Founded over 200 years ago, Kazan Federal University is one of the oldest Russian universities. Chulpan Gazieva, Head of admission office, told us about the advantages of studying at KFU.
– Let’s start with statistics. How many overseas students are enrolled at KFU?
– In 2015/2016 we had 3,200 international students from 91 countries. 2,700 were enrolled in regular education, and 500 in extended education programmes.
– What are your international student recruitment plans?
– The university aims to expand the ranks of our international students. They currently account for 8% of the total number of students in our regular programmes, but this ratio will soon reach 13% and by 2020 will stand at 15%. In fact, we’re trying to improve both quantity and “quality” of prospective students. Based on submitted documents, we select applicants with decent scores – and invite them to take admission tests.
– What regions do you focus on?
– We have traditionally worked with numerous regions, and keep expanding our geography. While in 2014/15 we had students from 70 countries, in 2015/16 this number jumped to 91. Kazan has traditionally been a magnet for Turkic peoples, so we attach a high priority to CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan) and Turkey. But we are happy to welcome prospective students even from the most exotic countries. For instance, this year we have a Master student from St.Kitts and Nevis – it’s a small island nation in Latin America.
– What disciplines are most popular with foreigners?
– Humanities, such as Philosophy (179 overseas students) and International Relations (over 200 students). We have seen significant growth recently in STEM, particularly Geology and Medicine (around 160 and 300 students, respectively). In these areas we offer Specialist (General Medicine and Dentistry) and Master (Geology) programmes in English.
– What was KFU’s quota this year for state-supported international students?
– This year, we got 1365 applications for 700 state-sponsored spots from international applicants. So far we have admitted 300 students, including 25 Master students.
– Does KFU provide additional grants to talented international students?
– Indeed, since 2014 when we established a grant programme, we have provided 164 grants for Master and Postgraduate studies in high-priority areas such as geology, physics, mathematics etc. At the moment, we are supporting 77 foreigners (54 Masters and 23 Postgraduates).
– Are all of them your former Bachelor students?
– No. Some are graduates of KFU or other Kazan universities. But many came from abroad – we advertized our scholarship programme on the websites of Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Mexican and Lebanese Ministries of Education.
– Where can one find more information on scholarships?
– You will find a dedicated chapter on our website with a list of supported students. We collect scholarship applications until July 1st (if a prospective student needs to go through the Preparatory Department) and June 1st (for applicants who speak Russian and are ready to enter an education programme right away). We reward talented students and volunteers, help them, try to provide them with more comfortable accommodation.
– Can you please elaborate on the Preparatory Department?
– KFU has been running foundation programmes since 1979, but the Preparatory Department was only established in 2010. Since then, 800 students have graduated from the PD. We are planning to admit 400 students in 2016 (100 will be supported through state programmes, others will pay for their tuition).
– Do you run summer camps?
– Yes, we hold summer schools in a number of subjects every year. Our most popular summer programme, the Russian Language School, usually runs from August 3rd to 30th. It usually attracts many Chinese, Korean and German students. There has been substantial interest lately among American and Czech nationals.
– Do you run Russian language courses? How does one sign up for them?
– Besides the summer school, we have a special Russian Language programme which can last a semester (in 2016, it costs 66,000 rubles or 1015 US dollars) or an academic year (132,000 rubles or USD 2030). We also accept students from partner institutions to these programmes, if they have previously studied Russian and want to improve their command of the language through deeper cultural immersion. To sign up for it, please contact our International Recruitment Dept. at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available on the website.
– Which international education exhibitions will KFU take part in 2016-2017?
– We have already participated in 5 international exhibitions this year and are planning a visit to Tel Aviv (Israel) on October 19th for yet another one. In 2017, we intend to participate in the CIS exhibitions organized by Rossotrudnichestvo; traditionally we go to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. We are also going to visit China and Vietnam.
– What Olympiades are open to foreigners at your university?
– Every year we run contests in Russian Language and other subjects of admission tests for prospective students from the Commonwealth of Independent States. It works as follows: those who want to enter KFU, register at our website and remotely participate in the contests. High scorers will be invited to come for interviews; admission committee will recommend the strongest applicants for admission. Our External Relations Department together with Kazan City Administration conducts a municipal Russian Language Olympiade for international students, where winners get various certificates. Top three prizes this year went to KFU students from China.
– What are the advantages of your university?
– KFU is one of the oldest universities in Russia. Kazan has always been at the border of the East and the West, so we are happy to welcome students of any nationality, we have a high level of cross cultural tolerance. Also, Kazan regularly hosts various large-scale events, so kids are never bored here. Actually, our international students have a diverse social life and often partake in various thematic festivities, such as Africa Day, Foreign Freshman Day, Graduate Day or Peoples’ Friendship Festival. Union of Foreign Graduate and Postgraduate Students has been working at KFU since 1970’s.
– What kind of admission advice can you give prospective KFU students from abroad?
– Applicants often contact the university at the eleventh hour, that is when they get their school graduation documents. We recommend choosing a university and applying ahead of time, so that all documents can be collected in a calm and orderly fashion. For some reason, many applicants hesitate to call or email to ask questions. Let me assure you that our International Office responds to all inquiries within 24 hours. So please do get in touch!