South Ural State University is a prominent Russian university that is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The head of International Cooperation Department Artem Ponomarev told us about SUSU's educational opportunities for international students.
– Artem, are there many international students at the university?
– The number of international students is growing from year to year. In the past five years their number has increased fivefold: in 2011 there were 500 international students, in 2016 they are more then 2000. This year more than 900 international students applied for degree programmes, and 700 of them have been admitted. These figures do not account for students of preparatory courses and other short-term programmes. By 2020 we plan to increase the share of international students to 18 per cent. Now they make only 9 per cent of all students, but we are working on that.
– What regions would you like to attract students from?
– Given our geographical location, we are interested in attracting students from Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. We’ve been also receiving many students from Iraq, Yemen, Mongolia and China. By the way, the Chinese students account for 10 per cent of all international students.
– What educational programmes are the most popular among international students?
– Programmes in Information Technologies are the most popular ones. For example, the Master’s programme in Fundamental Informatics and Information Technologies. It was the first English-taught university programme. We plan to launch a Bachelor’s programme in the same field in the near future. Students often choose programmes in Economics, Сonstruction and Architecture, Philology, especially the programme “Russian as a Foreign Language”. Engineering degrees are also in demand.
– Are any other programmes taught in English at SUSU?
– We’ve been teaching Economics and Philology in English for two years. This year several new programmes are available, for example, the Master’s programme in Mechatronics and Robotic Technologies.
– What do you do to attract international students?– The methods are well known. We cooperate with recruiting agencies, promote our education on the Internet, participate in educational exhibitions, use the Word-of-mouth marketing. Many students come on advice of their friends and relatives. We work with Rossotrudnichestvo branches in Egypt (Cairo), Lebanon (Beirut), Bielorussia (Minsk). This year we’ve had a fruitful cooperation with the Jordanian branch in Amman. This is a new and important market for us, we would like to recruit more students from this country. As for our short-term plans, we are going to launch a website with online consultations, so that prospective students get answers to their questions immediately. That will speed up communications.
– Where can prospective students get information right now?
– There is a general e-mail: email@example.com, to which students may send their questions. Our staff members try to respond quickly, in one or two days. You can also ask questions on the university’s website or social networks.
– What advice would you give to those international students that consider applying to SUSU?
– Applying to a foreign university seems to be a difficult task. I would recommend not to be afraid of asking questions, to get as much information as possible. I would also recommend to follow closely the advice of the university staff. For examples, some students miss deadlines for submitting documents, and have problems after.– Artem, how many state-funded places does the university provide?
– This year there’ve been 19 state-funded places in Master’s and PhD programmes. The Chinese students occupied most of them.
– Does the university provide grants for talented international students?
– We are planning to give 20-25 grants for the talented international students starting from the next year.
– Is there a preparatory department for international students?
– Yes, there is. A prep department offers programmes in 4 fields: Engineering, Humanities, Economics and Sciences. You can send your application to the general e-mail.
– What educational expos is the university going to attend in the near future?
– We will attend the China Education Expo on October 20-23, 2016, in Beijing. We are going to visit Amman on October 30 - November 1, 2016 because we consider Jordan a promising market for us.
– Tell us a bit more about the SUSU’s location, please.
– SUSU is located in the city of Chelyabinsk, at the border between the Urals and Siberia. The region is known for multiculturalism and respect for different religions and cultures. Chelyabinsk has a developed infrastructure, an international airport which is easily attainable from the city centre, where the university is situated. The university has a single campus, so all the buildings are close to each other. The university provides all necessary facilities for students: 9 modern residences, a sports center with a very good swimming pool. There is a park nearby.
– Where do international students live?
They live in residences, in double or triple bedrooms in a two bedroom block. Residents in each block share bathroom and WC. There are two common kitchens and several study rooms on the floor. By the way, some international students have proposed to open national cafes, and we support their initiatives. Such places would be especially good for students from Muslim countries. National cafes successfully function at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, and we would like to follow suit.
– How do international students adapt to the university life?
– The branch of the International Student Association in Russia has been working here since 2013. Most active and smart students have become its members. Many students from China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Syria, Iraq and other countres help newcomers to feel comfortable in a new environment and give all kinds of support to international students at SUSU.
– What is the advantage of studying at SUSU for international applicants?
– We are proud of our education quality, infrastructure, and diversity of our educational programmes. There are 38 degree programmes. As our rector says, SUSU is not only a comprehensive, but also a universal university. So, you are very welcome!