In the midst of the 2021 admission campaign, the Education Export Center conducted an experiment. We asked Michael Lazarenko, our Director for International Business Development, to try on the role of a university employee professionally engaged in processing applications from foreign students, and share his experience with the magazine readers. We were prompted to take this step by observing the experience of the international services of Russian universities, which often do not have the opportunity to devote 100% of their time to this work, since they are also busy with other tasks. Michael was tasked with processing a database of applicants randomly compiled from existing applications and ensuring the signing of an agreement with at least one of them.
"Hey, man, what 'bout scholarships?" Ibrahim Mahmuda from Niger asked me boldly on WhatsApp video call. "Nothing", I answered. "I'm talking about commercial admissions." Mahmuda let out a dissappointed "u‑uh, man".
"If I marry a Russian woman quickly and don't pay for my education, how long can I stay in Russia?" Shalal from Algeria, who wished to study Marine Engineering, asked me such a rhetorical question. A bit earlier I told him about our universities, exams and nostrification of educational documents. Don't think he liked it.
Ok, let's move on. "You left your contact details at one of our online exhibitions. Are you still considering getting higher education in Russia?" I asked him smiling into my mobile phone, as if he could see me from there. Just like a decent call center operator. "Yes, but I'm short of money. I want a scholarship," Jeremiah Yongo from Angola shared with me.
Aside from anecdotal situations, applicants have lots of everyday stories. For example, Robert Aribi from Papua New Guinea works at a local airport and would like to study in Russia to become a mechanic and repair airplanes in his motherland. Shaho Noori from Iraq is looking for an opportunity to study economics. Musa Inna from Nigeria would like to engage in business somewhere near St. Petersburg.
"How can I understand you're telling the truth?", the same old Mahmuda asked me, still in that bold manner of his. Together with Mahmuda, about a dozen more guys from different countries o f t he world asked about the same things. I sent them links to the EEC website, presentations and samples of admission letters, told them about the procedures for admission and obtaining a visa. Convinced, worked with objections. In general, I plunged again and again into the wonderful world of recruiting foreign students. The statement that the tuition fee and many other things should be paid upon arrival in Russia is quite invigorating. The strict need to work with documents, notarize them at the embassy of a foreign country for a large sum of money isn't particularly convenient for an applicant from Congo, for example. A difficult work, don't you think? How long will it take before you get at least a few people out of a hundred leads to sign an agreement?