On our site we wrote about the projects of Erasmus Mundus program, which supports student exchange. The program established by the European Union increases the mobility of European students, teachers and quality of higher education due to funding of academic cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world.
Due to projects of Erasmus Mundus some students from Kazan University had an opportunity to study in European Universities. And today we are going to interview Erasmus Mundus students who arrived at KFU having chosen our university for receiving education in Russia.
Andre and Barbara are from Italy, they came in August and will stay in Kazan during this semester. Except Russian, they study Arabic at KFU. Laurin is from Belgium, she arrived in the beginning of summer and will stay here the whole year. Except Russian, she takes lectures at law faculty.
- Good afternoon! Can you tell me, please, why did you choose Kazan Federal University?
Andre: There are a lot of opportunities for studying abroad in our University. We study Russian as the second foreign language, and, of course, we wanted to spend some time in Russia. We have chosen three cities among which was Kazan. Due to Erasmus Mundus exchange program we won a scholarship to study at Kazan Federal University. We wanted to spend here the whole year, but as we are final-year students and soon will get a diploma, we decided to stay here only 5 months.
Laurin: Kazan was the second city in my list of preferences, but, finally, I am happy that I am here, not in Moscow, as I initially wanted. In my opinion, life here is “more Russian”, than in the capital. This is not my first visit to Russia, two years ago I lived in Krasnodar. It seemed to me that I do not speak Russian fluently, because of this it was important to come to Russia.
- And why did you decide to study Russian?
Barbara: Our faculty prepares translators and when we had to choose languages I opted English and Russian. I chose Russian because it is very interesting and at the same time it is difficult. It seemed to me that if I learn this language well, I can find job quickly.
Laurin: Russian is one of the best languages in the world. Russia is a great country and in Belgium there is a large diaspora of Russian immigrants. Knowledge of Russian language is very important in many European countries.
- What did impress you mostly in Kazan?
Andre: Actually, a lot of things here surprise. Formally we are in Europe, but sometimes it seems that we are not. It is very amazing and pleasant for me that people in Kazan are sociable and frank. Especially, students who notice that we are speaking not Russian. This makes them interested and they want to know where are we from, why did we come here and choose Russian, is it difficult for us to study it. I like such attitude very much. When exchange students come to Italy, we do not communicate with them so actively, like people communicate with us here.
Laurin: Russian students are always ready to help us, especially, if we don`t know there educational building is situated. They don`t even show us the way, but also accompany us.
- You stay in Kazan for so long, may be you can make some conclusions…
Andre: We are very satisfied. I am happy that I came here. What concerns education, we have a special program on Russian language for internationals. I want to say that these courses are organized very well: we study such unusual disciplines as Russian song or Russian film. The level of teachers is high, especially of teachers of Russian and Arabic. I have noticed that oriental languages are taught in Kazan Federal University very well. It seems to me that we can explain this fact due to our location in the Republic of Tatarstan. In short, we do not complain.
- What about you living conditions?
- We live in Universiade Village. It is very good to live there: everything is of high quality. Of course, very strictly, but I think it is good that there is such a security – this means that everything will be all right.
- How do you spend your free time, do you have friends?
Andre: We have visited almost all places of interest in Kazan, including Bolgar. Our friends from dormitory organized us an excursion to Bolgar. Moreover, I have an opportunity to go in for swimming. I attend swimming pool 3 or 4 times a week.
Barbara: Internationals live in the 6th building in the Universiade Village, and, unfortunately, we have little opportunity to get acquainted with Russian. But students from Kazachstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan who speak Russian live with us. Thanks to them we can speak Russian.
- And, finally, what would you like to wish to students from Kazan Federal University who plan to study abroad like you?
Andre: Do not expect that people in Europe are like here. They are not so sociable and frank. I recommend to understand another culture and another way of thinking, this is very important.
Barabara: Don`t be afraid, just do it!
Laurin: It doesn`t matter where do you go, it is always good experience. It is worth it!
Comment of the coordinator of Triple I project in KFU, Deputy Director of the External Relations Office Olga Vershinina:
“Kazan University participates in the project TRIIPLE I since 2008 as part of a consortium consisting of 19 European and Russian universities, coordinated by one of the leading Finnish universities, the University of Turku. During the last four years 56 students and employees from Kazan University and their 15 colleagues from Europe studied and worked at KFU within this project.
You got acquainted with impressions of European students, whom you hosted this year. In its turn, 8 KFU representatives received grants on education and training in European universities: Humboldt (Germany), Bologna (Italy), Masaryk (Czech Republic) and the University of the Algarve (Portugal). Due to active participation of the University in the consortium of universities, KFU was chosen as the co-coordinator of the new project AURORA, which received financial support from the European Commission and will function until 2016. Our teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students can take advantage of the opportunity of two-way mobility within this project. It should be noted that new contacts were established and in some cases agreements on co-operation were signed with such well-known European universities like the University of Bologna, University of Turku, Lyuvensky University and Humboldt University due to the project Triple I.
We have significantly improved the administrative practice of the organization of mobility, in particular, have accepted the Provision on academic mobility and the Provision on acknowledgement of periods of study abroad. We improve the admission process and services for international students, taking into account practice of European universities. Kazan University pays a lot of attention to the internationalization of its activity, in the next years we will significantly increase the number of foreign students, expand the range of programs, including those which are taught in English.
The university has a lot of goals, and we hope that will be able to use the knowledge, experience and skills of our grant receivers for further development of Kazan University international activity. And for students who have studied at Kazan University for a semester, I think it's not the last visit to our University, they will successfully complete their studies at European universities, and come to us again. And, perhaps, will invite new European students to KFU who want to experience the cultural and linguistic knowledge of Russia.”