorod. International students live in triple rooms with furniture and linen. There are separate study rooms and free lockers on every floor.
– What do students do in their spare time?
– They have a big live.They can do sports from soccer to karting or skydiving. They can participate in student competitions and festivals, social and cultural projects, or even engage in student government. We host national culture days and soccer championships, there is a dance theater and an international culture&language club. Students often spend summers in the regional youth camp Lazurny.
– What kind of admission advice would you give to international students?
– Most importantly, be proactive, send emails to the international office and ask questions. To apply, simply fill out a form on the university website. We know there are connectivity issues in many countries, so you can download the form, fill it out and email it. Make sure to contact the university ahead of time, at least two months before the end of the admission campaign (i.e. in spring), because visa formalities and travel will take time. Please read carefully the recommendations we send regarding legalization and translation of education certificates. There should be no problems if you follow the instructions, so coming to Russia and joining the Lobachevsky University should be very easy.