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Brazilian Youth Eager to Study in Russia

December 4, 2015

In October-November 2015, employees of the international departments of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University participated in a Russian-Brazilian program of short-term exchanges which is being implemented as part of the Russian Academic Excellence Project and is intended for administrative and managerial personnel.

The Russian university was represented by Natalia Bedryagina (Head of International Student Recruitment Department) and Elizaveta Sukhova (Senior Engineer of the Department of International Academic Mobility). During their stay in Brazil, Natalia visited the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS, Porto-Alegri, Brazil) and Elizaveta – the international office of the University of Sao Paolo (UNESP). For Natalia this was her first such experience, while Elizaveta has participated in a similar project called «Strategic partnership» in the Leibniz University (Hannover, Germany).

The specialists from St. Petersburg Polytechnic learned a great deal about the academic mobility programs now flourishing in Brazilian universities –- thanks to such innovations, students have been afforded the opportunity to study in Latin America, Europe and the USA for free.

Elizaveta Sukhova informed us that “the specific feature of academic mobility in Sao Paolo is the fact that the international office has an umbrella-like structure: the main department is in Sao Paolo, while smaller departments are located on each of the 24 campuses. The entire procedure of nomination (sending information about a prospective exchange student to a partner university) takes place online using a special online system developed and implemented by one of the employees of the main department. It is integrated into the systems of all dean’s offices and makes it possible to obtain detailed information about each student-participant of the mobility program (attendance, scores, number of credits, classes etc) without having to submit additional inquiries to other departments or schools. This system also makes it possible to exchange all mobility-related documents between departments and schools and offer comments about each candidate, etc”.

According to Natalia Bedryagina, the goals set up by the university for her Brazilian trip included: experience exchange, learning about academic mobility programs, finding out about recruitment and admission procedures for foreign citizens, the chance to peruse student surveys designed to show if these youths are interested in studying in Russia as well as identifying the reasons they give for not actually following through on it.  Natalia negotiated with UFRGS about future cooperation with St. Petersburg Polytechnic within the framework of international study programs, English-language Master’s programs and “double degree” programs (for example, in the field of IT). Natalia’s Brazilian colleagues are also interested in the opportunity to send their students to St. Petersburg to study in summer schools, however this would be difficult as Russia and Brazil have different university schedules and our terms and semesters do not overlap.

According to Sukhova and Bedryagina, many young people in Brazil are interested in getting an education in Russia. The opinion survey they conducted showed that such Brazilian up-and-comers  are attracted to our universities both by the high quality of our education system and its affordability. Also they believe that a successful career awaits them  upon completion of their studies here. Our Russian specialists consider Peter the Great University to be an attractive choice for international students. “Technical specialists will always be in demand. And we are also very similar to Russians – we share the same love of life and curiosity about everything new,” said one of the Brazilian students who took part in the survey.

To remind the reader, the Russian-Brazilian exchange program started in the summer of 2015 as part of the Russian Academic Excellence Project. In the exchange program Russian is represented by Project universities and Brazil –by the university-members of the Brazilian Association of International Education (FAUBAI).