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'Going to Lenin's Country': Experience of Foreign Graduates of Russian Universities

© Sputnik / Boris Kavashkin / Go to the mediabankNostalgia: Soviet Pioneers' Day Back in USSR
Nostalgia: Soviet Pioneers' Day Back in USSR - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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Foreign alumni of Russian universities took part in an online conference at the Rossiya Segodnya news agency and described how their education in Russia has affected their lives.

"I didn't know Russian, I didn't know anything about Russia, but I had a dream – to go to the country of Lenin and Communism. That is how I ended up in the USSR and enrolled at the Gubkin State University of Oil and Gas. It was destiny. Here I got a quality education, got married, and stayed in Russia to teach. The Russian cold and the complexity of the Russian language no longer scare me", Gabriel Kotchofa, ex-ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin in the Russian Federation and the CIS, director general of the International Coordinating Council of Graduates of Educational Institutions (INCORVUZ), high commissioner for International Relations, and deputy secretary-general of the Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organisation (EECO), said.

According to Kotchofa, the main advantage of a Russian education is its fundamental nature, with the foundation reinforced by practice. "We have internships with students every year, people have the opportunity to 'feel' the oil and the fields", he said, adding that during a global pandemic, it is important for Russia not to lose these traditions, to get international students back into the classroom, and give them a chance to practice.

"We should be interested in the fate of graduates, lobbying their interests in employment", he noted.

Furthermore, he believes that universities should not just train specialists in demand, but people who will then promote the Russian language around the world.
© Sputnik / V. SakkA student at the Faculty of Medicine of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University (today's Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, RUDN), Chinera Okorafor. Red Square 01.06.65
A student at the Faculty of Medicine of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University (today's Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, RUDN), Chinera Okorafor. Red Square  01.06.65 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
A student at the Faculty of Medicine of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University (today's Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, RUDN), Chinera Okorafor. Red Square 01.06.65
Since 1960, over a million foreign students from 170 countries have graduated from Russian (Soviet) universities; there are associations of graduates of Russian universities in more than 80 countries.
The objectives of these associations are to assist graduates in protecting their professional interests and rights, including problems of recognition of documents (diplomas) and academic degrees obtained in the USSR, Russia, and other CIS countries, assistance in further training or continuing studies, the establishment of business and partnership contacts.
First Secretary of the Embassy of the State of Palestine Abdulla Issa told the conference how he became a graduate of the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute.

"It was important for me that Rasul Gamzatov and Chingiz Aytmatov studied here. My attitude towards the Russian language was shaped in Palestine since childhood. I wanted to study Russian literature from within, and in that sense, the Literature Institute gave me a lot: in the 1990s, I started translating Russian poets - Akhmatova, Bunin; I became a member of the Union of Russian Writers", he stated.

© Sputnik / Roman DenisovStudents of the 5th International Summer School on Red Square 23.08.1971
Students of the 5th International Summer School on Red Square  23.08.1971 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Students of the 5th International Summer School on Red Square 23.08.1971

"If you get to know the world of the Russian people, they won't push you away. Only in Russia will they open the fridge in front of a guest and offer you any food you want. The Russian model is such that you live among Russians not as a stranger but as one of their own", Abdulla Issa added.

For his part, MAX Innovation Capital CEO Liu Xin (China) said that 1,400 Chinese students are currently studying in Russia, whereas China fully recognises Russian diplomas. "There is a huge amount of trade turnover between the two countries, and I, as someone involved in international business, need such people who know Russian and Russia", Xin stressed. According to him, one in five employees at one of the American companies he runs knows Russian.
Liu Xin himself found the language difficult to understand.

"My mother sang Russian songs to me; I know how to dance Russian dances. But for any Chinese, the letter 'R' is a nightmare! I literally shouted 'pencil', 'tram', 'trolleybus' every day...Thankfully, the teachers were incredibly supportive and helpful, creating as home-like an atmosphere as possible", he said.

© Sputnik / Maxim Blinov / Go to the mediabankLomonosov Moscow State University.
Lomonosov Moscow State University. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations at RUDN University Adu Yao Nicaise (Cote d'Ivoire) came to Russia and enrolled at RUDN by chance; he had no relatives or acquaintances in Russia.
Yet, his "impressions of this chance" were nothing but positive: he got his bachelor's, master's, and post-graduate degrees with honours and stayed on to teach at RUDN University, where he has been working at the Department of International Relations for 10 years now.

"Soviet education was always of high quality. Indeed, my peers who received a Soviet education continue to work all over the world, they occupy high positions in their home countries", Adu Yao Nicaise stressed.

Chairman of the Council of Alumni and Friends Association at RUDN (PFUR) Alamgir Jalil (Bangladesh) is also proud of having studied in Russia. His late father told his son a lot about the USSR, a country that helped in the war for the independence of Bangladesh. "We will always be grateful to Russia", he said.
Vice President of the Lebanese-Russian Friendship Association Riad Najm (Lebanon) said that there are no problems with recognition of Russian diplomas in Lebanon, so Lebanese students are happy to go to Russia. "They come back without any problems, and the level of education received in Russia allows them to work and hold high positions", he said, adding that 150 Lebanese students are currently studying at RUDN University.
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