Russia, with its wealth of natural resources and the eleventh-largest economy in the world, has established itself to become a global superpower. The country also excels in scientific research. It is home to 26 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of chemistry, economy, literature, medicine, peace, and physics.
Russia is among the few countries that can boast one of the best education systems in the world. According to UNESCO, the country has an adult literacy rate of 99.73%, exceeding most European countries and even the United States. This number can be attributed to the country’s huge spending on education.
|Literacy Rate (%)||Total||Male||Female|
|15-24 years old||99.7||99.6||99.7|
|15 years old and older||99.7||99.7||99.7|
|65 years and older||99.6||99.8||99.5|
There are roughly 278,000 international students in Russia coming from different countries and ethnic backgrounds. These students choose to get a Russian education for the following reasons:
International students in Russia can get more than just the fundamentals of study for each subject. They can also acquire in-depth knowledge that would help them excel in their field.
Russian universities are known for their robust academic excellence in natural sciences, physics, and mathematics. In fact, the country is recognised as among the world leaders in helping budding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, natural science specialists, and programmers become proficient in their fields.
The country has also positioned well in many educational institution rankings:
One of the major draws of Russia for international students is the tuition fee, between US$2,000 and $8,000 per year, exclusive of living expenses. Those figures are considered cheap relative to the quality of education that students will get.
Bachelor’s and specialist's degrees would usually have rates of RUB 220,000 to RUB 240,000 (US$3,385 to US$3,690) annually. While a master’s degree can typically cost between RUB 240,000 and RUB 260,000 (US$3,746 and US$4,058).
Getting a postgraduate course will have students shelling out anywhere between RUB 72,000 and RUB 250,000 (US$1,293 to US$4,490), according to Educations.com.
Russia also offers various scholarships to help students cover educational expenses. In 2019, the country offered 15,000 scholarships to international students.
Russia also prides itself on being welcoming of many different cultures. The roster of international students in the country is quite varied, with students coming from China, India, Kazakhstan, and the rest of Central Asia.
In addition to the international students it hosts, the country itself has over 200 ethnic groups that speak different languages and dialects. This multinational structure has allowed many foreigners, including students, to ease into the Russian way of life without losing touch with their culture and tradition.
Many of the campuses in Russia also offer acclimatisation training for international students, providing them with supervisory programmes that help them cope. Russia also has a recognised network of student communities that are committed to helping people find their way in Russia.
Russia has invested in training and supporting its teaching staff’s research goals.
Russians are active and outdoorsy people, and it is something visitors pick up when they stay for extended periods. Who would not want to explore this beautiful country?
Opportunities for recreation for students are not hard to come by. Universities are equipped with student theatres and stadiums. There are musical concerts, festivals, sporting events, and pubs to visit.
While Moscow and St. Petersburg are popular for tourists, international students will have the time for off the beaten track explorations. Travel opportunities abound.
Russia may not be as popular as a student destination when compared to the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. But many students report great satisfaction with their experience in Russia. Here are some things international students in Russia can expect:
Universities in Russia offer students different opportunities to strengthen their interpersonal skills, language proficiency, and leadership competencies. For example, HSE University has the Student Initiative Support Centre that aims to provide students with the necessary resources to help them hone their skills beyond the classroom setup.
Students are encouraged to join international organizations, such as the Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE), an interdisciplinary association in Europe, representing more than 13,000 European students in Russia and other countries.
As mentioned, Russians are an active bunch. They enjoy going out and interacting with their peers and colleagues. Some of the popular activities that Russians engage in are:
Russia is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful spots. Students are encouraged to explore Russia to know more about the country’s culture and traditions. Some of the best places to explore include:
Students interested in furthering their education in Russia must apply directly to the school of their choice and take note of the following:
Students who wish to enrol in any Russian academic program must take note of the admission deadlines, which typically varies depending on the semester.
Students can send in their application from 1 January until 1 July for acceptance to the September session. Some universities will allow students to process their application until September for acceptance into the November session.
Second semester students can start applying from 1 September to 1 January for classes that will start on 1 February.
In Russia, international students can take advantage of the preparatory admissions offered by the universities to help them assimilate seamlessly into the Russian educational system and lifestyle. For such cases, students are open to apply any time of the year.
For students intending to join the postgraduate and clinical programmes, admission applications run the whole year. The same is applicable for PhD students.
For students who wish to apply for scholarships and financial assistance, can look into government scholarship. This covers:
Privately funded scholarships are also available:
International students planning to study in Russia will need to have a passport and a student visa. Note, however, that visas will not be necessary for nationals of the following countries:
In Russia, the duration of the student visa is only good for three months. Once it expires, students should head to the General Administration for Migration Issues under the Interior Ministry of Russia for a visa extension. The Federal Migration Service (FMS) will award the students with a one-year multiple entry visa, allowing them to freely travel to and from Russia.
Students need to present the following documents to obtain a student visa:
The Russian Federation allows international students to work part-time provided they are enrolled in a full-time course at a state university.
Under the new law, international students are now allowed to work for 20 hours per week without securing an additional work permit, provided that the employment contract duration coincides with the end of their studies.
Before the government required students to secure a work permit from the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia. To get a work permit, students must submit the following:
Take note, however, that students who will work within their university or affiliated organisations, do not need to secure a work permit when employed beyond their class time and during vacations.
Important: Students must ensure that their employer has the necessary permit to hire foreign citizens, and that the work scope will not cause issues with the student’s academics.
Ideally, international students are encouraged to look for work to supplement their living expenses while in Russia when they are in their third year of study. This way, they are better adjusted to the Russian lifestyle and can even converse in Russian fluently.